Getting ready for the snow! Pre Season Training for Skiers

pre season ski training feature

SkierSkiing places demands on the body that are unique and different to any other sport known. It is therefore important that you prepare for the season 2-3 months in advance. A specific strength and cardiovascular programme will help to prevent injury and allow you to make the most out of the short season.

Ski Season runs from early to mid-June through to early October in Christchurch, Methven, Queenstown & Wanaka depending on snowfall. This means you could start training as early as March.

Here is an example of a programme you could use:

Cardiovascular fitness:

Skiing requires more of an anaerobic fitness (higher bursts of intensity for shorter periods of time), this is best achieved with interval training.

Examples of interval training:

  • Running – fast pace for 1 minute followed by walking for 30 seconds. Repeat 10-15 times
  • Bike – high resistance, fast RPM for 1 minute followed by low resistance, low RPM for 1 minute. Repeat 10 times.

An adequate warm-up is required before beginning interval training and should only be done 3 times a week to allow the body to recover fully in between each session.

Muscle Strength:

Most muscles in the body are working hard to get you down the slope with each run you take. Your lower limb muscles, especially the quadriceps and gluteals, are working eccentrically to control your fall down the slope. Eccentric means that the muscles are generating tension while they are lengthening. This places a much greater load on the muscle so they need to be strengthened accordingly to cope with this.

It is therefore important to train these muscles in different ways to suit their demands.

Example of a strength programme:

  • Lower limb eccentric programme
    • Squats with weights – 3 sets 8-10 reps
    • Weighted lunges – 3 sets 8-10 reps
    • Double leg bridges on swiss ball – 3 sets 8-10 reps
    • Box jumps – 3 sets 8-10 reps
    • Eccentric quadriceps lowering off step – 3 sets 8-10 reps



Your deep core muscles, soleus (deep calf muscle that is active when your knee is bent) and hip abductors are all maintaining contractions for the whole length of your run so that you maintain perfect position and technique on the skis.

Lower limb endurance and core programme

  • Bent knee heel raises – 3 sets 15-20 reps
  • Prone hold – 3 x 30 second holds
  • Side prone holds – 3 x 30 second holds each side
  • Side prone holds with top leg abduction – 3 sets 10 reps each leg
  • Swiss ball trunk rotations with medicine ball between legs – 3 x 10 each side


pre season training for skiersAgain make sure that you warm up for at least 10 minutes on a bike or cross trainer and allow adequate time between each session so that the muscles recover fully (try doing this programme 3-4 times per week). There is no reason why you cannot continue with any usual upper limb strengthening programme you are already doing.

If you combine the interval training with specific lower limb strengthening you should be well prepared for a great season ahead!!


Do you have questions about Pre-Season Ski Training & Strengthening? Ask them below in the comment section.


Feeling stiff and sore after a day up the mountain?

Why not come in for a massage, we can ease the pressure on those tight sore muscles and support your back to optimal health. Been knocked around after taking a spill down the mountain? You might benefit from a Chiropractor checking your alignment.

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