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Skiing specific weight lifting exercises

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
What are some skiing specific weight lifting exercises?

Currently, I am doing 1000 yards in the pool and an eight minute run daily, rest on Sunday. I am looking to lift weights 4 days a week. Can anyone recommend a book, or some exercises to do? I don't really know where to start. I've got the aerobics down, but not the weight training. (Note, I am going to start working out on the stair stepper as well).


post #2 of 19
The Ultimate Guide to Weight Training for Skiing from is good.
Mostly free weights and streaching.

Fit Skiing by Andrew Hooge is a good general fitness guide for skiers. Not much weight training, however.

Ski Flex by Frediani & Harb is also good, but no weight traing info.

Hope that helps!

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
I'll check each out on amazon after I get back from my bikeride. Thanks!

post #4 of 19
Four days a week lifting is too much (unless you are doing a split workout). Give a muscle group at least two days rest between sessions.

If you are doing a full-body workout each time, two or three days a week is enough.

If you are doing four days a week do a split. Alternate something like upper/lower body or push/pull exercises with each workout.
post #5 of 19

I have been weight training consistently for over 6 years now and have found that being strong before the ski season begins really helps you to jump right into skiing on a very regular basis. With that said it is very important that when weight training, you target your entire body rather then just skiing specific muscles. If you are overly strong in one area of your body and not the opposing muscle group (e.g. strong abs but weak lower back) you are more liable to experience pain and even injury. If you are dedicated enough to work out 4+ days a week you are best to split workouts into groups rather then entire body workouts (my 4 day rotation includes: bi’s and shoulders, chest, tri's, and back and legs, each workout takes a little over an hour to complete - back and legs takes a little longer). The muscles groups you want to focus on for skiing are obviously your legs and your core, usually a trainer at your gym will help you with appropriate exercises but you can tailor your individual program yourself if you would like. Skiing magazine always has a section regarding strength training for skiing and I’ve seen some fantastic recommendations there. I also know it is very hard to target the smaller (only ski specific) muscles which hurt after the first few days of skiing. I have actually heard that rollerblading is the only way you can work those muscles as it somewhat mimics skiing movements. I hope this helps. If you would like me to post/send you my specific workout I can do that to. Good luck.


post #6 of 19
The swimming will help give you a good aerobic base, while your running is too limited in duration to be of much benefit. Strength training will definitely help your skiing, but it needs to be directed. That is, start lifting with reasonable resistance such that you can perform 4-5 sets at 8-10 reps. After a month of regular lifting, you should increase the load and reduce the volume so you are spent after 3-4 sets of 4-6 reps. This will help develop power. Complement this with more explosive type activity, anything involving hopping, skipping, jumping, sprinting like tennis, soccer, ultimate frisbee, track workouts, etc. Skiing is essentially an anaerobic activity, where duration is short and muscular activity is high. Emulate the kind of effort skiing imparts and you will make huge progress in your skiing ability. For a good reference, try "A Practical Approach to Strength Training" by Matt Brzycki, available on It has extensive background on principles of strength development, and a large section of practical strength training activities. :
post #7 of 19
Good advice from the other posts. If you want to go weight free and just do your own body wieght, there is this program online from the German National Team, with videos, for free: It is designed to provide balanced development for the entire body.
post #8 of 19
Harb has an excellent training program that includes ski specific weight training. Go to and click on Fit to Ski.
post #9 of 19
A few more thoughts. Your fitness regimen is pretty damn good. The aerobic, strength and flexibility benefits of 1000 yards a day in the pool have got to be excellent. 8 minutes a day running is pretty good, too, on top of the swimming. For your strength, a lot of trainers these days don't use weights, but have athletes do strength work with their own body weight, like in German program I suggested above. Also, look at the suggestions for strength training at this specific page,, one page of hundreds on what is a really comprehensive training website. Coach Mac responds to emails, too:
post #10 of 19

Ski related weight training

Ski Faster by Lisa Feinberg Densmore has a good section of weight training and other exercises.

Radcliffe & Farentinos' High Powered Plyometrics has a specific recommended collection of jumping exercises for alpine skiers, with a progression to work up to over time (although, IMO you need to do fewer sets of more jumping exercises each set so that you can also get a ski-related anaerobic threshold training benefit to the jumping exercises.) Plus, if you don't blow an aorta, you know your heart's good for another 10,000 miles.

Almost any weight training exercise is even more helpful for skiing if it's done in a functional manner, and involves stabilizing and balancing under a load, as long as you can perform the exercise safely. Thus, squats better than leg press; squats with a squat rack better than squats on a smith machine. My favorite simple exercises for skiing are foot-to-foot skier hops (See Densmore book above) squats, walking lunges with dumbbells in each hand, hamstring curls (using the machine does make sense if it isolates a muscle group that otherwise is under-trained by the rest of your program.)

Good luck.

post #11 of 19
Hey Bo,

Were these books of any help? The Ultimate Guide to Weight Training for Skiing from; Fit Skiing by Andrew Hooge; Ski Flex by Frediani & Harb.

post #12 of 19
I do not like to suggest swimming as a good method of training for skiing. I prefer weight bearing exercise and core work. Swimming is great stuff but not for skiing. IMHO.
post #13 of 19
However, when swimming laps, I've been breaking up the routine every few laps by walking. Right. I mean forcefully walking (in the pool) forward one length, backward one length, then sidestepping to the right one length, and then to the left one length. This is done as forcefully as I can, so that I really feel it after a few sets. I have found that this works muscles that I've been missing with weight bearing routines - especially the hamstrings and muscles below the knee used for balance.I'm no expert in this area, so I'm just stating my own experience and impressions. I'd be pleased to read some commentary from someone who IS an expert.
post #14 of 19
The big question I'd ask. Do you enjoy the swimming? If the answer is yes, I'd stick with it as your base or foundation fitness activity. Do you have reservations about the efficacy of swimming because of what other people have said? If you want to resolve the issue in your mind, talk to a physical therapist or professional trainer, one who has a college degree in training and is certified. So-called health club "professionals" often don't know what they are doing. Get your doctor to refer you to a therapist or trainer, at least that's what you have to do in NYS. I believe, btw, that they will tell you the swimming is very good for you.

If you want to branch into some variety, for general fitness, here's a program that has a bunch of strength exercises with illustrations to supplement a swimming program. If you want to do fitness for skiing, I'd suggest two lower body workouts for every one upper body one. No more than three strength sessions a week.
post #15 of 19
Swimming is a very healthy activity. Coaching swimming is my profession. If you like to swim that's great and good for you. It is not a conditioning activity that should be high on the list for skiing. The same could be said about swimming and say: soccer, baseball, football, basketball, hockey. Swimming would complement: x-country, distance track, x-country skiing - endurance activies and activities that do not require explosive actions.

Swimming helped me with body awareness and self-analysis. That is not the same as conditioning. But it is a great sport.

Specificity in training is always tricky. But not with swimming - at least from where I see it.
post #16 of 19
Paul Jones, I can't disagree with what you've said about swimming as the sole form of cross training for skiing or other sports.

No one is saying that it should be the sole form of preparation for ski season. However, it does provide a good aerobic base for a general fitness regimen from which to proceed, as was asked at the beginning of the thread, to strength training. You can swim daily, add weight or some form of strength training 3-4 times a week, and phase in plyometrics, when properly prepared, as well. All of this could be a very sound way to getting in shape for ski season.

We are talking about an adult athlete here whose first concern should be health and wellness, for which swimming could be an essential component. Since training is so individualized to suit the athlete and his/her needs and capabilities, swimming might be the best for of aerobic training for this specific athlete.
post #17 of 19
For those little muscles that hurt after a few days of skiing that Sphinx15 is talking about. If you have a gym membership or bowflex or crossbow or something that has a setup to do them, they would be, leg adductors, legs abductors, and hip flexions. I do them on my bow flex. But towing my wagon without the wheels , loaded with cynder blocks usually does the trick for mountain climbing and skiing. Just get a good all around hard body and your ready to go lad
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by barrettscv
Hey Bo,

Were these books of any help? The Ultimate Guide to Weight Training for Skiing from; Fit Skiing by Andrew Hooge; Ski Flex by Frediani & Harb.

I'm going to buy those on the first of the month. I still have two months before race season starts.

post #19 of 19

I see where you are coming from.
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