Before You Hit The Slopes: Training Tips From American Council on Exercise Help Prepare You For The Snowboard and Ski Season

Posted: Nov 19, 1999 in

SAN DIEGO - You don’t have to wait for snow to get ready for ski and snowboard season. Start training now—help avoid injury, and sail past those other ski bums and boarders on your way down the mountain.

According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), dusting the competition or showing off for friends are not the only reasons to get in shape before the snow season. Skiing and snowboarding are activities that require strength, endurance, balance and coordination. Hit the slopes before developing these skills and you could be in for more than a little embarrassment—you may get injured.

ACE’s Chief Exercise Physiologist Richard Cotton recommends "sport-specific" training for those preparing for snowboard/ski season—fitness programs focusing on skills associated with a particular activity. Snowboarding and skiing are sports that rely heavily on skill-related fitness. A traditional fitness program, which includes weight and flexibility training and cardiovascular exercise, will only take you so far.

According to Cotton, the simplest way to begin a sports-specific program is to include several new exercises in your regular routine. Here are a few recommendations:

  • Wall Sits: "Sitting" against the wall builds up the lower-body isometric strength needed for skiing and snowboarding.

  • Squats and Lunges: These exercises help build lower-body strength for skiing or boarding tough terrain like moguls.

  • Crunches: Working your abdominals is essential for creating a solid “core” for balance and agility.

  • Plyometric Movements: Training your body to withstand and absorb impact associated with skiing is also important. Hopping from side to side will develop muscle power and strength as well as improve agility.

What is the best way to integrate these elements into your routine? "Create a circuit training program that involves moving rapidly from one exercise to the next. Circuits should be set up in a large room such as your health club’s aerobics room. Set a specific time limit for each exercise (30-60 seconds are common intervals) and take a 30-second break between all exercises," says Cotton.

Following is a circuit program designed specifically for gearing up for the slopes:

  • Use an exercise slide or a balance board to improve stability for lateral movements.

  • Do one-legged squats to develop balance and strength.

  • Do jumps, hops and leaps on a step-platform to improve power.

  • Try catching a bean bag or other soft item as it drops off your forearm to improve reaction times.

  • Bounce two tennis balls to improve coordination.

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of physical activity and protecting consumers against unsafe and ineffective fitness products and instruction. As the nation’s "workout watchdog," ACE conducts university-based research and testing that targets fitness products and trends. ACE sets standards for fitness professionals and is the world’s largest nonprofit fitness certifying organization. For more information on ACE and its programs, call (800) 825-3636 or log onto the ACE Web site at

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