Want to hit the slopes in tip-top shape later this winter, like the Olympians in your favorite sports? Do you live somewhere where it is warm and doesn’t snow all that often? These exercises that you can either do in the gym or your homework the same muscle groups that winter sports do. Whether you are preparing to sled, ski or ice skate the winter away, or even if you are just looking to add some variety to your workout, these exercises promise to deliver.
If you are more familiar with the weight rack than a pair of skis and want to train for a winter sport without ever leaving the gym, these exercises are a great starting place! Many winter sports, like skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating, are hard on your lower body, so many of these exercises have been selected to reflect this. Abs also play a large part, so abdominal activities are a large part of the fitness program as well. Your chest and arms, which play a more significant role in sports like cross-country skiing and downhill skiing, are also included.
Your quads, glutes, and calves all play a huge role in keeping you on your feet, and especially so in snow sports. To increase strength in your quads as fast as possible, try squats, especially weighted squats. Squats with a dumbbell or bar directly target the muscles involved in ice climbing, skiing and snowshoeing especially. If you’re more of a snowboarder, try strengthening your glutes. Favorite exercises include bridges, single-leg squats, and lunges. For the most optimal burn, aim to hold all of these for 30 seconds at their lowest point. Other low-impact activities, like sun salutations or plie, are also an option for increased glute strength.
Your calves also play a significant role in winter sports. They help to protect from ankle injuries and play a massive part in stability and balance, both of which are important if you are a skier, snowboarder, or figure skater! Some great calf exercises are calf raises, which you can perform with or without machines, and calf presses, which you can also do sans machine. Here’s a simple way to tell the difference between the two– if you are raising yourself up onto your toes with your calves, it’s a calf raise. If you are pressing your feet or toes against some form of resistance, it’s a calf press. You can do both presses and raises while sitting or standing for even more variety.
Almost all winter sports rely on strong abdominal muscles, too– keeping your abs tight when skiing down a mountain ensures that you won’t fall! You can perform most ab exercises and routines without the help of a machine, but you can implement devices into your workout if you so choose. A tough ab workout you can work into your next routine is the ab wheel. This small wheel forces you to engage your abs while you roll forward and back. Using a stability ball is also a great idea– you can do crunches on the ball, pull your legs in and out in a method called grasshopper, or use it to touch your toes when doing the jackknife.
Arm muscles, probably some of the most overlooked in winter sports, also play some role in healthy athletes. To get the arm strength needed to cross-country ski, for example, try pull-ups, bench presses, and other traditional gym exercises.
Stay at Home Athletes
If you want to skip the gym but still get as fit as Shaun White, there are some simple modifications you can do to avoid paying a gym membership.
If you want to work on your quads, probably one of the most critical muscles in winter sports, you can do many of the exercises above. Plies and sun salutations are not off the table, and if you want to get in more traditional quad exercises, try single-leg squats, step-ups, lunges, and wall sits.
You can also squat if you want to pump up your glutes– squats are helpful in increasing muscle mass in your glutes and can be done with bodyweight (or while holding household objects, if you want to be an overachiever.) Bridges, Bulgarian split squats, and kettlebell swings, if you happen to have a kettlebell at home, are all great options for relatively inexpensive glute training. Calves are relatively easy to train on your own, too. Step-ups and box jumps are your reasonable, at-home options.
Did you find these tips and exercises helpful? Are you excited about the Winter Olympics? Let us know in the comment section below!