Ski Fit: Ready to Fire

A new take on the old warm-up routine.

You’ve heard it from every coach you’ve had since Pee Wee and Little League: You gotta warm up. We know we should; few of us actually do. But there’s no quicker (or more effective) way to learn the importance of treating your body right than by injuring yourself. Take it from professional big mountain skier John Collinson, who spent last season recovering from his second ACL tear and reconstruction.

“You can usually get away with just being athletic and good at sports. But after my ACL surgeries, I learned that warm-ups and cool-downs are key to performance,” says Collinson. “It’s important to get everything warmed up and activated to get muscles working together so that one muscle doesn’t overwork to compensate for another.”

So, one more time for the cheap seats: You gotta warm up. And we don’t mean with old-school static stretches. The best way to prime the body for skiing is with dynamic moves that engage the whole body.

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Warm-Up Moves for Skiers

Hip Bridge

Warm-up move for skiers: hip bridge
The hip bridge activates the big muscles of the glutes, hips, and legs, all of which have to work hard during skiing. Photo credit: Tory Powers

With back against floor and arms out to sides, bring feet under you so knees are bent to 90 degrees. Raise hips into bridge. Hold for 10 seconds, engaging glutes and hamstrings, then lower. Repeat.

Added challenge: From bridge, lift and extend one leg in line with body. Hold for 10 seconds, then repeat and lift other leg.

Plank with Leg Extension

Ski warm-up move: plank with leg extension
Activate the entire trunk—your abs, back, glutes, hips, quads, and hamstrings with this one simple move. Photo credit: Tory Powers

From forearm plank, lift one leg off the floor while keeping it extended. Keep head and neck neutral. Hold for 10 seconds, then repeat with other leg.

Warm-up exercise for skiers: plank with leg extensions
To challenge your core and balance, lift one leg off the floor during your forearm plank. Bonus challenge: extend opposite arm in front of you. Photo credit: Tory Powers

Added challenge: When lifting leg, extend opposite arm in front of you.

Banded Marches

Ski warm-up exercise: banded marches with resistance band
A resistance band is a cheap and convenient tool that can be used to add challenge to all sorts of movements. Photo credit: Tory Powers

Place looped resistance band around feet. From standing position, bring one leg to 90 degrees at hip height, stretching resistance band between feet. Hold for a beat, then repeat with other leg, marching in place while tensioning resistance band.

90/90 Leg Extensions

Ski warm-up move: 90/90 leg extensions
Challenge your core with this matt move. Photo credit: Tory Powers

Lay on floor, arms out to sides and legs raised to 90 degrees above hips. Keeping one leg straight and pointed towards the ceiling, slowly lower the opposite leg to hover just above the floor. Slowly raise leg back to 90 degrees above hips, then lower other leg.

Ski warm-up move: 90/90 leg extensions
Slowly lower one leg to the floor but don’t allow it to touch—keeping the extended leg hovering just a few inches off the floor makes your abdominals fire. Photo credit: Tory Powers

SKI teamed up with Ski and Snowboard Club Vail’s strength and conditioning coach John “JC” Cole to design an in-depth ski injury prevention course. Enroll in this online course to get a comprehensive training plan that focuses on ski-specific mobility, strength, and power exercises.

SKI Mag is now a part of Active Pass, where you can find even more great fitness plans, recipes, and more. Sign up today.