Pre-Ski Workout: Fit for the piste

What do you need for the perfect ski holiday? A first-class ski area, the necessary equipment and good ski buddies. However, all of this will be for nothing if, after the first day, your legs are aching and your back is in pain.

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What do you need for the perfect ski holiday? A first-class ski area, the necessary equipment and good ski buddies. However, all of this will be for nothing if, after the first day, your legs are aching and your back is in pain. Sports scientist and trainer Chris Ebenbichler knows exactly how to avoid this from happening. He demonstrates some exercises to build up strength and stability which can be practiced at home. After all, preparation is the key to success – or to an enjoyable ski holiday…


Exercise at Home

Chris demonstrates 10 exercises for a pre-ski workout

Chris Ebenbichler is convinced: “The more consistently you exercise before a ski holiday, the more you will enjoy it!” The sports scientist speaks from experience: he was once a member of the Austrian ski team himself, and has been helping famous skiers train for the Olympics for some time. “Skiing puts lots of strain on your joints and muscles. Therefore, it is important to do regular exercises which focus on building strength and stability. It’s best to start your training at least one and a half months before your ski holiday and carry out the exercises at least twice a week. You can expect to see results after just a few days, which will help motivate you to continue”, says Chris Ebenbichler.

10 Exercises for a Pre-Ski Workout at Home:

1) Wall Squats – Strengthens legs and back


Stand with your toes as close to the wall as possible.

Put your hands behind your head and do a deep squat

Hold your back straight and still for as long as possible.

Do 2-3 sets of 15-20 repetitions.


“Watch the position of your legs. If you find yourself falling backwards, you should move a little further away from the wall!”




2) Pelvic Lifts – Strengthen legs, bum and back

ski workout exercises to strengthen the bum and back


Lying on your back, put your heels on the floor and let your arms rest next to your body.

Tense your buttocks and, slowly and in a controlled manner, lift your pelvis as high as possible off the floor.

Hold the position for a moment and then lower back to the floor.

Do 2-3 sets of 15-20 repetitions.


“Stretch your toes towards your shin – this increases the stretch in the leg muscles.”


3) Hollow Position – Core Strength Training for the Stomach

Ski workout exercise: core strength training for the stomach


Lie on your back with your arms stretched above your head.

Tilt your pelvis backwards and press your lower back into the floor.

At the same time, lift your arms and legs approximately 30cm from the floor. Hold the position for a moment before returning to your original position.

Do 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.


“If you are unable to keep your lower back on the floor, stop this exercise. An alternative is to leave your arms by your side.”


4) Standing Extensions – Core Strength Training for the Back


Start by bending forward, keeping your legs straight and slightly apart.

Then, gently bend your knees so that your back is straight and stretched forward (at an approximately 45 degree angle). Lift your arms in front of your body and hold this position.

After approximately 2 seconds return to your original position.

Do 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

Durations: 1-2 minutes


“Only lift your arms once your back is in a stable and straight position. You will be able to feel the natural lengthening of the spine.”



5) Pistols – Strength and Stability for the Thighs


Stand on one leg and try to sit down as low as possible before returning to standing.

The range of movement will depend on your strength.

To begin with, just a few centimeters is enough. You can increase this with practice. Do 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions per leg.

Duration: 1-2 minutes


“Never lose your balance. Your knee should be stable and your arms stretched forward. The more strength you have, the lower you will be able to go.”



6) Heel Pulls – Strength Training for the Back of the Thighs

The intensity of the ski workout exercise depends on the angle of the knee.


From a lunge position, drop onto one knee and rest your back foot on a raised surface.

Then repeatedly pull your heel towards your bum and release.

Do 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions per leg.

Duration: 1-2 minutes


“The intensity of this exercise depends on the angle of the knee. The tighter the angle, the more difficult the exercise. The upper body should always be held straight and the hips still and stabile.”

7) Couch Stretch – Increase Stretch and Movement in the Front of the Upper Thigh


Kneel in a lunge position and prop your back leg up against a wall (shin facing to the wall). The knee should be pushed back as far as possible. Then straighten your upper body until your bum touches your heel.

Do 2 sets of 1 minute each side.

Duration: 2 minutes


“At first, support yourself by placing your hands on the floor or your thigh. After some practice, you should be able to straighten your upper body and put your lower back into a neutral positon.”



8) Deep Squat – Mobility Exercise for Ankle,Knee and Hip Joints

Mobility exercise for ankle, knee and hip joints


Stand with your feet a shoulder width apart and lower into a deep squat, pausing in this position.

Your toes should be slightly turned out, your arms held stretched out in front of you and you should feel the arch of your foot activated.

Do 2 sets of 10-15 repetitions

Duration: 2 minutes


“The pressure in the ankles and the toes or the front of the shin should not be too intense.”

9) Lumbar Stretch – Increase Stretch and Movement of Bum and Back


Lie down on your back close to a wall.

Put one foot on the wall, cross one leg across the other so that your foot is resting on your thigh.

Slowly lower your pelvis.

Do 2 sets of one minute per side.

Duration: 2 minutes


“Important: The angle of the knee of the leg against the wall should ideally be 90 degrees or less. The whole lower back should rest on the floor.”



10) Diagonal Stretch – Complex Exercise for Stability, Mobility and Coordination


Standing with one leg in front of the other (as if taking a step), try to reach the heel of the opposite back foot by twisting and lowering the upper body.

Don’t bend the front leg.

Do 2 sets of 5 repetitions per side

Duration: 1-2 minutes


“If you feel any pain in the lower back, release the stretch and reduce the movement.”



Tips from Expert Chris Ebenbichler:


• Start your training 1-2 months before your ski holiday

• Do the exercises 2 to 3 times a week

• Exercise slowly, correctly and in a controlled manner

• The difficulty of the movements will depend on your physical condition

• If you experience any pain, reduce the intensity or stop the exercise

• In addition to the ski workout exercises, Chris Ebenbichler recommends jogging or hiking.


The Advantages of a Ski Workout:


• Reduces the likelihood of injury

• Increase strength and stability in the core muscles

• Increases mobility in the joints

• Improves overall flexibility




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