How to Get Shape for Winter Skiing and Snowboarding

Winter Workouts for Skiing and Snowboarding

The leaves have fallen, the air is crisp, and the mountains are covered in snow. It's time to dust off the skis and snowboards and get up to the hill! Your mind is ready, but are your legs?

We all wish we could spend hours a day on the trails or in the gym getting in shape for that magical time of year, but the reality is that many of us don't have multiple hours a day to spare. That's why I've developed a basic routine you can fit into just 30 minutes a day. Repeat this workout at least 3 times a week to help get your core, legs, and body winter ready!

Want to really eliminate that early season fatigue? For a well-rounded workout regimen alternate this routine with at least two days of cardio (running, biking, hiking) and two days of yoga or stretching per week.

Weekly schedule example:
Monday - Jogging
Tuesday - Routine
Wednesday - Yoga
Thursday - Routine
Friday - Yoga
Saturday - Hiking
Sunday - Routine

Don't forget to start every workout off with 5-15 minutes of warm up (depending on your available time). This could be anything you enjoy that gets your heart rate up, including a light jog, jump roping, jumping jacks, or slow burpees. The most important thing about exercise is that you find a way to enjoy what you're doing! Don't be afraid to modify the weight or reps in these exercises to fit your ability level. 

TIP: If you really want to tone your legs for the downhill, you need to build eccentric strength. Eccentric strength is built when your muscle is lengthening, which happens in the downward or lowering phase of an exercise. Skiing requires a huge amount of eccentric strength as you keep yourself in position on the downhill. An easy way to help build this type of strength is to simply focus on slowing the downward motion of the exercises. 

For example, spend about 5 seconds lowering yourself into your squats, and then explode upward powerfully for the jump portion. The same can be said for many of the other exercises included in this workout. If you would like an added challenge you will find tips for modifying a few of these exercises to specifically build eccentric strength in italics below. (Note that using eccentric modifiers may prolong the workout to longer than 30 minutes.)

Beat the Winter Fatigue Routine

Repeat this routine three times through. Try not to rest too long in between exercises and instead take quick breaks and grab some water in between full sets of the whole routine if needed. It's important to keep your heart rate up during a workout to get maximum benefit for your body.

1. Squat, Curl to Press (5-10lb Dumbbell) X 15 Reps


Hold dumbbells by your side, feet slightly wider than hip width apart and lower into squat position*.

Engage your core and return to standing. Bring dumbbells up to your chest in a Bicep Curl.

From this position, turn palms away from your chest and extend arms above your head into an Overhead Press.

In a controlled movement, bring your arms back to your sides and lower back into a squat for your next rep!

*While squatting keep your legs slightly wider than hip width apart, toes facing forward or slightly outward. Keep your back neutral and your eyes straight ahead as you lower yourself into position, making sure that your knees do not extend past your toes. Try to keep weight distributed evenly across the feet, primarily using your heels to return to standing.


2. Weighted Jump Lunges (5-10lb Dumbbell) X 16 Reps (Alternating Legs)

Eccentric Modifier: 5 seconds lowering into lunge, and then powerfully explode upward for jump.

Hold dumbbells by your sides. Step forward with one foot and lower yourself into lunge position (keep weight on the outside of your front foot, do not extend knee past toes).

Powerfully explode upward into a jump. While in the air switch legs so you land with the opposite foot forward.

Find stability in your landing and lower back into a lunge for your next repetition.


3. Plank Hold | 30 sec - 1 min

Plank Hold

Get into plank position with your toes and forearms on the floor. Keep your core engaged and your body parallel to the floor.

Don't sag your back or let your rear come up too high. Keep your body in a strong, straight line.

You may alter the position by placing your hands on the floor instead of your forearms.


4. Dumbbell Jump Squats (5-10lb Dumbbell) X 15 Reps

Eccentric Modifier: 5 seconds to lower into squat, then powerfully explode upward on the jump.

Hold dumbbells by your sides with feet hip width apart.

Lower yourself into squat position (see squat tips listed under Squat, Curl to Press if necessary)

From here, powerfully explode upward and jump as high as you can.

Regain stability upon landing before lowering into your next squat.


5. V-Ups X 15 Reps

Eccentric Modifier: 2 seconds to lift arms and legs to top, 5 seconds to lower back down.

Lie on your back with arms extended above your head and legs straight.

Simultaneously raise your arms and legs upward to touch in the middle of your body.

Use your core strength to raise and lower yourself in a controlled motion.

Once hands and legs have met, lower back to starting position.


6. Side Lunge to Curtsy Squat (5-10lb Dumbbell) X 16 Reps (8 each Leg)

Hold one dumbbell with both hands in front of your chest. Step one leg out to the side and lower into a Side Lunge.

Lift leg and immediately bring it behind your standing leg, slightly to the left of front leg.

Lower yourself into Curtsy Squat position keeping legs crossed one in front of the other.

Once you have completed the curtsy squat, bring leg from behind standing leg and extend back out into Side Lunge position for the next rep.


7. Russian Twist | 30 sec - 1 min (5-10lb Dumbbell)

Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet crossed at the ankles. Hold a dumbbell with both hands in front of your chest.

Lift feet slightly off the ground until you are using your core strength to balance in position.

Move the dumbbell to one side of your body until it touches the floor (or comes close).

Without pausing move the dumbbell to the opposite side of your body, and repeat until time is up.


Basic Stretches for Cool Down

Once you're finished it's ideal to take another 5-15 minutes to cool down and stretch out. Below are four basic stretches you can do to help keep yourself loose. Feel free to add more of your own favorites in addition to these. Try to hold each stretch for 30 seconds - 1 minute.

Standing Quad Stretch

Standing Quad Stretch

Stand with feet hip width apart.

Bend one knee and lift foot behind your body toward your back.

Grab foot with one (or both) hands and gently pull until you feel a stretch in your upper leg (Quadriceps).

Keep hip moving toward the ground to achieve balance in the body.

Repeat on both legs.


Downward Dog with Alternating Calf Stretches

Start in a Downward Dog position with your palms and toes on the floor and butt up in the air.

Gently alternate raising each heel up high while bending your knee, and then lowering heel back down to the floor and straightening your leg.

You should feel a stretch in each calf as your heel moves toward the floor.

Repeat, alternating legs, for 30s - 1min.


Lie Down Side Twists

Lie Down Side Twist

Lie on your back with your knees bent.

Cross one leg lightly over the other leg. Gently lower both knees to the ground in the direction of the top leg, with your hand resting on the top knee.

Extend opposite arm out to your side and gently turn your head and torso away from the direction of your legs.

Come back to center and repeat on other side.


Glute Stretch

Glute Stretch

Lie on your back with your knees bent.

Cross one ankle over the knee of the opposite leg.

Gently raise your legs in toward your chest and hold onto the bent leg behind the knee to help pull both legs in toward you.

You should feel a stretch in the glute of your crossed leg. Return both feet to the ground and repeat on other side.


Don't forget to drink plenty of water after the workout, and eat a protein rich snack!

How are you prepping for winter sports?

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I'll see you on the hill!

Jess Raper
Customer Service/ NASM-Certified Personal Trainer 


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