Dry Land Training For Skiers

By Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN

As with any athlete, skiers need to train year round in order to reach peak performance levels during competition. However, summer seasons don’t offer much snow, so as slopes dry up, skiers turn to dry land training. Off-season skiing is an effective way for skiers to enhance speed, agility, strength, reaction time, and other skills.

Recreation activities
Many outdoor recreation activities mimic the motions of skiing:

Inline skates: many movements performed on inline skates are similar to ski movements.

Hiking: when you descend from the hill, walk in a variety of turn shapes that simulate ones used when skiing.

Mountain biking: challenge your balance, and strengthen your legs by riding up hills. Ride back down and simulate patterns used when skiing.

Running: running up and down hills will allow you to mimic patterns used when skiing.

Dry land training exercises

Rope walking: Stretch a 10-foot rope along a smooth surface. Walk the distance back and forth with your eyes closed. Pay close attention to your foot placement to create foot awareness. Once you have mastered that skill, arrange the rope on various patterns to heighten your awareness senses.

Circle tracing: arrange the 10-foot rope in a circle in a smooth surface. Stand with one foot in the center of the circle, and the other foot resting along the rope edge. Move the outer foot along the circle with the toe, then the heel. You can also place a block under the stationary foot as an alternative movement. This increases foot dexterity, hip flexibility, and stance strength.

Towel drag: lay a towel in a smooth, slippery surface, such as an aerobic gym floor. Place a weight atop of the towel on one end. Then place one foot on the outside of the towel, and one on the towel near the weight. Drag the weighted side with one foot toward the other, and then move the foot back out. This increases your phantom move, hip flexibility, and functional skiing balance.

Balancing devices
If you are consistent about dry land training, then you may want to invest in a balance-training device such as a teeterboard or power pivot board.

Other training consideration
Skiing requires a considerable amount of strength and endurance. Strength training programs need to be implemented at least 2 days per week. Full body workouts are a great way to build strength, muscle mass, and endurance all at the same time. 

Bodyweight movements such as push-ups and pull-ups should be applied, as well as Olympic lifts. Core training is also another key factor when improving your skiing skills.

Plyometrics should also be added to your off-snow training. Ski=specific movement like the BOSU lateral hop should be applied.

Cardiovascular exercise should be performed at least 3 times per week. Skiing requires a very high level of aerobic endurance, and running or cycling will help maintain your endurance levels. Always remember to warm up before beginning any off-season training program.

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