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Written by:
Birgitte Nymann ( www.nymanns.dk)
Author, speaker and educator within Exercise, health, nutrition and motivation. Concept – and seminar developer at Pro Academy, Denmark. Educated and trained in sport from University of Copenhagen.

Your skiing holiday is just round the corner - and once again, you have not kept your promise of getting fit before then!? In that case we offer you some assistance. You cannot get fit in 2 weeks, but it is very much possible to do something about the 3-day soreness and the heavy legs after the daily tours on piste if you do some exercises now - getting sore muscles now instead of waiting till your holiday. At the same time, you can improve your muscle coordination within a short period of time, reducing your risk of injuries because you are better able to use your muscles. So - it is never too late to get started.

Remember to:

  • Use oil-based moisturiser. Water-based products may cause frost injuries to your skin if it is very cold.
  • Use a cap when it is very cold. Your head is the part of your body giving off the most heat.
  • Drink adequate amounts of water before, during and after skiing, every day. Staying in cold areas with thin air drains your body of water, much more than one would think.
  • Warm up before your first run and after long pausing. It is tempting to just start off, but if you want to optimise your skiing you should do some repetitions of the leg exercises described in the training programme. Swing your arms around and run on the spot. Use 3-4 minutes in total and you can start skiing well prepared.
  • Stretch when you return from skiing. Stretching cannot prevent sore muscles, but prevents them from getting tight and may increase the blood flow so that your legs will not swell.

Skiing makes heavy demands on muscle endurance in your entire body. Ski training is often thought of as leg training, but no matter what kind of skiing you are doing, your abdominal and back muscles are also working hard, just as are your arms that function as "balance rods and helpers". Muscles that are fit can endure longer than muscles that are not fit. When skiing, your risk of injury increases in proportion as you get tired because you do not react as quickly and easily when you are tired as when you are vigorous. Muscles that are used in a different way than usual will always get sore - and soreness will reduce your muscle power and make you feel uncomfortable when moving. Also, sore muscles will acidify more quickly - making your legs feel heavy. To avoid soreness when skiing, you need to do exercises that imitate the work of your muscles performed during skiing. The more fit your leg, abdominal and back muscles become, the better, longer and more relaxed you may ski.

Training programme

All skiing disciplines make demands especially on the strength and endurance of your legs and arm muscles, as well as on the endurance of your abdominal and back muscles. This programme has been made to train your entire body with only a few exercises.The programme should be followed every other day if you want to profit from it before this year's skiing holiday.

Legs and hip/buttock muscles

  1. Stand feet parallel, hip-width apart. Draw your abdomen inwards. Bend your legs till your knees reach an angle of about 90 degrees. Keep your feet on the surface during the entire exercise. Stretch your legs again. Make 2 repetitions of the exercise as slowly as possible - then 4 repetitions of the exercise as quickly as possible. Repeat the process 4-6 times - rest a while before repeating the exercise.
  2. Stand feet parallel, hip-width apart. Step forward alternately on your right and left leg and bend your leg. Keep upper part of your body straight. Make a total of 20 repetitions - rest till you have recovered your breath. Make a total of 2-4 sets of the exercise.
  3. Make big steps from side to side. Make a big step to your right and then quickly shift to your left leg. Try to make as big steps as possible. Repeat the exercise 14-18 times. Rest till you have recovered your breath and repeat the exercise another 2-3 times.


  1. Get on all fours and stretch your right arm and left leg out in the air. Draw your abdomen inwards. Keep the rest of your body quite still. Keep the position while counting to 10, then shift to the other arm and leg. Repeat the exercise 6-8 times. Rest for 30 seconds and make another 2-3 sets.
  2. Lie on your back with both legs and arms straight in the air. Bend the upper part of your back till your shoulder blades are lifted off of the floor. Take your right arm and left leg outwards over the floor, as far as you can, while making sure that all of your back stays in contact with the floor. Take your arm and leg back to initial position. Now do the exercise with your other arm and leg. Repeat the exercise 10-20 times - rest for 30 seconds and do another 2 sets.


  • Put your hands on some kind of platform: a sofa, a chair, a staircase or the like, turning your back on the platform. Put your feet on the floor. Bend your elbows as much as possible while lowering your buttocks to the floor. Stretch your arms again. Make 2 slow repetitions, then 4 quick ones. Repeat the exercise 4 times - rest for a while and repeat. 4 sets in total.
  • Turn your front to the platform. Put your hands at some distance apart. Put your feet on the floor and stretch your knees. Draw your abdomen inwards, flexing your abdominal muscles. Bend your arms while lowering your chest towards the platform. Stretch your arms again. Make 2 slow repetitions, then 4 quick ones. Repeat the exercise 4 times - rest for a while and repeat. 4 sets in total.

Fitness training/warming up

Go through the warming up programme before doing the exercises - and use it also as warming up before skiing.

  1. jog on the spot - 2 minutes.
  2. jump from side to side - 10 jumps - rest 4 times in total.
  3. run on the spot while kicking your buttocks - 1 minute.
  4. lift your knees, alternately using your right and left leg - 1 minute.
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