Kat Dierickx | 10.21.2015

That's right, now is the time. When it comes to backcountry skiing, what wants to come down must first go up. If you don't want your quads to tremble and your lungs to ache, it's time start training your body for ski season. Though we're all doing our snow dance hoping for epic powder this season (or even any snow at all), perhaps we'd be better off if we traded those dance moves for a core-strengthening, endurance-boosting workout that will help us shred the slopes with ease and, hopefully, grace. 

Eric Lubell and Jeremy Currie, the trainers at Evolution Healthcare and Fitness, put together a series of six exercises that are sure to help your performance this winter. According to the experts, you should being your strength training program 10 to 12 weeks out from the beginning of the season (meaning you need to start today!). You'll want to focus on form before progressing with weights and intensity. 

Start by completing the workout one to two times per week and performing 8 to 12 reps of each exercise, each side. As strength builds, raise the intensity by adding more weight with the same amount of reps. Once form and strength have been established, start incorporating more endurance to the workout by lowering the weight and increasing the reps to 15 to 20. 


Target Muscles:

Back, arms, core

Key Points:

  • Shoulders should be directly over hands and kettlebell
  • Start with low weight and wide foot stance
  • Progress by narrowing foot stance before raising the kettlebell weight
  • Maintain hip and shoulder position parallel to the floor (no rotating)
  • Focus on maintaining a neutral spine


​Target muscles:

lower body abductors, lower body adductors, hip stability, knee stability

Key Points:

  • Start with a short distance and progress to wider one
  • Focus on driving your foot off the block and allowing the trailing foot to drag and stabilize


Target muscles:

Core, upper and lower back, glutes, hamstrings, ankle stability, quads

Key Points:

  • Don't round the upper back, rather keep the back flat so weight remains in the legs
  • Keep a slight bend in the support knee 
  • Keep chin tucked in
  • Maintain shoulders parallel to the floor (don't reach for the floor)
  • Don't allow the hips to hike up, keep them parallel to the floor
  • Aim to place the kettlebell directly next to the foot
  • Exhale as you come to the vertical position
  • Focus on glute and hamstring contraction to start the movement, don't lead with the back (no arching)


Target muscles:

Core, glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves

Key Points:

  • Maintain an upright posture, don't lean over your knee
  • Weight should remain in your heel and midfoot as opposed to your toes
  • Begin the sitting down motion by reaching the hips backwards
  • Focus on knee control and not allowing the knee to wobble


Target muscles:

Abdominals, obliques, quadradus lumborum (lower back), back extensors and flexors

Key Points:

  • Maintain a tall, upright posture 
  • Tuck chin in and maintain a relaxed neck position 
  • Head should remain forward and not look up or down
  • Allow no lateral flexion of spine
  • Creating a fist with the hand that is not carrying weight can help you to perform this exercise 


Target muscles:

Core, quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, triceps, shoulder

Key Points:

  • Maintain an upright posture and don't allow your chest to come over the knees
  • Weight should remain in your heels and midfoot, not the toes
  • Begin the standing up phase driving from the glutes and finishing with a hip thrust
  • Glutes should remain clenched in the very top position to help maintain a neutral pelvis
  • Do not allow the knees to cave in as you descend into the squat position


You should begin your taper about three weeks from the beginning of the season, and it's important to lower your intensity at this phase. Workouts should be conducted two times per week and incorporate both strength and endurance. A good recommendation is to work at roughly 70% to 80% of your previous working weight as you taper the workouts; for instance, if you usually squat with 50 pounds, squat with a maximum of 40 pounds. Continue to cross-train during the taper to prevent any unwanted weight gain and keep your body efficient for the season.

Thanks again to the professionals at Evolution Healthcare and Fitness for supplying the workout and how to videos. Now it's up to you to get started! 


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