T Nation

Training for Skiing


Ok, so my normal training usually consist of low reps(under 5) and I all so feel that my natural genetic makeup is more so geared toward power than endurance, example being that I have all ways been a very fast 100 meter sprinter and I have a very good vert. Now every year when the ski season starts I find I have no "skiing legs" so to speak.

What I mean by this is that after about 15-20 seconds of skiing, and I mean hard, fast skiing, not cruising, I am overcome with pain in my legs from extreme lactic acid build up and I have to stop for a minute and let it subside. This improves around mid season when I start to find that I can actually last for 2-3 mins.

Now my question is this - What kind of exercises can I do in the gym that would best replicate the same kind of stress that my legs are under while skiing? I want to be able to go into the season with legs that last.

This isn't an issue of my legs not being strong enough, it's an issue of my legs not having enough strength-endurance. The exercises need to be in the arena of 1-3 minutes. I was thinking 400 meter sprints, biking with the resistance turned up, high rep squats. What are your ideas?

The other quick question is that I want to try and bullet proof my knees as much as possible to prevent injury. What should I do to make sure my knees are balanced and strong? By this I mean what is the proper balance between squats/deads/lunges/step-ups etc? and is there anything special to prevent injury?



I've used high rep squats to get in shape for skiing. I did something like 135xa bunchx2 once a week. Try using 33-50% of you max.


Prowler pushes, backwards sled drags, and speed skater squats (Bulgarian split squats done in 1 1/2 rep fashion).

You could also perform squats without locking out at the top. In other words, you would squat to below your normal skiing stance, and then come back up to just above it. Do that for time.

Lots of things you can do to improve local muscular endurance as well as systemic LA threshold/tolerance. This is just scratching the surface.

I also hear that beta alanine is great for this purpose. Never used it myself so I can't recommend for certain but it is probably worth a shot.


Reduce the rest time beetwen your sets


I ski every year in Utah all season long, its good to hear from a fellow skier!

Your best bet is to keep skiing and if you are already fit and strong your body will adapt in no time. But i will always add in some extra exercises to build up my strength endurance prior to the ski season.

Here are some of the workouts that have worked quite well for me:
-High Rep Front Squats (20+ reps) with little to no rest at the top
-High Rep Lunges " ", i prefer bulgarian lunges with a shorter distance in between my legs.
-Wall sits, eventually progressing to one-legged wall sits (honestly i despise this exercise, it is such a pussy exercise. but it transfers well to endurance for skiing)

Skiing is all quads for me, get them stronger and more conditioned and you will be fine.

As far as prevention of knee injury...just make sure your glutes are firing properly and that you are not neglecting you hamstrings. Doing mobility work and foam rolling always does wonders for me.

Have fun!


I worked as a ski instructor for a season at a dry ski slope in the UK.

We had a couple of juniors from the UK squad that trained there weekly.

I specifically remember the race coaches reccomending wall sits and uphill bike sprints/sprints in a high gear.

This advice was given however to people that were skiing year round to supplement the race specific drills that they were given.

That said I would say you would have nothing to lose from using the above two exercises and seeking to progress them where possible. 1 legged wall sits holding a plate, etc.

Squat partials between sub paralell and just above quarter squat? isometrics?

I imagine front squats would be a good choice.


I've had this problem a little, I've been considering trying long isometric holds as well as the stuff vikingrob mentioned leading up to the next time I go away.


Split squats and intense cycling work for me. And of course lots of skiing.

You guys have been getting a crazy spring; Has the ski season out there even ended yet?


I've heard Running downhill with a weighted vest is a good pre season workout.