Skiing is an excellent sport that works just about every muscle in your body, from your arms to your core, quads, hamstrings, and calves. You might spend time at the gym doing exercises that build these crucial muscles if you want to get better at skiing.
But don’t forget about balance training. Having good balance does more than just keep you upright as you head downhill (although that is, of course, important).
In skiing, balance is also critical for adapting to the ever-changing landscape of the slopes. You can effectively maneuver your body without falling when you have good balance, which is crucial for preventing injuries. And if you do fall (hey, it happens!), your body will be stronger and less susceptible to incurring a serious injury.
6 Essential Balance Routines for Skiers
Here are six balance exercises you should incorporate into your regular workout routine as a skier. You’ll notice that many of them are one-leg exercises. These will help improve your symmetry so that you don’t rely on using one leg more than the other as you ski.
- One leg stands
This simple balance exercise will help you in all aspects of your life, including skiing. If you think you’ll be wobbly, do this in front of a chair or counter you can hold onto.
Stand up straight, positioning your feet about hip-width apart. Raise one foot off the ground until it’s about knee height. Stand here for at least 10 seconds, then repeat on the other side. For an added challenge, close your eyes. Aim to do this for 30-seconds at a time on each side five times every day.
- Balance board training
A balance board is an excellent tool that lets you focus on your balance. Start by standing on it with both feet flat. Try to stay balanced for 30 seconds at a time, working your way up to one minute.
Then, take the first exercise of standing on one foot at a time up a notch by keeping your grounded foot on a balance board. Close your eyes as you get more comfortable.
- Single leg deadlifts
This is a body-stabilizing exercise that strengthens your core, hamstrings, and glutes. It will also build ankle stability and improve your balance. All in one move!
Grab a dumbbell for each hand or one kettlebell to hold in in both hands. Start with a lower weight and increase it as you get stronger and more confident.
Stand in an upright position with your feet about hip-width apart. Hinge at your hips as you slowly lean forward and stretch your hands down in front of you. Lift one leg behind you, keeping your grounded leg slightly bent. Keep your back straight and take a deep breath. Exhale, then return to the start. Work up to performing three sets of 10 reps per leg.
- Skater hops
This lateral balance move also gets some cardio. Start at the left side of your mat (or space). Get into a small squat, then jump to the right as far as possible. Lead with your right leg and land on your right foot, keeping your left leg in the air. Then, jump to the left, doing the same thing.
Do this move for 20 seconds at a time, working up to doing it for 60 seconds at a time. Make it more challenging by squatting lower and swinging your arms to jump further.
- Jumping lunges
This is another excellent move that combines balance with cardio. Start in a standing position. Set your feet about shoulder-width apart. Now, jump your left leg forward and right leg back until you’re in a lunge position.
Jump again, switching your legs midair, so you land in a lunge position with your right leg forward and left leg back. Keep doing this for 20 seconds, working up to doing this for one minute at a time.
A strong core is essential for overall balance as you ski. Planks are great because they’re easy to do from anywhere, and you can do them in several variations.
Start on the ground with your elbows under your shoulders and your legs straight behind you for a basic plank. Hold this position as long as you can, working up to holding it for 60 seconds (or longer). Add a set of yoga foam wedges under your elbows to make it more comfortable.
Have Fun on the Slopes this Winter!
By incorporating these balance exercises into your regular exercise routine, you can have more fun skiing and spend less time on your back or nursing an injury.At StrongTek, we believe that balance is the root of all fitness. Check out our selection of products designed to help you improve your balance and flexibility on and off the slopes.