Downhill Ski Exercises

Athletic technique improves with consistent practice. Skiers, unless they visit the southern hemisphere in the summer, have a limited window of opportunity for skill improvement. A sport-specific dryland training program can help skiers maintain the balance and coordination that their sport requires. It may even improve skill and prevent injuries.

Carving Exercises

The carving movement is unique to downhill skiing. Few movements used in daily life require you to balance on the big toe of one foot and the little toe of the other. This ski-specific movement requires a precise mix and ankle strength, flexibility, coordination and proprioception, which is the body’s awareness of its position in space. The bosu, which is a half ball, provides an efficient surface for practicing off-season carving movements. Place the bosu so that the dome side is facing up. Stand at the top of the bosu, and separate your feet to the width of your normal ski stance. Bend your knees and shift your weight, so that you are balancing on the little toe of your right foot and the big toe of your left foot. Flatten your feet, straighten your legs, and then repeat to the other direction. Perform 20 repetitions each day, or 10 to each side. When you feel comfortable with the movement pattern, coordinate your breathing. Inhale as your legs extend, and exhale as you bend your knees and put your feet on edge.

Hamstring Curls

A hamstring/quadriceps muscle imbalance wreaks havoc on ski technique. Most people have stronger quadriceps, which are the muscles in the front of the thigh. The quadriceps extend the legs, whereas the hamstrings bend them. Both movements are important. Overactive quadriceps may hyperextend your knees, which in turn shifts your weight to the ski’s tails. You have less control in this position.

The stability ball hamstring curl corrects this problem. Lie supine with your feet on the ball, separated at hip width. Lift each vertebra from the floor, until you are in a bridge position. Remain in the bridge as you bend and straighten your legs. Perform three sets of eight repetitions.

Inline Skating

Inline skating is one of the few off-season sports whose movements resemble those of downhill skiing. In fact, the street ski, often called the “urban carver,” actually uses ski poles. These skates have special bindings that attach to your downhill ski boots. The technique involves edging movements similar to downhill skiing, as well as “snow plow” movements for stopping.

About this Author

Lisa Marie Mercer has been a professional writer for nearly 10 years. She has authored “Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness,” “Breckenridge: A Guide to the Sights and Slopes of Summit County” and “101 Fitness Tips for Women.” She’s worked as a fitness professional, tour guide and ski resort employee. Her work has appeared in “Aspen Magazine,” “HerSports,” “The Professional Skier,” “Pregnancy Magazine” and “Wired.”