Leaving your Ski Fitness to the last minute!

No matter whether you’re a hard core off piste powder hound, a piste plougher, or you’ve just signed up for the vin chaud and apero hour, we all know that we should get fit for skiing!  Maybe we’ll even manage a few of the exercises that we see in the magazines, a wall squat here and there or some single leg dips and hops, but is all lost if you don’t get around to it until 2 weeks before?

We asked Neil Maclean-Martin, the sports physiotherapist and author of the ski fitness programme ‘SkiFit’ from BeFitApps. Is it too late Neil?

“It’s never too late, winter sports use your muscles very differently compared to sports during the rest of the year. Whatever the time it’s good to send a message to your body and activate the muscles you’re going to be using, straining and feeling throughout your holiday. Try to reduce those sore legs in between days and prevent some of the most common injuries caused on the mountain. This can be done before your holiday or on in your warm up routine on the day”

Maclean-Martin, who has worked for more than fifteen years in the world of elite sport is regarded as one of Europe’s leading ski and snowboard physiotherapists and regularly treats pro-skiers and mountain professionals at his Clinic in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc (La Clinique du Sport). His desire to produce what he describes as a ‘pre-habilitation programme’ came after treating ski injuries which he was sure could have been prevented by improved strength in key muscles used in snowsports which rarely get used in other sports or everyday life.

For skiers who are short on time, especially in the last few weeks leading up to their ski holiday, a shorter version of Neil’s full SkiFit programme was released called SkiFit8.

SkiFit8 is an eight minute ski fitness workout offering a bite-sized series of high quality exercises, the videos can be downloaded to watch offline which allows you take it with you anywhere. The app costs just £1.49 and can be downloaded onto your iPhone, iPad, Android phone and Android tablet via the App Store and Google Play.

The full SkiFit Programme, can be accessed online by becoming a BeFitApps member for just £9.99 for a year, however for our followers use discount code ‘SKIFIT2017’ for a 20% discount. The full programme it is also available as a mobile app in the iTunes App store or Google Play store and the videos can be downloaded and watched offline on any device.

So even with a few weeks to go, there’s still time to prepare your muscles and avoid the first few days of sore legs, and here are some further clinical reasons why you should get fit for Skiing as early as you can …

  • Skiing will be easier – When you’re fit and strong it all just becomes a little bit easier.  With a strong core supporting your spine your arms and legs are given a solid platform to perform from.  Your body will be in alignment and your joints will be working in their optimal positions.  From this good starting posture the muscles that you have been training can optimally perform, using less energy and making it all a little bit easier.
  • You’ll have better technique – Muscles that have been practicing ski specific exercises are more responsive to requests that the brain makes upon them.  They can learn movement patterns and learn to perform certain movements in specific positions. The more you repeat these movements the more ability your muscles have to perform well in these skiing specific positions.   They are better conditioned to accurately and powerfully respond to the requests that your brain makes on them.
  • You’ll be able to spend more time skiing – Muscles that are conditioned to repeatedly perform ski specific movements for minutes at a time at home will be able to easily translate this fitness over to the piste or mountain.  It’s important to replicate the time that you spend skiing at home, intense powerful ski specific exercises for minutes at a time over a period of an hour, replicating the time it might take for one trip between chair lifts and/or coffee stops!  This is going to mean less fatigue and therefore longer days out on the hill.
  • You’re less likely to get injured – This is the big one, no-one wants to come home from their skiing holiday on crutches!  Sometimes it’s just bad luck but most of the time injury is due to fatigue and the resulting poor technique.  You can do a lot to get strong and injury resistant before you go skiing but it’s going to take more than a few wall squats for a couple of weeks before you go.  Exercise programmes that use ski specific movement patterns, challenge dynamic stability and push your endurance to the limits are the ones from which you will reap the rewards.


SkiFit is part of the ‘BeFitApps’ series, which also includes RunFit, TriFit and BikeFit


Jackie Maclean-Martin
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