Get fit & stay injury free for your ski trip...

Reduce the risk of injury by doing these exercises

Exercise in the run up to your ski holiday is not only a great way to improve your fitness for the trip but can also help to reduce your risk of injury.  Compared to normal levels of activity a week of skiing places significant additional strain on the joints, ligaments and muscles which would normally not be tested, and this can lead to an overload injury or trauma.
In order to minimise the risk of this happening we need to train the body to be able to cope with the physical demands of the sport and to help you get the most out of your holiday by boosting performance.
When planning our exercise programme we need to consider the stress placed on the body and plan an exercise programme to suit.  The key components of skiing include muscular strength, muscular endurance and agility.  An additional consideration is that the exercises should be specific to the sport.
The American colleague of Sports Medicine (ACSM) provides a useful starting point for planning a programme.  Their guidelines they recommend 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity five days a week, or 20 minutes of more vigorous activity three days per week.  In addition to this strength training should be performed at least two days per week targeting the major muscle groups (Esco, 2013). By following this framework we can start to build a plan and factor in the key aspects of fitness we need.  Below I have outlined six great exercises to work into your regular exercise routine.

Key exercises

1. Muscular strength


Squat with weight                                            Deadlift

These can be performed 8-12 times over three sets, with rest periods of around 2 minutes before starting again.  For a more advanced workout perform up to 6 repetitions over 4-5 sets with additional weight.

2. Muscular Endurance


Skater squats


Kettle bell swings

These can be performed in 2-4 sets of 15-25 repetitions, with 30sec-1 minute rest.

3. Agility



Transverse hops over step

These can be done for 30seconds to 1minute at a time, and repeated 3-4 times in a session.  They can be complemented by regular cardiovascular work such as running, swimming, bike or cross trainer for a comprehensive workout.  Your body will start to adapt after 2-3 weeks, but for full benefit the exercises should be performed over a period of 8-12 weeks.

Further tips on injury prevention:

There are lots of other ways to minimise risk of injury while away.  Safety gear including helmet, crash pads wrist guards (for snowboarders) are a wise investment.    Always be aware of those around you and think carefully when venturing off piste and heed local warnings. It’s usually best to go with a local guide and take safety equipment particularly after heavy snowfall including transceivers, air bags and shovels.  What may look like perfect power could be covering rocks just a couple of inches below.  For more useful information on injury prevention check out the ski injury prevention website below.

Happy Skiing!!

Anthony Cahill
Specialist MSK Physio at Physio Three Sixty, Hitchin


American College of Sports Medicine: Resistance Training for Health and Fitness, Michael R. Esco, 2013
Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2011;2011:8187-90. doi: 10.1109/IEMBS.2011.6092019.
Influence of muscular fatigue on skiing performance during parallel turns.
Kiryu T1, Murayama T, Ushiyama Y.
World Neurosurg. 2015 Sep;84(3):805-12. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2015.05.016. Epub 2015 May 21.
Cohort Study on the Association Between Helmet Use and Traumatic Brain Injury in Snowboarders From a Swiss Tertiary Trauma Center.
Inj Prev. 2015 Sep 23. pii: injuryprev-2015-041667. doi: 10.1136/injuryprev-2015-041667. [Epub ahead of print]
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