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How to train your legs for skiing

It’s usually on day three of the ski holiday that your legs really start to complain. After two days of full-on leg burning exercise on the slopes, the leg muscles will be tired, aching and simply a bit done-in. However, if you push through the aches and pains you’ll find that by day five and six, your legs have become acclimatised to the extra-long days of skiing and as the holiday comes to an end, you really begin to feel the benefit of stronger legs and stamina. So why not do a little ski-specific training before you head off on your ski holiday? It makes sense, doesn’t it? If you arrive with skiing-ready legs then you’re going to enjoy the ski holiday a great deal more from day one to seven.

A guide to preparing your legs for skiing

Fast feet: Start in a neutral position with you feet shoulder-width apart and your hips and knees a little flexed. Concentrate on keeping your core engaged and as you keep the neutral position begin to move you feet as fast as you can, lifting one and then the other as if running quickly on the spot but still keeping your feet wide apart. Do two sets of 30 seconds, with 60 seconds of rest in between. Why? This legs-apart position is how you’ll ski and so if your legs are strong in this position you’ll find they become less fatigued. Side lunge circuit: Place four cones about 5ft apart in a square pattern on the floor. Stand on one of the perimeter lines, facing into the square and with a cone near your left foot. Get yourself into a neutral athletic stance and then perform a sidestep to the right landing your right foot just inside the next cone. Stay low and compact as you swivel or pivot 90 degrees on your right foot until your back is facing into the square, and then perform a sidestep to land your left foot inside the next cone. Keep going until you have completed a circuit of the cones. Do this five times in a clockwise direction and then five times the other way. Why? This session calls for a sustained leg contraction and strong core and hip stability, all of which are important for skiing performance. Front lunges: Start these lunges in a low lunge position. Remember to engage your core muscles and place an equal amount of weight between your front and back feet. Switch feet throughout this exercise but stay as low as possible and holding your body in a good lunge alignment. Do four sets of 10 reps. Why? Leg, butt and hip strength, as well core stability, are vital for good skiing technique. * Always warm up and cool down before and after each training session. And do not embark on a new exercise regime if you are in any way in doubt about your physical health – ask a doctor first.