5 Warm-Up Exercises to Perform at the Start of Your Next Ski Day

two skiers enjoys deep powder turns skiing in the Pacific Northwest

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It’s that time of year again where snowboard/ski season is upon us. Whether it’s early season conditions, mid-winter storm-cycle, deep powder or spring corn, it is important to make sure you are as prepared as possible before hitting the slopes.

For most of us in the Pacific Northwest, we have to do a bit of traveling before we get to the mountain. Getting out of the car after a 45 min+ drive can leave your joints stiff and your muscles cold, which is not an ideal scenario before a high intensity activity. 

You can improve your performance on the mountain and decrease risk of injury by performing a quick warm up, consisting of the following exercises, before you head to the lift.

These exercises are meant to prepare you for activity, so try to perform them right before you are ready to get on the lift. To allow for the most mobility, perform these exercises before you put your ski/snowboard boots on.

5 moves to warm up for your day of skiing/snowboarding

Instructions: Take a large step forward with your left leg and straighten the right leg into a deep lunge. Place your right hand on the ground next to your left foot. Lift your left hand up overhead, focusing upon twisting through your trunk and looking up toward the sky. Perform 10 repetitions, then repeat on the opposite side

Modification: Thoracic rotation in Lunge Position

Begin in a lunge position with the left leg forward. Place both hands in front of you with arms straight and palms together. Slowly twist your torso to the left while leaving the right arm in front and bringing the left arm behind. Repeat 10 times then switch sides.

Tip: Try to keep hips forward and only rotate through the trunk.

Instructions: Begin in a staggered stance position, you can hold onto something for balance if necessary. Slowly shift your weight forward, pushing your front knee over your toes as far as feels comfortable until you feel a stretch in your ankle. Hold for 5 seconds, then relax and repeat. Perform 10 repetitions of this exercise on each side.

Tip: Make sure to keep your front heel flat on the ground and do not bend your knee inward or outward during the stretch.

Instructions: Begin in a standing upright position, holding onto an object for support if needed. Raise one leg off the ground and swing it forward and backward through a comfortable range of motion. Try to keep your core engaged and avoid any excessive arching through your low back. Perform 10 repetitions then repeat on the other side.

Instructions: Begin standing upright with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Bending at your knees and hips, squat down until your knees are close to a 90-degree angle, then straighten your legs and repeat for a total of 10-15 repetitions.

Tip: Make sure to keep your back straight and do not let your knees bend forward past your toes.

Instructions: Begin in a standing position with your feet wider than shoulder width apart and arms resting at your side or clasped in front. Shift your weight to one side, lowering your body into a lunge position so that one leg is bent and the other is straight. Return to the starting position and repeat 10-15 times on each leg.

Tip: You can make this exercise easier by staying in a high lunge or get more of a stretch by moving into a deeper lunge. Make sure not to let your knees collapse inward during the exercise.

Cool down after skiing or snowboarding

Cool down is just as important as a warmup to prevent stiffness and soreness. After you are done skiing, perform a 5–10-minute stretching routine focusing on areas such as the legs and lower back before getting in the car. When you get home, you can foam roll or use a massage gun on any areas that are still feeling a bit tight. If you have any previous injuries, you can ice those areas for 10-15 mins to help reduce any irritation.

For more significant pain problems, acute trauma or if you are unable to perform these warm-up exercises pain-free, please follow up with your physical therapist or other health care provider.

Happy Skiing!

young skier taking in the view

Your passion is our priority!

We look forward to helping you get the most out of your winter sports season. Our therapists are committed to the application of evidence-based treatment techniques to ensure you experience the best in rehabilitation and preventative care and see progress with every visit.​

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