SIX WEEK SKI PREP (NO EQUIPMENT)

Here we go again, its early October already and we are starting to mentally transition from summer fun to winter daydreaming.  A couple years ago I wrote a 6 week ski-prep program that required basic gym gear or access. As the various impacts of the pandemic drag on, more and more of us have turned to no-gear and bodyweight only training regimens to improve or maintain our physical fitness.

This program is designed to be fun and scalable to personal fitness level and performed 3 days a week for no more than an hour a day.  Rather than a steady diet and progression of the same old exercises and set/rep schemes, I’ve tried to provide some variety along with plenty of challenge.

I’m going to rehash some things from my article a few years ago because they are still important to understand (or maybe you missed the first one). Lets break down the complexities of skiing into some major muscle groups, their function in skiing and the primary movements we will employ to target them:

Legs –

I know, everyone just wants bigger, stronger, more efficient quads, because for most of us, this is where we feel the burn and therefore make the incorrect assumption it’s the most important muscle to build for skiing.  The reality is, the quads are one part of a very complex set of muscle groups that allow us to do the amazing things we do with our legs.  Many knee injuries are a result of our quads over-powering or being out of balance with the other major muscle groups in our legs.  The reality is that our societal habits of sitting all day have led to lazy glutes, lazy hamstrings and bad posture, which directly contributes to imbalance in the legs which leads to increased stress on the knee joint, primarily the ACL which is so crucial to knee stability and skiing strength. 

 

Core –

A strong, stable core dictates everything else we do.  You can have the strongest legs in the world but if they are attached to a bowl of Jell-O you will be unable to utilize all of that strength.  When we talk about the core, with often think of our abdomen, but just like the legs, most of the muscles of the back play an equally important role in our core strength.  The core provides front to back stability as we move, bounce and rotate around in our daily lives, a strong core increases balance and the ability to counter rotation and maintain control of the body.

 

Cardio –

If you can’t breathe everything else grinds to a halt real quickly.  The more efficiently your body moves oxygen to your muscles, the longer those muscles can perform under stress.  A solid cardio base is also what will carry you through those last few turns at the end of a long day, it will also help you stay fresh longer and avoid those end of day bonks when injuries become more likely.

 

Upper Body –

Most of us probably don’t think much about how much or how little we use our arms and shoulders skiing, but no one wants to be that guy screaming down the slope with arms wildly flailing around like a flag in a hurricane.  Think about good skiing technique and form, where do we generally want our hands?  Out front right?  Ready to plant a pole and pointing the direction for the rest of our body.  I just remember a lesson my dad taught me at a young age, as soon as my hands get lazy, it’s a invite for everything else to do the same and before I realize it, I’m in the back seat and trying to recover.   So, we won’t neglect the upper body, but will mostly keep it ready to go with supplemental and complimentary exercises.

 

STRUCTURE –

 For this series, we will get away from the previous workout structure and focus on three things:

Warm-up

Workout

Cool-down

And to simplify it even more, I will make a few suggestions about appropriate warm up/cool downs and you should do as much or as little as you think is required.

 

WARM UP 

The warm-up here is simple.  Get moving so that you can safely get to work.  I like a 5-10 minute brisk walk or slow, easy jog.  Prime the pump and get the heart ready to work and the muscles ready to move.  We don’t have time or space to get into the current science behind the pros and cons of stretching, but I like to use my warm up for mobility work.  I think mobility (the ability to move a joint or joints through an entire range of motion with strength and stability and without pain) is far more important than flexibility.  In fact, over stretching muscles can greatly reduce their ability to fully contract and do their job.  So I like to add a few simple primal movements and/or yoga poses to keep my focus on mobility rather than strength.

 

WORK OUT 

These will be list 1-18 below (3x week for 6 weeks – second three weeks will mirror first three with increased intensity) and theoretically should be done in order.  I recommend a “day off” in between, but nothing here should be so catastrophic that you can’t do two days in a row.  I have tried to link videos and descriptions to anything that may not make sense.  Some days will be high intensity and shorter, others will focus on strength and be slower and longer duration.

 

COOL DOWN

I believe the cool down to be one of the most essential first steps in the recovery process (more on that at the end)  The easiest cool down is just to take a walk, or jump on a bike and spin at an easy pace.  The idea is to begin the process of flushing toxins from the muscles and reduce or minimize soreness.

 

RECOVERY

There are a ton of cliché’s out there about how important recovery is.  In the end, you can’t do more work than you can recover from so take care of your body, massage, walking, ice baths, foams rollers and anything else that promotes healing and rest are valid here.  If you’re feeling strong or wanting more, running, hiking, walking and cycling are all excellent compliments on your days off, but most importantly listen to your body.  More work is great if it’s quality, but at some point you get garbage in and garbage out.  Don't break the machine trying to prep it for the long season ahead.


We suggest downloading our PDF, because we designed it to be printable, have links to examples, and be taken offline to wherever you workout.

 

The 6 Week Ski Prep Program

WEEK ONE
Day 1
**Warm Up**
WORKOUT
Part 1: 8 Rounds
20 Air Squats
10 second Hold at 90 degrees no butt on ankles, no hands on legs
30 seconds rest
Part 2: 5 Rounds
5 Strict push-ups
15 second Plank
1 min rest
Part 3: 10 Minutes
Mountain Climbers 30 seconds work, 30 seconds rest
**Cool Down**
Day 2 OFF
Day 3
**Warm Up**
Workout
Part 1
20 Air Squats
10 Jump Squat
5 Tuck Jump
Part 2
frog hop @ 15-20 reps per interval pace
Rest 2 mins
Split Jump @ 12-18 reps pace
Rest 2 mins
Burpee @ 7-10 reps pace
Rest 2 mins
Part 3
50 sit ups
**Cool Down**
Day 4 OFF
Day 5
**Warm Up**
Workout
Part 1
Push-up/Mtn Climber Ladder – minimal rest as required between rounds 5 push-ups – 30 seconds mtn climber
4 push-ups – 45 seconds mtn climber
3 push -ups – 60 seconds mtn climber
2 push-ups - 75 seconds mtn climber
1 push-up – 90 seconds mtn climber
Part 2: 5 Rounds
12 alternating forward lunges
12 alternating reverse lunges
30 second wall sit
30 second rest
Part 3: 3 Rounds
10 speed squats Minimal rest between rounds
10 sec squat hold Minimal rest between rounds
3 squat jumps Minimal rest between rounds
**Cool Down**
Day 6 OFF
Day 7 OFF

 

WEEK TWO
Day 1
**Warm Up**
Workout
Part 1: 4 Rounds
4 rounds Hamstring Hell 4x each leg
Part 2: 7 Minute EMOM EMOM: Every Minute On the Minute complete the specified exercise(s). For example, a 10 minute EMOM of 5 burpees and 5 pullups would look like this: 0:00 - 5 burpees, 5 pullups 1:00 - 5 burpees, 5 pullups 2:00 - 5 burpees, 5 pullups etc until 10 minutes is up. If you complete the exercises in 20 seconds then you rest 40 seconds until the next minute begins. If you cannot complete the exercises in a minute scale back the repetitions or difficulty.
4 burpees
10 air squat
5 tuck jumps
Part 3
25 Hip Bridge w/active 10 second hold at top
**Cool Down**
Day 2 OFF
Day 3
**Warm Up**
Workout
Part 1: 8 Rounds
“Mini Leg Blaster” 10x air squats +
10x in-place lunges (5x each leg) +
10x jumping lunges (5x each leg) +
5x Squat Jumps
45 Second Rest
Part 2
12 Minute Run
Part 3
50 sit ups
5 sets of 5 push-ups
**Cool Down**
Day 4 OFF
Day 5
**Warm Up**
Workout
Part 1 12 mins 30:30 intervals – 30 sec work, 30 sec rest
Odd minutes – speed squats as many reps as possible in 30 seconds
Even minutes – frog hops as many reps as possible in 30 seconds
Part 2: 5 Rounds
Squat holds for 60 seconds
Walk around for 30 seconds
Part 3: 3 Rounds
AB Bridge
complex
Minimal rest between roundshold each movement for 20 seconds
Rest 30 seconds
**Cool Down**
Day 6 OFF
Day 7 OFF

 


WEEK THREE
Day 1
**Warm Up**
WORKOUT
Part 1: 4 minutes each exercise
Speed Squat 20 sec work/10 sec rest, for 4 minutes
rest 1 minute
Tuck Jumps 20 sec work/10 sec rest, for 4 minutes
rest 1 minute
Burpees 20 sec work/10 sec rest, for 4 minutes
rest 1 minute
Alternating Lunges 20 sec work/10 sec rest, for 4 minutes
rest 1 minute
squat hold 20 sec work/10 sec rest, for 4 minutes
Part 2: 6 minutes
30 sec mtn climber
30 second plank
**Cool Down**
Day 2 OFF
Day 3
**Warm Up**
Workout
Part 1
10 push-ups, 1 Back
extension
9 Push-ups, 2 Back extension
8 Push-ups, 3 Back extension
7 Push-ups, 4 Back extension
6 Push-ups, 5 Back extension
5 Push-ups, 6 Back extension
4 Push-ups, 7 Back extension
3 Push-ups, 8 Back extension
2 Push-ups, 9 Back extension
1 Push-ups, 10 Back extension
Part 2: 5 Rounds
12 alternating lunges
5 tuck jumps
30 sec squat hold
8 split jumps
Rest 1 minute
Part 3
50 sit ups
**Cool Down**
Day 4 OFF
Day 5
**Warm Up**
Workout
Part 1: 28 Minutes 30 second intervals Set a clock for 30 second intervals, 28 total minutes. Perform each block in order with 2 minutes rest between them. Intensity is maintained and regulated by trying to match each sets total reps with the previous set. Each block format is 30 sec work, 30 sec rest for 4 mins.
Frog Hop 30 second interval
Split Jump 30 second interval
Burpee 30 second interval
Push-up 30 second interval
Air squat 30 second interval - can be performed ‘hell style’ by holding a squat for added burn
rest, 2 min.
**Cool Down**
Day 6 OFF
Day 7 OFF
WEEK FOUR
Day 1
**Warm Up**
WORKOUT
Part 1: 10 Rounds
20 Air Squats ( as fast as possible)
10 second Hold at 90 degrees (no butt on ankles, no hands on legs)
30 seconds rest
Part 2: 7 Rounds
5 Strict push-ups
15 second Plank
1 Min. Rest
Part 3: 10 Minutes
Mountain Climbers
rest 30 seconds
**Cool Down**
Day 2 OFF
Day 3
**Warm Up**
Workout
Part 1: 3 Rounds
20 Air Squat
10 Jump Squat
5 Tuck Jump
Part 2
4x (30 sec work/30 sec rest) frog hop @ 18-22 reps per interval pace
Rest, 2 minutes
4x (30 sec work/30 sec rest) Split Jump @ 15-20 reps pace
Rest, 2 minutes
4x (30 sec work/30 sec rest) Burpee @ 9-12 reps pace
Rest, 2 minutes
Part 3
50 sit ups
**Cool Down**
Day 4 OFF
Day 5
**Warm Up**
Workout
Part 1
10 push-ups – 30 seconds mtn climber
8 push-ups – 45 seconds mtn climber
6 push -ups – 60 seconds mtn climber
4 push-ups - 75 seconds mtn climber
2 push-up – 90 seconds mtn climber
Part 2: 5 Rounds
16 alternating forward lunges
16 alternating reverse lunges
30 second wall sit
30 second rest
Part 3: 4 Rounds
10 speed squats
10 sec squat hold
3 squat jumps
Minimal rest between rounds
**Cool Down**
Day 6 OFF
Day 7 OFF

 

WEEK FIVE
Day 1
**Warm Up**
Workout
Part 1: 6 Rounds
Hamstring Hell 4x Each Leg
Part 2: 7 Minute EMOM
5 burpees
10 air squat
5 Tuck Jumps
Part 3
30 Hip Bridge w/active 10 second hold at top
**Cool Down**
Day 2 OFF
Day 3
**Warm Up**
Workout
Part 1: 10 Rounds
10 rounds “Mini Leg
Blaster”
45 seconds Rest
Part 2
12 min run
Part 3
5 sets of 5 push-ups
50 sit ups
**Cool Down**
Day 4 OFF
Day 5
**Warm Up**
Workout
Part 1: 14 minutes 30:30 intervals – 30 sec work, 30 sec rest
Odd minutes – speed squats, as many reps as possible in 30 seconds
Even minutes – frog hops, as many reps as possible in 30 seconds
Part 2: 7 Rounds
squat hold, 1 min.
Walk around for 30 seconds
Part 3: 5 Rounds
AB Bridge
complex
, 20 seconds
rest 30 seconds
**Cool Down**
Day 6 OFF
Day 7 OFF

WEEK SIX

Day 1
**Warm Up**
WORKOUT
Part 1
8x (20 sec work/10 sec rest) Speed Squat
Rest 1 minute
8x (20 sec work/10 sec rest) Tuck Jump
Rest 1 minute
8x (20 sec work/10 sec rest) Burpees
rest 1 minute
8x (20 sec work/10 sec rest) Alternating lunges
rest 1 minute
8x (20 sec work/10 sec rest) squat hold
Part 2: 8 Minutes
30 sec mtn climber
30 second plank
**Cool Down**
Day 2 OFF
Day 3
**Warm Up**
Workout
Part 1
10 push-ups, 1 Back
extension
9 Push-ups, 2 Back extension
8 Push-ups, 3 Back extension
7 Push-ups, 4 Back extension
6 Push-ups, 5 Back extension
5 Push-ups, 6 Back extension
4 Push-ups, 7 Back extension
3 Push-ups, 8 Back extension
2 Push-ups, 9 Back extension
1 Push-ups, 10 Back extension
Part 2: 5 Rounds
16 alternating lunges
8 tuck jumps
30 sec squat hold
10 split jumps
Rest 1 minute
Part 3
50 situps
Day 4 OFF
Day 5
**Warm Up**
Workout
Part 1: 28 Minutes 30 second intervals Set a clock for 30 second intervals, 28 total minutes. Perform each block in order with 2 minutes rest between them. Intensity is maintained and regulated by trying to match each sets total reps with the previous set. Each block format is 30 sec work, 30 sec rest for 4 mins.
Frog Hop 30 second interval
Split Jump 30 second interval
Burpee 30 second interval
Push-up 30 second interval
Air squat 30 second interval - can be performed ‘hell style’ by holding a squat for added burn
**Cool Down**
Day 6 OFF
Day 7 OFF

  

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Article by Jake Hutchinson

This article was written for the Wagner Journal by Jake Hutchinson. Jake has spent more than 25 years working as an avalanche professional. He is currently a lead instructor for the American Avalanche Institute, an avalanche dog handler and trainer and an avalanche safety consultant to the resort and rescue communities. Off the snow, Hutchinson is a Certified Instructor and former Head of Instructor and Seminar Development for Gym Jones in Salt Lake City. He is currently involved in private personal training with an emphasis on high level functional fitness for mountain and military athletes.