Get ski fit with the walking lunge

21st October 2014, by Abi Butcher

Getting fitter for skiing will help you tackle those bumps!

Getting fitter for skiing will help you tackle those bumps!

With heavy snow forecast in the Alps this week, and the first ski resorts opening, it’s time to step up the fitness. To help maximise your time in the mountains, Where to Ski and Snowboard has teamed up with winter sports specialists James Vickers and Rob Madden, physiotherapists who have worked at elite level with the British and Canadian ski and snowboard teams.

We started with the hack squat in week one of ski-specific exercises, and last week with the dead lift for snowboard-specific exercise. This walking lunge series is useful for both.

“The walking lunge builds lower limb (mainly hip) work capacity much like the hack squat,” says James. “It also aims to increase hip and trunk mobility, and their ability work separately. Given its similarity to the hack squat it is advisable to combine it with another exercise like the dead lift.”

This exercise is a high-volume, body weight exercise, so James advises building up slowly to the full reps and sets that are advised in the video — 15metre x 6 reps (rest 5 secs between) x 4 times (rest 30-60secs).

“But for maximum effect you want your legs to burn by the latter reps and sets,” he adds. “This muscle fatigue shouldn’t compromise the quality of the lunging steps or the trunk rotations that are on every third lunging step.”

Former TeamGB ski physio James Vickers demonstrates the walking lunge

Completing this exercise two to three times a week will increase your hip strength compared to your bodyweight which is important in both skiing and snowboarding. You can also do less reps and sets as part of a warm-up when you’re in the mountains, before hitting the slopes.

Rob and James are now based at the Centre for Health and Human Performance (CHHP), 76 Harley Street, London. They have a depth of experience in elite skiing and snowboarding, and altitude and expedition medicine. For more information, visit

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