Boost Your Cardio for Downhill Skiing

Boost Your Cardio for Downhill Skiing
Most of us don't think of downhill skiing as something that we need to build great cardiovascular endurance for. It's a gravity sport, right? Well, yes, but if you're serious about advancing your skiing ability to the next level, you'll find a boost in cardio to be one of the key components.


Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Determine your methods. Most skiers can't spend enough time on the slopes to build cardio by skiing alone. You have to cross train. Since downhill skiing works all the major muscle groups, you'll benefit from a variety of cross training activities, such as running, Nordic skiing, swimming, and rowing.
Step 2
Measure your starting point. The simplest way to do this is to see how much distance you can cover in 12 minutes in whatever cross-training activity you've chosen. If you've given it your all in that 12 minutes, this will give you a pretty good indication of your aerobic capacity.
Step 3
Build a routine. Cardio workouts should be done a minimum of 3 days a week, 30 minutes per session. Using your 12-minute test from Step 2, begin working at 70 percent of that pace, starting with 30-minute workouts and building from there.
Step 4
Increase intensity. To improve your downhill skiing, you will want some of your cardio training to be carried out at a higher intensity for shorter periods of time. Use the same pace as for your 12-minute test, but only go for 3 minutes at a time, with a 3-minute rest of lighter exercise in between intervals. Do only one interval workout per week, gradually increasing the number of repetitions.
Step 5
Enjoy your progress. You should notice a marked improvement in your skiing ability after only a month or two of cardio training. You'll know you're making progress when you're able to ski at the top of your ability level without having to stop for a breather every few minutes. Re-measure your cardio level using the same test you did at first, and adjust your workouts accordingly.

Tips & Warnings

Many skiers don't realize that they're only skiing 30 seconds to a minute at a time before stopping to catch their breath. To turn your skiing into a cardio workout, try slowing down a little and taking more controlled turns. Build up to skiing the entire run without stopping. Your ride back up the lift will give you your rest interval.

Article Written By Lynn Barry

Lynn Barry is an ACE certified personal trainer and running coach who is an avid trail runner and cross country skier. She lives in the mountains of Idaho and enjoys hiking and camping with her family and competing in triathlons and marathons.

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