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Building up your skiing muscles
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An animated sit up graphic
Sit ups are great for strengthening your stomach

America's Bode Miller skis downhill

Every skier is familiar with burning thighs after a long run, or aching muscles the next day.

To help you ski harder for longer, and to pack a punch into your skiing, you need to build your ski-specific muscles.

If you want to be on your feet all day, you need to build up your legs, specifically the quadriceps - the thigh muscles - the buttocks and the calves.

Gyms have plenty of machines to help with these areas, such as the leg press (but avoid knee curls as these put strain on the knee).

You want to build up strength endurance, so do a reasonable number of repetitions (up to 20 at a time).

America's Bode Miller skis downhill
Your lower legs take a lot of strain

It's better to work on strength endurance rather than maximum strength - so work at 70% of your maximum.

Hamstring curls - lying on your front and pulling your heels up to your backside - are also an important but often-forgotten exercise for skiers.

It strengthens the back of the leg and protects the knee, guarding against possible knee ligament tears.

But if you don't go to a gym you can also work on your legs at home.

Try doing simple squats, crouching down with your back straight and knees forming a right angle and then standing up again.

Or you could do lunges - start with your feet together then step one leg forward and bend down so the front leg forms a right angle and the back knee almost touches the floor.

Go back up and switch legs.

Both exercises can be done for 20 repetitions followed by a rest. Repeat the procedure four times.

I'm not a fan of the infamous "sitting against the wall" exercise that many skiers try before their holidays.

It doesn't work a range of movement and is a very static workout.

Core strength - stomach, back and sides - is also a key area, especially for beginners or snowboarders who fall over a lot and use this muscle group to get back up.

Either use the machines in the gym or do sit-ups and press-ups at home - again for boarders who take a lot of hits strong shoulders are important.

A couple of circuits of strength exercises, combined with a 15-20 minute aerobic workout two or three times a week, and you'll be powering down the piste like never before.

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The fit skier
Cardio fitness
Building muscle
Get stretching!

Graham's facts
Born: January, 1966
British Ski champion: Eight times
Winter Olympics: Represented Britain five times
TV career: Presents BBC's Ski Sunday
Snowsport GB: Appointed performance director in 1999

Try these warm-ups
Light jogging either doing shuttle runs in the garden, on a track or on the treadmill
Riding your bike around the block or on an exercise bike
A light workout on a rower

:: British Ski and Snowboard Federation

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