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Resistance Exercise for Cross Country Skiers

Resistance Exercise for Cross Country Skiers

Swoosh swoosh swoosh. Any avid skier knows the rush. The wind in your face as you plunge through freshly groomed trails. Then to curl up at the end of the day with hot cocoa by the fire. But with any high, there is a low. And when it comes to skiing, it’s got to be the recovery, the soreness. Despite skiing being a favorite for family holidays or weekend retreat with friends, it is certainly can be a physically taxing sport.

As any professional skier knows, preparation to hit the trails begin well before you get to the ski area. With skiing already being a great source of exercise, it seems redundant to work out for your workout; but working to build stronger legs, joints, and back can have an extraordinary impact on your sport, like better control and coordination, injury prevention, bigger stamina and faster recovery which then allows for, you guessed it, more skiing!

Skiing can also be a pretty pricy hobby due to the cost of equipment, lodging, and transportation. The last thing you need is a gym membership to add to the mix. Luckily, by utilizing equipment like booty bands (here is an example:, there plenty of at-home exercises that can help get you ready for the season. If you do have access to a gym, you can use these bands to take your workout up a notch. 

While isolation movements (like bicep curls) target a specific area and have little application other than building the glamour muscles, functional movements (like squats) have real-life applications. They also focus on core strength and larger muscle groups. Here are some skier approved exercises to help you get ready for this ski season:


The basic squat is a fundamental functional movement. It is the same movement used by Olympic weightlifters fighting for gold, and a 90-year-old grandma who can still go to the bathroom unassisted. It also utilizes the same muscles used by cross country skiers. 

  1. Start with feet shoulder-width apart. Toes should slightly face outward. 
  2. Slowly send your hips back while bending at the knees, like sitting on a chair.
  3. Look straight in front of you and try to keep your back straight and shoulders up the entire time. 
  4. Stop when the crease of your hips are level with the crease of your knees. (About 90 degrees).
  5. Your knees should be directly above but not in front of your toes.

For added resistance: wrap the band around legs right above the knee.

Glute Bridge

This movement is excellent for building strong glutes and thighs. It is more commonly done by women, though both men and women can benefit, and more men should take advantage of this exercise.

  1. Lay on your back with your feet hip-width apart near your glutes.
  2. Slowly lift your hips straight up and hold for a few seconds before releasing down.

For added resistance: wrap the band around legs at mid-thigh. Raise hips, open knees while fighting the band, then bring knees back together and lower glutes to the floor.

Outer Thigh Extensions

This is a simple exercise that works the hips and thighs for stronger joints and better protection. 

  1. Begin by laying on your left side with the band wrapped around both ankles.
  2. Slowly lift your right leg. Keep both legs straight. You should feel the tension in your hip and inner thighs.
  3. Hold for a moment, release down, and repeat several reps before switching sides and working your left leg.


The standard thruster is a favorite among weight lifters and endurance athletes alike because of its ability to work the entire body.

  1. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold a weight at shoulder height (barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell, or stand on a long resistance band).
  3. Go down into a squat position. When standing up, the force should be coming from your hips to fight the resistance. 
  4. As your hips open, thrust the weight or band overhead. Make sure to keep your back tight.
  5. Gently drop the weight to your shoulder and repeat.

For added resistance: wrap the band around legs right above the knee.

Strong or sexy?

Skiing is extremely fun and thrilling, but it can also be strenuous if your body is not used to such activity. Skiing is a real-life application for what we practice at the gym or during our workout sessions. When you plummet at 20mph, would you rather have thighs strong enough to support you or a booty that turns heads? Luckily with these 5 movements, you don’t have to choose. Why not save this list for your next workout sesh? And see you this ski season!

About The Author

Reese Brown

Reese Brown is Executive Director of U.S./Canadian trade group Cross Country Ski Areas Association, and a snow sports photographer. He has worked in the snow sports industry since 1981 as a coach, event manager, promotional marketer and in project-based strategic development. Considered an industry expert and insider, Brown operates internationally to support and promote the sport of cross country skiing, growing public awareness and participation.


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