How to Prep for Winter Sports (prevent injury, stay out longer, and have more fun)

How to Prep for Winter Sports with Dr. James Bradley

Brace Yourselves…Winter is Here! 

The leaves have fallen and there is snow in the mountains.  If you’re like me, this means that you are starting to get antsy about making those first turns in some fresh powder.  Besides getting our skis and snowboards waxed and ready, what can we do to physical prep for the long ski season that is approaching so that we can maximize our time on the slopes?

So it’s our first day on the slopes and we’re excited. We woke up at 6 am…on a weekend. Just so that we can get that first chair and hit the untouched powder that dumped over night. It’s a blue bird day and you’re ready shred that pow until ski patrol tells you to go home, except after a few runs you’re physically exhausted.  Sound familiar? 

Legs for days


With about a month to go, now is the time to start training and getting our ski legs back. If you ski or snowboard then you know how demanding skiing is on your lower body. Below is two variations of a lower body circuit you can do to begin building your stamina and balance.


Ski focused Exercises

  1. Air squats – 5 x 10
  2. Lunges – 5 x 10
  3. Step Ups – 5 x 10
  4. Wall Sits – 5 x 30 seconds
  5. Single Leg Stand – 5 x 30 seconds


Snowboard focused Exercises

  1. Air Squats – 5 x 10
  2. Glute Bridges – 5 x 10
  3. Side Lunges – 5 x 10
  4. Goblet Squats – 5 x 10
  5. Dead Lifts – 5 x 10


If any of these exercises are too difficult, then lower the amount of reps/time. If at any point you feel pain during these exercises then stop.


Your Core keeps Score


Not only does rippin’ down the mountain take a toll on our legs, but all of the carving and twisting down black diamonds requires an enormous amount of core strength and stability. Whether you ski or snowboard, the six exercises below are essential to help build a strong and stable core.


  1. Deadbug – 3 x 10
  2. Bird Dog – 3 x 10
  3. Planks – 3 x 30 seconds
  4. Side Plank – 3 x 30 seconds
  5. McGill Sit Up – 3 x 10
  6. Banded/Cable twists – 3 x 10


If any of these exercises are too difficult, then lower the amount of reps/time. If at any point you feel pain during these exercises then stop.


Discover how to Recover


So you’re getting back in shape and ready to hit the slopes. After completing these different circuits you might notice a little bit of soreness in your legs or abs, which is completely normal and to be expected. Recovery is just as important as exercise. So start eating well, increase your water intake, and get adequate sleep!


  1. Eat the rainbow. In order to supplement your body with essential vitamins and minerals needed for recovery but without putting too much thought into meal prep, make an effort to eat the rainbow (not skittles). This will look like a veggie stir-fry, a salad, or smoothie and will include fruits and veggies of all colors!
  2. Increase your protein intake.  You’ve begun exercising and your body is working harder. Add an extra piece of meat, a protein shake, or if you’re vegetarian, some soy, to increase your total protein intake for the day. This will help with recovery and make sure you get those gains!
  3. Stay Hydrated.  Drink water or eat foods containing water.  Our bodies are primarily water and a healthy hydrated body will help facilitate a quicker and more efficient recovery.
  4. Sleep Well.  Sleep is restorative. We can’t live without it.  Healthy sleep habits can help improve quality and help you obtain the most restorative benefit!

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