Fit to Play & Ski

Ski season has arrived. . .but it’s not too late for a little fitness and condition to help prepare you for challenging the BC trails and slopes this winter. We have provided you with some sport specific preparations for the upcoming ski and snowboard season.

Hill sprints, hopping and bounding are sport specific drills that will help prepare you for the ski and snowboard season. Hill sprints work on energy systems and power. Hopping and bounding are low to medium intensity plyometric drills that will prepare your body for the dynamic and eccentric movements needed for optimal performance and safety this season. These exercises should be utilized in conjunction with a comprehensive resistance training program in which athletes have achieved high levels of dynamic strength.The following guidelines and precautions will reduce the risk of a training injury:

Guidelines and Precautions

Equipment Check: You will need a pair of running shoes that have a non-slip sole, good shock absorption, strong medial arch support and a strong heel counter. Consider wearing high tops (if ankle problems).

Surface Check: Perform the jumps on a surface that is firm and forgiving like grass, dirt field, rubber mat or sprung gym floor.

Posture Check: Proper technique during the drills must be adhered to minimize the risk of injury. Your center of gravity should be maintained over your base of support with your shoulders in line with your knees and your knee in line with your 2nd toe.

Start Gradually and Build Slowly: Incorporate hill sprints and hopping and bounding drills into your routine once per week and then progress to 2 times per week with several days off in between. Never train on consecutive days. To progress, follow the rules of easy to hard and simple to complex. Factors that affect the intensity (and level of difficulty) of lower body hopping and bounding drills include: points of contact (single leg vs. double leg); speed; height of jump; and weight of participant.

Special Considerations: Heavier athletes should initially decrease volume and amplitude of the drills.As well if you have spinal, knee or foot alignment problems or a history of injuries see your physician or physiotherapist before commencing this or any other training program.

Always Warm-Up: A comprehensive set of warm-up drills must be performed before initiating hopping and bounding training. The specific warm up will consist of low-intensity dynamic movements.



Purpose: Dynamic hip and leg warm-up and good central nervous system warm-up.

Equipment: A smooth grass or dirt surface or gym floor.

How to Do It: Jump in place as follows: 3 x 20 jumps at personal rhythm and as fast as possible

Precautions: Start easy and maintain good posture and knee alignment.

Progressive Power Jumps

Purpose: Dynamic warm up for the legs and hips prior to hopping and bounding.

Equipment: A smooth grass or dirt surface or gym floor.

How to Do It: 3 sets of 3 jumps in place each at 40 % maximum height, at 60 % maximum height and at 80  % maximum height.

Precautions: Proper technique will involve using the momentum of your hands to assist in your upward jumping movement. Hands start at hips and finish at cheek level. Shoulders over knee on landing. Land on the balls of your feet and absorb shock with the ankle, knee and hip joints.


Now it’s time to get a little more aggressive. . .

Below are some Hopping & Bounding routines for different levels of ability and fitness. Choose the jump workout A, B or C that best suits your fitness level.Start with level A and see how you feel two days later before advancing too quickly.

Workout "A" (The Beginner)

Hill Sprints and Hops

This workout consists of four different exercises: forward sprints, backward sprints, backward hops – double leg, and backward hops – single leg


  Forward Sprints

Purpose: To improve strength and power to the legs and hips.

Equipment: Choose a moderate hill (not too steep), about 40-50 metres long, smooth, grassy or soft dirt surface will be most forgiving.

How to Do It: Stand tall, keeping hips high and work the arms hard, keeping elbows at 90 degrees. Between repetitions walk down the hill backward. Start with 2 sets of 2 (15-second sprints) and increase to 2 sets of 3 (20-30 second sprints).

Precautions:If this is a new activity start slowly.

Backward Sprints

Purpose: To improve strength and power to the legs and hips.

Equipment:  As above.

How to Do It: Do the same workouts as the forward sprints, only this time run backwards. Start in a high position and as power improves gradually lower your body position to put more strain on the thighs and hips.

Precautions: Be sure to peek every few steps to avoid tripping.

Double Leg Backward Hops

Purpose: This exercise uses muscles very similar to skiing.

Equipment: As above.

How to Do It: Proper technique requires good alignment with shoulders over the knees and knees over the feet while landing. Don’t let the knees bend to more than 90 degrees. Do repeats of 3 hops backward up the hill, then perform 2 backward walking steps in a low position. Start with 2 x 2 reps of 20 seconds each and as your fitness improves, increase the number of reps and increase the duration of the reps to 45 seconds.

Precautions: Start easy and increase the `power of your jumps gradually.

Single Leg Diagonal Hops

Purpose: To increase sport specific leg and hip strength and power.

Equipment: As above

How to Do It: On one leg, explode backwards diagonally (45 degrees), land on the opposite leg and balance for 2 seconds in a low position. (Hopping backwards at a 45 degrees angle uses a lateral push-off similar to making a turn in skiing.) Attempt 2-3 sets of 5-10 hops per leg.

Precautions: As above and remember to walk backwards down the hill between reps.


Workout "B" (The Intermediate)


Double Leg Forward Jumps

Purpose: As above

Equipment: As above

How to Do It: Jump forward and land on both feet, recover to ski specific position with thumbs-up, head-up and hips-up and hold for 2 secs., repeat 5-10 reps, REST 1 min. between repetitions and 3 min. between sets. Attempt 3-4 sets.

Precautions: Don't allow knees more than 90 degrees flexion.

  Single Leg Alternating Jumps

Purpose: Improve strength and power in the legs and improves balance and coordination

Equipment: Smooth level surface such as grass or dirt.

How to Do It: Explode off of the takeoff foot, stretch long and land on the balls of the feet, settle deep in the knees, touching both hands down for 2 secs. Repeat 5-10 reps, REST 1 min. between repetitions, 3 min. between sets. Attempt 3-4 sets.

Precautions:Land softly absorbing with all three joints of ankle, knee and hip.

Single Leg Lateral Jumps

Purpose: As above


How to Do It: Explode high and long to one side, recover to ski position (thumbs-up, hips-up and eyes-ahead.) After each jump hold for 2 secs. Repeat 5-10 reps, REST 30 secs. between repetitions and 3 min. between sets. Attempt 3 – 4 sets.

Precautions: Land softly absorbing with all three joints of ankle, knee and hip.


 Training Tip:

If you have sore knees or any other problems that make landing from the jumps uncomfortable then try the same routine in the shallow end of a swimming pool. Or, you can find a hill in your neighbourhood and try the routine on an uphill slant. Both suggestions provide a softer landing.

Workout "C" (Advanced)

Energy System Hopping Routines

Val D’Isere Workout

  1. Do your dynamic warm up
  2. 5 quick single leg hops to the right
  3. 5 quick single leg hops to the left
  4. 5 power jumps (vertical)
  5. 15 seconds tuck DBL leg
  6. 10 speed jumps
  7. 5 sec. tuck Right leg
  8. 5 sec tuck Left leg
  9. 10 power jumps>
  10. 10 sec tuck DBL leg
  11. Repeat 2-5 x 30- 90 seconds with rest in between of 3 minutes.

Cortina Workout

  1. Do your dynamic warm up
  2. 10 fast hops Right push off Left leg
  3. 10 fast hops Left push off Right leg
  4. 5 vertical jumps (power)
  5. 20 stride lunges
  6. 15 metres backwards run
  7. 10 fast hops 45 deg R- push off L leg
  8. 10 fast hops 45 deg L-push off R leg
  9. 10 jumps continuous- long-high-long-high
  10. 20 stride lunges
  11. 15 metres backwards run
  12. Repeat the Routine 2-5 x 1-2 minutes with rest of 3 min between.

Recover Training Tips (for post-workout)

Allow adequate rest (2-3 days) between session of sprints and hops to give the body’s tissues recovery time and for adaptive changes to occur.

Delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) is a normal adaptive response to training and is part of the adaptation process. Residual muscle tension (RMT) is an after-effect of contraction and may represent a form of biomechanical fatigue.

Drink plenty of water before, during and after training sessions.

Keep moving between exercises. After your training session do a slow jog or fast walk for 10 minutes to clear the lactic acid and other chemicals from your fatigued muscles. This active form of recovery is recommended because it prevents cross bridges from being formed and helps remove lactic acid.

Use contrast baths or showers to promote recovery of the soft tissue. Two minutes cold, followed by 30 seconds hot repeated 5 times seems to work well.


Carefully applied hill sprints and hopping and bounding drills are safe and effective ways to sport specifically train. Start slowly, allow plenty of rest between sessions, and stop immediately if you feel pain or instability in your joints.These workouts should not be considered an end in itself, but part of an overall program that includes resistance training, stretching and aerobic conditioning.

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