With ski season on the horizon, it’s time to get those ski/snowboard/nordic legs ready—try these exercises to improve your cardio strength, stamina, agility, and balance before the snow flies.


High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

If your heart and lungs are strong after an active summer, add HIIT to your workouts, which will quickly boost your cardio strength and—for an added bonus—scorch body fat. 

First, warm up for five minutes with light cardio and stretching. Start your stopwatch and pedal a stationary bike with all-out intensity for 20 seconds, followed by ten seconds of rest, for eight intervals. (This sequence is known as the Tabata Protocol.) Afterward, cool down for two minutes.


Agility Dot Drill

Staying centered and being quick on your feet is critical when speeding downhill on uneven terrain with variable conditions. The Agility Dot Drill is great for strength and balance, gets the heart pumping, and has a limitless variety of patterns to keep it challenging.

Make a square on your floor using tape or chalk by marking four dots about 24” apart from each other. Hop with both legs, eventually progressing to one leg at a time. Remember to start slowly and build your speed. Always face your body and toes straight ahead and stay light on your feet. Try to land directly on the dots each time.

Starting on the dot in the back right corner, hop diagonally forward to the left corner. Hop to the right, then hop diagonally back to the left corner. Hop to the right, returning to the start position. Repeat this 20 times, then switch directions by starting on the back left dot and hopping diagonally forward to the right. Build up to three sets in each direction.


Lunging with Rotation

Lunging with a rotation will challenge the muscular endurance of both your larger lower body muscles as well as your smaller stabilizers—all while improving balance.

Lunge forward onto your right foot, creating a 90-degree bend in both knees. Keep the right knee behind your toes and directly above the foot. Keep the left knee one inch off the floor. Holding your chest up and arms straight out in front of you, rotate your arms, head, and shoulders to the right, then to the left, back to center, and finally pull your leg back into a standing position. Repeat on the same leg a dozen times, then switch to lunging the left leg forward. Work up to three sets. (Be sure not to bend the upper body forward or over-rotate the arms.)


Jackie Rainford Corcoran is a personal trainer at the Ridge.