Hamstring & Calf Muscle Exercises for Skiing


Vitally important given the fact your legs are supporting your body weight and you are asking an awful lot of them as you come down the slope (in whatever fashion you choose!). Putting 10 - 12 weeks of strength work in will see your ski holiday take on a whole new meaning.

Before embarking on a ski holiday, the backs of your legs (hamstrings and calves) will need to be strengthened in order to prepare you for the bumps, crouches and moguls of the slopes.

Easy to Forget

Because they aren't 'sexy' muscles, and we can't really see them, many people forget to work their calves and hamstrings, but they are in fact crucial for winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding.

Your calves are in constant use, and can take a real pounding in ski or board boots, especially when you consider the rough terrain you'll often have to negotiate.

Similarly, although you may not be able to see them, your hamstrings are essential for controlling your movement on a board or skis.


The best all-round exercise for your legs by a country mile. They will work the hamstrings and calves, as well as other crucial muscles in the front of the thighs and the butt.

Start with an easy weight if you are unfamiliar with this exercise, aiming to do three sets of 12 - 15 reps. Your goal is to build endurance rather than pure strength.

Simply, place the bar across your shoulders, from a standing position, bend your knees and slowly lower your body keeping your back as straight as possible, down to where your knee makes a 90 degree angle, then push back to standing. Don't bounce and don't do too heavy weights to start with.

If you are a complete beginner, you can also hold a dumbell in each hand as your weight.

Hamstring Curls

This exercise targets the hamstrings directly, and depending on the machine can be done standing, seated, or lying facedown.

For the most common way, lie down on the bench and put your legs beneath the grip. Then slowly contract your legs until you get a 90 degree angle, hold then relesae slowly.

Calf Raises

There's only one exercise you need have - the calf raise.

Done either standing or seated, and are best done as an endurance exercise. Aim for a lower weight, but do high reps - 16 or 20 reps is good for this muscle. Simply raise your calves up from the floor then at the top, tighten and then slowly back to start position.

In Summary

Now you know what's good for your legs - either check out our fitness programs or see some more exercises that will help you to stay top of your game.

By Will Smith



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