Shoulder Exercises for Skiing

shoulder press

Shoulder exercises to ski down a mountain - really? Helping with your balance as well as co-ordination, building strength and stamina for your shoulders and surrounding muscles is also vital to support your head!

You probably didn't realise but shoulder exercises are more important than you may think for your winter sports - whatever you choose to do.

Why Work My Shoulders?

Strong shoulders will help considerably with winter sports, particularly cross country skiing obviously. But more than that the muscles around your shoulders are engaged throughout the day when you're on the slopes.

A long day on the slopes places huge demands on the body and fatigue is a factor in the vast majority of winter sports injuries, so strengthening the upper body makes sense.

What Shoulder Exercises Are There?

You can choose a from a range of shoulder exercises to work the anterior, posterior muscles of the shoulders. From shoulder press through to isolating muscles using side and front lateral raises. See below for more.

As well as different plate loaded machines you can also use barbells, dumbbells, cables and body weight exercises available through suspension trainers. Free weights are the preferred option due to the need for balance and control of the weight helping with your strength.

Using free weights like barbells and dumbbells also, importantly, allows the arms to move naturally, through their normal plane of motion. It also ensures that all the peripheral muscles are engaged.

Overhead / Shoulder Press

Don't use too much weight, and aim for 10-12 reps. If you find your upper body is swaying around, or you are bending your low back too much, then reduce the weight.

Sit upright with your back supported, in both hands hold the dumbbells, with the palm of your hand facing forwards, at shoulder height and smoothly push both weights above your hand. Then lower under control. 3 sets of 10-12 reps with increasing weight.


Go easy with these if you are not used to them, or you'll be feeling sore the next day.

Start by just doing a few (5 or 6) and gradually increase the quantity with each workout. Make sure you go all the way down so your shoulder gets a complete workout. By the time you can do three sets of 12, you will have dramatically increased your strength.

Front / Lateral Raises

Back to dumbbells and the front and lateral raises are excellent for building endurance.

These should be done with a light weight to prevent arching of the back and swinging as you try to get the weight up to shoulder height. Aim to do between 12 and 16 reps of each and don't go higher than shoulders - otherwise you then start using different muscles.

In Summary

The shoulders are a very isolated area of the body so learn how our fitness programs can provide you with an all over body workout.


By Will Smith