The weather is getting cold and snow is accumulating on the mountains. For winter sports enthusiasts, this means downhill skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, snowshoeing and sledding is in our near future!    

Since winter sports are such a blast, many of us forget that these are intense activities requiring muscle strength and endurance, cardiovascular fitness, power, flexibility, balance, mobility, coordination and agility. All the impact, twisting, jumping, and forces our bodies are having to absorb that we haven’t done for months, can lead to aches, pains and injuries if you’re not prepared.

When designing a winter sports conditioning program, you will want to include the fitness components below:

After a light warm-up, do these exercises below 2-3x per week on alternating days. Do each of the five exercises with a short 30 second break in between. It will only take you about 10 minutes, but it should be a fast-paced, intense workout so, make it count. As you get stronger, increase to 2 sets for a short, but intense 20-minute workout. Please feel free to omit or modify any of the movements by removing any jumping or movement patterns that do not feel comfortable to you. Finish with some stretching including the Hip/Back stretch below.   

Cardio-Vascular Conditioning & Agility:

Lateral jumps

Stand on one side of a step or box. Now jump (or step) over the step, side to side for 30-90 seconds. You can perform one-legged or two-legged jumps or a combination of both.  

Square agility drill

Position 4 cones or props in a square about 10-20 feet between each. Now quickly shuffle laterally to the outside of one cone, then run forward to the next cone, then laterally shuffle to the next cone and finally back shuffle to the remaining cone. Try to go as fast as you possibly can. Continue for 30-90 seconds in one direction. Rest and repeat going the opposite way.


Lower Body Muscle Strength and Endurance:

Explosive squats

Position your feet about hip or shoulder width apart. Keep your knees caps facing forward and your body weight equally distributed on all 4 corners of your feet. Now slowly squat down until your upper thighs are parallel to the floor and then quickly explode upwards jumping into the air. Upon landing be sure to bend your knees to assist in the absorption of impact. If you have access to a BOSU Trainer, try this exercise using the BOSU for a more advanced version. Continue for 30-90 seconds.

Power lunges

Start with one foot in front of the other in a staggered lunge stance. Now quickly jump upwards, unloading and switching feet back into a lunge position with the opposite leg in front. Do this, alternating leg positions, for 30-90 seconds.

Core Conditioning: 


Lie on your stomach propped up onto your elbows.  Position your elbows so that they are underneath your shoulders. Now lift your body up so your weight is completely supported on your elbows and toes.  Keep your abdominals contracted and your back in a neutral position and remember to breathe comfortably. Hold for 30-90 seconds.


Hips and back:

Lie on your back close to a wall. Start with both legs straight up against the wall and your hips as close to the wall as possible. Now slowly let both legs fall to one side. Bend the bottom leg and keep the top leg straight. Try to feel this stretch through your hips and lightly through your back. 


Participate in Yoga 1-2x/week to improve your flexibility and your performance in winter sports.

No longer will you be forced to hold up the rear and say good-bye to all those post-ski aches and pains. This year you’re setting the pace – let’s just see if your friends can keep up to you!

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at

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