HIIT Exercises To Prep Your Body For Winter Sports

cross country skier

Alyssa Bialowas

alpine skierAs an avid snowboarder and former competitive hockey player, winter sports have always been a significant part of my life. If you’re a big fan of winter sports too, you’re likely aware of the toll they can take on your body, not to mention how important it is to prep your body to avoid injuries. Luckily, there are a number of HIIT exercises that can help you take your winter sports to new heights, while keeping your body safe from injury.

While these 4 winter sports use the entire body, each of them requires the bulk of your strength to come from one specific body part more so than the rest. HIIT builds strength and muscle, improves endurance, and is one of the best ways to challenge your body, which makes it ideal for prepping your body for intensive activities. Here’s a breakdown of how to get your body ready for 4 of the most popular (and demanding) winter sports.


Snowboarding works your entire body and requires coordination, strength and control. Due to the strong concentration on balance and overall strength, it’s beneficial to focus on your core when prepping your body for snowboarding. Try a 25 minute HIIT core exercise circuit incorporating mountain climbers, bicycle crunches, forearm plank, stability ball knee tucks, and burpees. Do each exercise for 30 seconds with a 10 second rest in between. Repeat 8 times.

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Downhill Skiing

Downhill skiing requires a lot of quad strength to get your body into shape and decrease your chance of injury. Since many injuries in downhill skiing are due to falls on the slopes, strengthening your quads is crucial. Set your interval timer to 50 seconds work, 10 seconds rest and repeat this circuit three times. First up, 2 lunge jumps with 2 jump squats, next, alternating side lunges with weights (your weight choice), then laterals, and finally weighted walking lunges (again, with a weight of your choice).

Cross Country Skiing

Although cross-country skiing requires strong legs, it is even more important to prep your upper body for this winter sport. To use the poles and maneuver yourself effectively, your arms, back, chest and shoulders need to be prepared. Try the following circuit to strengthen and prepare your upper body for cross-country skiing. Push-ups (15 reps), 10-second rest, overhead press (12 reps), 10-second rest, tricep dips (15 reps), 10-second rest, reverse fly (12 reps), one-minute rest, and repeat the circuit 5 times.

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With fast-paced skating, dekes and shooting/puck handling, hockey requires you to have a powerhouse upper and lower body, so a combination of HIIT exercises works best for hockey prep. Combine leg exercises like squats, lunges and step ups, with upper body exercises like rows, push-ups, and bench presses. Perform each exercise for 20 seconds, with 10 seconds rest in between and repeat the circuit 3 times. Along with strengthening your body, HIIT also builds endurance, which is important for a fast-paced game such as hockey.

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