Someone skiing moguls in a light jacket with a helmet on the left. On the right, a lady in black top and black tights doing a squat at the bottom of the motion.

Thigh and Calf Exercises for Mogul Skiers

Reduce leg fatigue this ski season with these exercises for mogul skiers.

Preparing the muscles used during challenging mogul runs is critical for those who enjoy skiing the bumps. We have four exercises for mogul skiers in this article.

It’s horrible when you ski moguls and your muscles are not prepared. There’s nothing quite like the pain of feeling muscle fatigue and cramps in your leg muscles while skiing down a run with moguls.

Each bump becomes a struggle as your muscles scream for relief. Every bump reminds you of the burn in your lower thighs and calves. The pain and discomfort can be overwhelming, forcing you to take breaks or making it difficult to focus on anything except getting down the run. It’s a constant battle between your mind and body, with your mind urging you to push through the pain and your body begging you to stop. 

It’s better to prepare for that upcoming mogul run with some exercises you can do at home, the gym in your building, or a public gym.

Here are four exercises that use bodyweight or hand weights to help reduce muscle fatigue while skiing, specifically in moguls.

Disclaimer: These exercises can lead to injury. This advice is intended for someone comfortable and familiar with exercise. Proceed with caution. Work with a trainer or coach if you are not 100% comfortable and informed. We are not liable for any injuries that may result after the attempt of these exercises. Terms of service.

Workout Plan

Before beginning any workout routine, it’s essential to warm up by performing dynamic stretches, and light cardio exercises to increase blood flow and prepare the muscles.

Additionally, divide your 30-minute workout into three sets of 10 minutes each, with a 1-2 minute break between sets. Aim to perform each exercise for 30-60 seconds and repeat each for 2-3 sets.

Jump Squats

Jump squats are a plyometric exercise that targets the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. This will build the explosive power your muscles will need for moguls.

  1. Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lower into a squat position. Put your hands forward for balance and keep your core muscles engaged.
  3. From a mid to low squat, jump up explosively
  4. Land softly back into a squat, and repeat.
  5. Repeat in sets of 10.

Be mindful of how you are landing; do not come down hard on your heels. Make a game of trying to be as explosive as possible on the way up and as controlled and smooth on the way down.

Split Jumps

Split jumps are another plyometric exercise that targets the lower body muscles. This exercise builds strength and is a cardio exercise – perfect for skiers.

  1. Begin by standing with one foot in front of the other in a lunge position.
  2. From there, jump up explosively and switch legs mid-air, landing in a lunge position with the opposite leg forward.
  3. Repeat in sets of 10 or until approaching failure.

Calf Raises

Calf raises are a simple exercise that targets the calf muscles, which are used extensively while skiing moguls. A few sets of these in your workouts before skiing will reduce fatigue on the slopes.

  1. Assume a shoulder-width stance with your toes pointing forward on an exercise or yoga mat or simply on the floor if a mat is unavailable. Ensure that your back is straight, your shoulders are back and down, and your abs are pulled in.
  2. Gradually raise your heels, keeping your knees extended but not locked.
  3. Pause for a second when standing on the tips of your toes. 
  4. Lower your heels to the ground to return to the initial position.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 in sets of 20 or until approaching failure.

Add hand weights in both hands or raise your toes with a hardbound book or flat weight to increase the difficulty as you build muscle and endurance.

Single-Leg Calf Raises

Like calf raises, single-leg calf raises target the calf muscles but also engage the stabilizing muscles in the ankle and foot. 

  1. Assume a shoulder-width stance with your toes pointing forward on an exercise or yoga mat or simply on the floor if a mat is unavailable. Ensure that your back is straight, your shoulders are back and down, and your abs are pulled in.
  2. Lift the foot of the leg you are not working out, so it is off the ground.
  3. Gradually raise your heel, keeping your knees extended but not locked.
  4. Pause for a second when standing on the tips of your toes. 
  5. Lower your heel to the ground to return to the initial position.
  6. Repeat steps 3-5 in sets of 20 or until approaching failure.
  7. Repeat steps 2-6 but raise up the other foot.

To increase the difficulty, place a hand weight in the hand opposite of the leg you are working out.

If you want to further increase the difficulty or struggle with balance, do this exercise on stairs with handrails. Having the front of your foot on the edge of a stair will increase the range of motion.

Resistance Bands and Additional Exercises

Resistance band exercises are a great way to add resistance to bodyweight exercises. Consider incorporating resistance band calf raises and resistance band squats into your routine for added challenge and muscle activation.

Additionally, consider incorporating other lower body exercises such as squats, lunges, and glute bridges into your routine to improve your overall skiing experience.

Rest and Recovery

Rest and recovery days are essential for any workout routine, but they are even more critical when training for a specific sport or activities like skiing moguls.

Targeted calf exercises are great for building strength and endurance in the muscles used during mogul skiing. However, overworking these muscles without proper rest and recovery can lead to injury and hinder your progress towards your skiing goals.

Rest days allow your muscles to recover and repair from the stress and strain of exercise, which helps to prevent muscle fatigue, soreness, and injury. Recovery days also allow your body to replenish energy stores and reduce muscle inflammation.

Recovery days are essential when training for mogul skiing. The constant impact and strain on the calf muscles can lead to cramps, fatigue, and even more severe injuries like sprains or strains. If you don’t allow your body to recover, you might end up feeling more uncomfortable on the hill.

With these exercises and sufficient rest in between, you’ll be best prepared for the moguls.

Preparing for the Season

By incorporating these exercises into your workout routine, you’ll be better prepared for the demands of mogul skiing and reduce muscle fatigue while on the slopes.

Remember to start slowly and gradually increase each exercise’s duration and intensity as you progress.

You should work these into your exercise routine year-round but start them at least 6 weeks before the start of the ski season in your area or prior to a ski trip.

Do not do these exercises the day of or the day before a day on the slopes unless you are professional and skiing nearly every day.

You can avoid the burn on the slopes and ski moguls with more control and have more fun.