Strong Ski Legs with Shuffle Jumps

Explosive, lateral jumps, for 1-2 minutes are a great exercise for building power-endurance in the legs. Essential for alpine skiers, this is also useful for tele skiers and for building a strength base for skate skiers.

How It Helps Your Skiing

This exercise is really brutal, but it's amazing. It consists of repeated, lateral, explosive jumps done for about one to two minutes. Short of buying a sophisticated machine, this is as close as you'll get to skiing while in your living room or gym. The explosive lateral jumps engage muscles very similar to what you use in a hard turn. By repeating in one direction without crossing feet, you'll improve your foot coordination. And by going for a full minute or more, you'll build that power-endurance (see below for a definition) you need for a hard run on a steep slope or in the bumps. Finally, as the burn builds your legs will go a little silly. Concentrating on maintaining form through the burn is great mental training for doing the same while skiing.

Phil Mahre, possibly the greatest American skier ever, decided to get back into ski racing in 2006/2007 in his late 40s. His goal is to become national champion again. Phil has never been a weight lifter, and his leg-strengthening routine involves a similar (but actually easier) exercise as one of his main training exercises. If you do this a couple of times a week for a couple of months before the ski season, you'll see a huge difference. If you're only able to ski on weekends, this can be a great Wednesday exercise during the ski season.


It's essential that you warm up before doing this exercise. You could run for 5 to 10 minutes, or do some exercises like jumping jacks, mountain climbers, jump rope and things like that for five minutes. You should be breaking a light sweat before you start though, because this is an intense exercise.

You can do shuffle jumps pretty much anywhere with a nice three- to four-jump open space (about 15-20 feet / 5-6 meters), but your knees and ankles will probably thank you if you find a relatively flat, padded surface (carpet, lawn, gym mat). It helps to have a partner call out the time because anything beyond about 40