Ease Into Shaping Up For Snow Sports With Five Basic Exercises.

This is an archive article reprised from Oct, 2016.

[Editor Note: It’s time to focus on strengthening legs and hips for snow sports.  This year, we are going to offer three “flights” of exercise with increasing challenge and intensity for the same group of muscles. We’ll publish these about two weeks apart, so get started now. We asked Rick Silverman, a physical therapist and ultra marathon athlete from Ipswich, MA, to suggest which exercises to focus on and to demonstrate them for you. Rick is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with an MS in Physical Therapy.  He’s also a 25-year telemark skier, climber and kayaker.  As with all activities like this, you may want to check in with your physician if you have any questions or complications.]

Please don’t start the snow sports season without toning up your muscles.  If you don’t get into shape, you’re inviting strains and sprains at the the very least.  You’ll tire more easily and, at the end of the day, you’ll be risking more serious injury.

Here are five basic, get-started exercises that you can do with minimal time, equipment and space. This exercise series will just focus on hips and legs. There are other resources online for core, lower and mid-back and shoulders and arms. We will add intensity and variation to these basic exercises in a couple of weeks.

Do at least two sets of eight reps of each for starters.

Quad Wall Squats

Either use an exercise ball or just slide up and down a smooth wall.  Squat down so your thighs are 90 degrees to your lower leg, and no further.













Leg Straight Raises

The key with this one is keeping the leg you are raising straight and your lower back flat on the floor. Feel that hamstring! Raise to 45 degrees and down, not letting your heel touch the floor.

legraise_1 legraise_2







Static Lunge

Here’s one that focuses on hips and quads. You can put your back leg on a chair or on the floor.  Great one for balance, too.














Keep your butt off the floor. If you don’t have an exercise ball, use a desk chair with rollers.

hamstring_1 hamstring_2a








Outer Hip Abductors

Tight hips can cause mischief if they are not strong and supple.  These muscles run up to the central back and down to your knees.  If you have back problems, strengthening hips and core might help. This exercise is for the outer hip abductors. We’ll work the other hip muscles in a few weeks. Try to keep your toes pointing straight ahead.  A variation is to lift your leg with toe pointing down and lowering with toe pointing up.  Then reverse the pattern.









In a couple of weeks, Rick will show you how to notch up these exercises to the next level.  Right now, get some of these started.  And Just Do It!













  1. where can I find more like that

    • Michael Maginn says:

      Rick Silverman created two more exercise sets, each with increasing difficulty. Just look under the HEALTH tab, under FITNESS and you will find them. And other articles. Let us know if you can’t find them.

  2. How long should I be able to hold the wall quad squats?

    • Michael Maginn says:

      It’s really a personal metric. Go to where it starts to feel uncomfortable, hold another five secs, and stop. After a while, you will find you are able to hold it longer. That’s a sign of conditioning. Set a personal goal, like 30 seconds or one minute, and work your way there. It’s all focused on how your legs respond.

  3. Squats against a wall are for as long as you can tolerate. It strengthens lower back a well as quads. I use my cell phone timer. I am happy with a 2-3 minute time limit. Nice thing it can be practiced anywhere. When I pump gas I lean against my car door jams and do it waiting for my fill up.

  4. You mentioned in the recent article: “Shape Up 1..” that a follow up would be posted in a couple of weeks. All I can see under the Health/Conditioning tabs are a Shape Up 2 and 3. Are these the recommended progressions you spoke of?

  5. At 74 my knees are shot – what have you got instead of wall squats – they’re not happening for me….? Thanks

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