How To Do The Ski Squat Lift Properly

The ski squat lift exercise is a hybrid of the ski squat and the leg lift which aims to strengthen and tone your gluteal muscles, alongside few other lower body muscles.

Since it involves lifting your leg behind your body, you cannot do it against a wall like you would the standard ski squat.

Here are more details on how to do it:

  • Stand upright with your feet close to each other. Your arms should hang by your side.
  • Tighten your core and bend your knees to lower your hips towards the ground. How far you should lower your hips depends on your knee mobility, but ideally your hips should be lower than knee height at the bottom of the position.
  • You can bend forward slightly for balance, but make sure your back remains straight the entire time.
  • As you lower, lift your hands upward and forward until they are horizontal.
  • Begin to extend your legs to get back to the starting position but just before you lean back to straighten your body, lift your right leg and extend it behind your body.
  • Your body should form a straight line from your head through your back to your extended leg.
  • Hold for two seconds and lower the leg to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat the steps and switch to the other leg in the next rep.
  • Do as many reps as you wish, switching legs with every rep.

WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE SKI SQUAT LIFT WORK?

QUADRICEPS

The ski squat lift is designed to focus on your quadriceps most.

This is made possible by the fact that you use a narrow stance, which recruits your quads more unlike a wide stance which would place emphasis on your glutes.

GLUTES

Your glutes help extend your hips as you lower you body towards the ground and stretch your leg backwards.

Other muscles involved in this movement are the hamstrings, calves and core.

BENEFITS OF THE SKI SQUAT LIFT

STRONGER LOWER BODY MUSCLES

The ski squat lift is one of the best ways to work all the major muscle groups in your lower body at once.

Whether you are toning up or strength training, the ski squat does a commendable job at making your lower body muscles stronger, which then improves your ability to do other strengthening exercises.

NO EQUIPMENT NEEDED

Like the standard squat, this exercise only uses your bodyweight to work your muscles which means you can do it anywhere you wish to do it, any time.

CORE CONDITIONING

Bodyweight squats like the ski squat lift offer enough core activation to strengthen both your spine and lower back.

Bracing your core helps both with providing stability to your body so you don’t fall during the two phases of the movement, and toning your midsection to give you well-defined abs.

Killing two birds with one stone, if you will.

BETTER BALANCE AND COORDINATION

When done correctly (with a tight core), this exercise can help improve your balance and coordination.

During the lift, your raised leg must be in the same line with your back and neck while your entire bodyweight shifts to the other leg.

This challenges your balance by forcing your muscles to work hard to keep your body stable and solid.

BETTER POSTURE

Lower back pain is very closely associated with poor posture.

When your back is rounded, your lower back and spine are forced to bear more weight that they can carry, causing strain in the lower part of your back.

Research suggests that doing squats regularly helps alleviate back pain by improving your posture.

ALTERNATIVES TO THE SKI SQUAT LIFT

WALKING LUNGE

The walking lunge helps boost your lower body and core strength by training your quads, hamstrings, glutes and core muscles.

It’s just like a lunge, but it’s not stationary; you perform it by walking while in the lunge position.

Steps:

  • Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Place your hands at your hips, or by your sides if you are holding dumbbells.
  • Step your right foot forward and lower your body until the knee is at 90 degrees. Your rear shin should be parallel to the ground.
  • Pause for a second before taking a step forward with your left foot so that the right foot becomes the rear foot and the left foot the front one.
  • Alternate the sides while lunging forward until you complete the desired number of reps.

STEP-UP

While it doesn’t look one bit like the ski squat lift, the step-up works similar muscles, which makes  it a worthy alternative to add to the list of your lower body exercise options.

Steps:

  • Find a step, box or any other solid surface that is knee-high.
  • Put one foot on the step and then step up on it. Your knee should be aligned with your ankle so that it does not collapse inward.
  • When you step the foot up, drive through your heel as you push your other leg up so that it comes up to the same level as your hip.
  • Step down then up again with your other foot.
  • Repeat as many times as you want.

SKI SQUAT LIFT MISTAKES TO AVOID

NOT TIGHTENING YOUR CORE

Keep your core tight from the squat phase in the beginning to the leg lift when you’re completing the movement.

This will help keep you stable as you lean forward during the squat and lift one leg off the floor , so that you don’t fall forward.

LOOKING UP DURING THE LIFT

You are allowed to look up to the front of your body as you lower your body into the squat, but don’t do that in the leg lift portion.

Keep your gaze fixed on the ground as you lift your leg to avoid straining your neck muscles, which puts you at risk of injury.

USING A WIDE STANCE

The ski squat is a narrow-stance squat since it primarily targets your quadriceps. To get the most out of the squat portion, keep a narrow stance to maintain most of the focus on your quads.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Strengthening and toning your lower body can be a pain, but it doesn’t have to be when there exists simple exercises like the ski squat lift to help you achieve your fitness goals without you having to lift heavy weights.

Remember to consult your doctor if you are weak in any part of your lower body before trying any of the exercises in here.