The ski squat is a thorough lower body movement that has gained quite a reputation among skiers and snowboarders.
For people who ski and snowboard, winter approaching means time to get in shape in readiness for the snow season.
Heading downhill on snow while shifting your balance and moving your body side to side can be unforgiving to your lower body muscles if you’re unfit.
But the ski squat is not only performed by people who ski and snowboard; it makes for a great lower body strengthening movement for anyone who’s looking to enhance their lower body strength.
There’s a couple other benefits you can enjoy from performing this movement, but the first step to knowing more about it is to learn how to do it first.
Follow these steps to guide you on how to do it correctly:
- Stand with your back to a wall, and press your shoulders and back against it.
- Move your feet about 60 centimetres away from the wall. They should be shoulder-width apart and positioned in a comfortable stance.
- Brace your core by drawing your navel in towards your spine.
- Begin your descent by sliding a few inches down the wall, with your legs and feet in the same position as they were when you were starting.
- Hold this position for 20 seconds before sliding down a few more inches and pausing again.
- Keep sliding until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Get back to the starting position by sliding up the wall while pausing after every few inches.
- Repeat as many times as you desire.
WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE SKI SQUAT WORK?
Since it is a narrow-stance squat, this squat variation works the quadriceps at the front of your thigh most.
But it doesn’t stop at your quads; it also recruits your core, hamstrings, glutes, lower back, erector spinae and shoulders, although to a limited degree.
BENEFITS OF THE SKI SQUAT
REQUIRES NO EQUIPMENT
Like most other squats, the ski squat is a bodyweight exercise that does not require any fitness equipment to perform.
Consider it one of your best options on those days you don’t feel too enthusiastic about going to the gym.
WORKS YOUR CORE
As much as its primary focus is your quads, the ski squat also gives you a proper core workout.
Sliding down a solid surface while holding pauses every few inches requires a lot of stability, and that is where your core comes in.
By tightening it during your workout, you stabilize your lower body and spine, with a bonus of a stronger core.
INCREASES LOWER BODY STRENGTH
Being a primary lower body exercise that works most of the muscles in your lower body, this movement can help you develop more lower body strength which comes in handy when you’re doing pressing and rowing movements.
ALTERNATIVES TO THE SKI SQUAT
STABILITY BALL WALL SQUAT
The stability ball wall squat is almost like the ski squat, except you place a stability ball between you and the wall to give you extra back support.
It relieves some pressure off your knees, which you could find preferable if you have bad knees.
Here are more details on how to do it correctly:
- Stand facing away from a wall, with your back pressed against a stability ball. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart.
- Proceed as you would in a standard squat, by hinging your hips to lower your body into a squat. Do not take your back off the ball.
- Pause at the bottom of the movement for two seconds before moving back up to the starting position.
- As you get stronger, you can hold light dumbbells to increase the challenge.
As you can probably already tell, the glute bridge, unlike the ski squat, focuses on your gluteal muscles.
However it still works your quads, albeit to a lesser extent.
Here’s how to do it properly:
- Lie on the floor facing the ceiling with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent. Keep your arms by your sides and your palms facing the ground.
- Brace your core
- Raise your hips off the ground until your hips, knees and shoulders are in a straight line.
- Squeeze your glutes at the top position for a few seconds before getting back down to the starting position.
SKI SQUAT MISTAKES TO AVOID
NOT TIGHTENING YOUR CORE
The importance of having enough stability during this exercise cannot be overstated.
Your ability to hold pauses as you move down the wall is determined by whether or not your core is tight and activated.
So be sure to keep it nice and tight from the moment you begin the movement to when you get back to the starting position after your reps.
USING A WIDE STANCE
The ski squat aims to place more emphasis on your quads than any other muscle.
Hence, it is imperative that you maintain a narrow stance, otherwise you risk shifting the focus to other muscles.
LETTING YOUR KNEES CAVE IN
Do not let your knees collapse inwards towards the midline as this puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on your knee joints and ligaments.
MOVING TOO FAST
For this movement, you should aim for slower, steadier and more controlled motions that will put your muscles under maximum tension for a better workout.
ROUNDING THE SPINE
Whenever you are performing a squat of any kind, your spine should be in a vertical position. Rounding your spine makes the movement less effective by interrupting the neurological pathways between your legs and brain.
Instead, draw your shoulders downwards and away from your ears to push your chest outwards, which engages your latissimus dorsi muscles and allows you to keep a straight spine.
Admit it – you’re probably already bored to death with that standard squat you do everyday.
So why not switch things up a little bit and try the ski squat instead? Not regrets here, just strong quads, well-defined glutes and a toned core!
All this you can get if you stay consistent with it and maintain the correct form!