3 Weeks to Ski: Week 1 – From Couch Potato to the Slopes in 3 Weeks

Have a ski trip planned, but haven’t gotten back in shape yet? Here’s a 3 week plan to get you from the couch to the slopes! Start now so you can truly enjoy your upcoming vacation.

At my gym we get a call like this about this time every year: “Hey, my buddies and I have our first ski trip of the year in three weeks and I want to be in the best shape possible for it, what can I do?”

At my gym we get a call like this about this time every year: “Hey, my buddies and I have our first ski trip of the year in three weeks and I want to be in the best shape possible for it, what can I do?”

This usually comes right around the New Year and a few exploratory questions lead us to the understanding that our caller is not in the best shape of his life. “You know, I hit the gym every few days. I bench, I do some curls, I do some pull downs, I’m in pretty good shape, I just want to beat my friends down the slope.”

From that information we can deduce our caller – who we’ll call David from now on (names have been changed to protect the weak and out-of-shape) – is completely out of shape and doesn’t really do much of anything when he actually steps foot into his gym, which probably is a lot less and a lot longer ago than he’s letting on.

Not a problem! I’ve got a great exercise programmer right at my disposal in my good friend and business partner Eric Malzone. I’ve asked Eric to come up with the best three-week program he can to get somebody from flabby to ski fit. Now obviously a period of time longer than three weeks would be more ideal, but these are the circumstances we coaches have to work with all the time.

Eric broke the training up into three, one-week cycles. The first cycle will work mostly on general fitness and mobility, the second on more sport specific training and mobility, and the third week will replicate the experience of the day on the mountain.


Sit Ups
Box Jumps (any height Dave is comfortable with)

First it’s 50 sit ups, then 50 box jumps, then 40 sit ups, and then 40 box jumps until the end.

Rest Day

AMRAP 5 – Heel Taps (AMRAP stands for “As Many Reps As Possible”)

3 Minutes Rest
AMRAP 3 – Medicine Ball Side Lunges

2 Minutes Rest
AMRAP 1 – Burpees

An “AMRAP 5 – Heel Taps” means you want to do as many heel taps as you can in 5 minutes. On a heel tap, stand up on a low box and with one leg hanging off of the box, lower yourself down until your heel touches the floor and then push yourself back to a standing position with the leg that’s still on the box.

Heel Taps

Medicine Ball Side Lunges – Don’t have a medicine ball? Substitute a rock, a gallon of water, or even a heavy book. Check the photo of Eric performing a medicine ball side lunge.

“AMRAP 1 – Burpees” means complete as many burpees as possible in 1 minute.

Rest Day


3 Rounds
1 Minute – 10 dips and then for the remainder of the minute do as many burpees as possible.

1 Minute Rest

Dips can be performed by pushing furniture together (chairs, end tables, etc.) if no dip bars are available.

8 Rounds
20 Medicine Ball V-Twists
1 Min Speed Skaters

1 Minute Rest

Medicine Ball V-Twists are demonstrated in these photos. Use a ball somewhere between 10 – 20 pounds. Tap the ball to the ground, alternating sides. Each tap counts as one.

“Speed Skaters” are just like they sound: for 60 seconds you get to do your best at beating Apollo Ono in your living room. Keep your level low and push back and forth out of each leg. Socks help with movement immensely.

Watch Football (this is very important, it’s the playoffs)

Week 1’s mobility work is to spend time rolling out on a foam roller. Hamstrings, quads, glutes and Dave’s low back should be the areas of focus.

Eric wants to have our client doing 4 workouts per week until his trip as well as minimum of an hour of mobility work – stretching and joint mobilization – for injury prevention. We’re banking on the fact Dave has access to a gym, but we have also made the workouts as “at-home-friendly” as possible with substitutions listed.

The goal of Week 1 is not to throw David down a flight of stairs, so to speak, and leave him ruined and over-trained. The goal of Week 1 is to reawaken some dormant muscle groups, to get Dave into the swing of working out again, and to begin to lay down as much of a base as we can in the short time we have.

Keep going with Week 2 of 3 Weeks to Ski!

Keep going with Week 3 of 3 Weeks to Ski!

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