USA Water Ski & Wake Sports

Fitness - The Pre-Slalom Warm-Up Routine

This article first appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of The Water Skier magazine, the official publication of USA Water Ski & Wake Sports. If you are not a member of USA Water Ski & Wake Sports and you are interested in receiving the quarterly magazine, join now.


Written by Megan Lambert

Pre-Slalom Warm Up Routine“My first few passes are my warm-up.” This used to be my thought process, and I know that I am not the only skier who has driven to the lake and jumped in the water without stretching or completing any sort of warm-up routine.

However, my mentality changed last year when the doctor told me I had injured my back because I had not warmed up prior to a ski set. Now, my thought process has changed to, “Taking five minutes to warm-up is time well-spent to prevent injuries.”

Although there are various approaches, I am going to share with you my methodology for preparing the body to ski.

Elevate Your Heart Rate

The first step is to increase your heart rate. Jogging to the starting dock or performing exercises like jumping jacks stimulates your muscle and nervous systems and increases the temperature of your muscles – which is an important injury-prevention tactic.

Stretch Tight Muscles

The second step is to stretch any muscle groups that feel tight. For example, if my hamstrings feel tight, then I do a hamstring stretch, if my lower back is tight, then I foam roll or stretch my back, if my calves are tight, then I stretch my calves. I am not proposing that you do 20 minutes of static stretching that makes you feel extremely relaxed before you ski; however, I am suggesting that you listen to your body and know when a muscle feels abnormally tight. If that is the case for me, then I will hold a 20-second stretch for the tight muscle group.

Prepare For High Intensity Exercise

The third step is to finish your warm-up with a few dynamic movements that tell your body that you are ready to dominate the slalom course. A few examples of dynamic exercises are lunges, line jumps and inchworms.

Sample Warm-Up Routine

20 jumping jacks

Stretch tight muscles (i.e. hamstrings, lower back, etc.)

20 high knees

20 butt kicks

10 lunges

Megan Lambert, CSCS, can be found working and training this summer at Coble Waterski and Wakeboard Camp in Lillington, N.C.