Fitness and Water-Skiing Workout Exercises

Young man wakeboarding on lake

Water skiing requires strength in the upper body, core and lower body, so your training program should include exercises that work all of these areas of the body to increase your strength on the water. Ideally, you should do these strength-training exercises three days a week on non-consecutive days, as well as aerobic endurance and conditioning training as many days of the week as you can manage.

Upper-Body Exercises

A strong grip on the rope handle is essential for success with water skiing. Additionally, you need significant pulling strength to maintain that strong hold -- meaning you need significant strength in your back as well as stabilization in your shoulders. Pull-ups are an excellent exercise for these purposes, enhancing both grip strength and upper-body strength. Dips and lat pulldown exercises are great too. Ideally, perform three sets of eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise, three days a week. If you can't do full pull-ups or chin-ups, use an assisted machine that displaces your weight or perform them on a low bar with your feet resting on the floor.

Strengthening the Core

A strong core will help stabilize your entire body. Planks and side planks are a good place to start. To incorporate the stabilizer muscles that help you avoid excessive side-to-side movement and help you maintain control when you do want to shift your weight while on skis, perform your front planks on an exercise ball. For side planks, perform the straight-arm version instead of the version with your elbow and forearm resting on the floor and set a medicine ball under the hand resting on the floor. Perform three holds of at least 30 seconds each for the front, left and right side planks.

Lower-Body Work

When it comes to building strength in the legs and butt, you can't get much more effective than lunges and squats. To account for the single-leg strength, you're sure to need during advanced water-skiing moves, perform single-leg squats, using either a barbell or a set of dumbbells. Lunges, by their nature, are already single-leg exercises, but be sure to hold dumbbells that are heavy enough to cause your muscles to feel fatigued toward the end of an eight- to 12-repetition set. Like the other exercises, perform three sets of eight to 12 repetitions for each exercise.

Aerobic Conditioning and Endurance

Performing any type of cardiovascular exercise is going to help you develop or maintain an aerobic base, so three to five days of the week, try to jog, cycle, swim or perform any other type of cardio you enjoy for 30 to 60 minutes. Water skiing is something of a sprint-type exercise though -- so to mimic that challenge by performing high-intensity interval workouts two days a week. Choose any type of cardio you like. Warm up by performing that activity slowly for about five minutes and then increase your pace to about 90 percent of your maximum output for 30 seconds to a minute. Then slow down to about 50 percent for another minute, before going back to the more intense pace. Cycle between the two paces six to eight times and then cool down.