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Get Fit for Sled Season

Reduce soreness and pain after a sled session this winter with these snowmobile workout tips from DSG Outerwear! From cardio to HIIT, we'll help you get fit.

I don’t know about you, but when I jump on my snowmobile for the first ride of the season, excitement coursing through my veins, I can expect to wake up the next morning sore in places that only seem to exist in wintertime. Throwing a sled around in the snow doesn’t necessarily use our everyday muscles. Think sore hands, arms, back, knees, legs…did I miss anything? Check out our snowmobile workout suggestions below!


Running is quite possibly the most-dreaded exercise, but there’s a method to the madness of this recommendation. Incorporating sprinting intervals into a jogging routine gets your heart rate up to replicate the pounding you’ll feel in your chest when you’re trying to dig out your sled in the backcountry. Bonus: if you’re a flat-lander planning on some mountainous snowmobile trips this winter, cardio exercises will help get your lungs into shape for better oxygen consumption.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

As previously mentioned, if you detest running, HIIT would have similar benefits. The idea behind HIIT is to incorporate short bursts of intense activity, alternated with recovery periods of lower-intensity exercises. The shorter intervals of intense exercise get the heart rate up and then allow it to recover during the less-intense periods of rest. Instead of running, apply this exercise approach to cycling. Bonus: while delivering similar benefits, cycling is gentler on your body, so it can be done faster and for longer periods of exercise.

Leg Day

Too often, we see riders lifting their sleds out of trenches with their back instead of their legs. This creates a lot of unnecessary strain on your back and can result in some debilitating, whole-body injuries. Lift with your legs, not your back. Strengthen your legs with squats, and get religious about maintaining proper form. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, back straight and commit to teaching your body to minimize twisting. Bonus: practicing proper posture during squats will improve muscle memory to keep your body in better alignment while you’re cruising down the trail.

Upper Body Strength

Having a strong back and shoulders will help riders maintain control of their machine, while reducing rider fatigue. Sarah Whipple, avid backcountry rider, recommends “good old pushups! My triceps are the first muscles to get ridiculously sore at the beginning of the season, so making them as strong as possible before sled season helps me tremendously!” Pull-ups are a great exercise for utilizing back, arm, shoulder, chest and core muscles all in one fluid movement. Bonus: pull ups increase grip strength…


Are your fingers going numb on the handlebars from soreness, not chill? Then you may want to try out some exercises that will improve your grip. Think rowing—a full body workout that requires a steady grip, and dead lifts, which will simultaneously strengthen your lower back. Both male and female riders have the same handlebars to hold on to, but most women have smaller hands than men, so they deserve some extra attention in your preparations. Bonus: kettle bell swings will also improve your grip, but, like any exercise, make sure you are trained on proper form before adding this to your routine.

Ultimately, any additional exercise in preparation of sled season will aid the flexibility, core strength and recovery time needed for snowmobiling. Boot camp classes and cross-fit are great ways to get full-body workouts in that include muscles we often forget or neglect while traditionally working out on gym cardio machines. We challenge you to try a new class or incorporate a new exercise into your workout regime this fall. Preventing injury will improve your enjoyment of your snowmobile season and keep you out on the snow longer.

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