25 Jan Exercise, Strengthen, Ski!
Skiing is a most exhilarating experience for those of us who love the thrill of racing down the slopes, the burn in the thighs and some strength in reserve to allow a graceful finish for the reward of a vin chaud! At Halo Physio we educate daily about strengthening, flexibility and ensuring the body is fit enough to withstand a patient’s chosen sport.
If you have not already started your ski fitness program for the next time you hit the slopes, let this article encourage you to do so.
You need to have strength and endurance in your thighs and gluteals (bottom muscles) and good physical fitness to help you stay injury free – and enjoy your holiday. The 4 exercises below are excellent to include in your program:
1. Step Downs
Step downs off a step is a perfect way of working your thigh muscles eccentrically which is essential in the control aspect of the ski position. Make sure your pelvis and weight alignment is correct. Start with 30 reps daily and increase as you feel stronger.
2. Squats with Weight Transfer
Start with your feet shoulder width apart, squat down ensuring that your knees do not fall over toes: in this squat position transfer your weight to your right foot, hold this position for 5-10 seconds before transferring your weight to your left. Repeat transferring your weight 5 times to each side before standing upright. Repeat the whole process 5-10 times as your strength allows.
3. Jumping Sideways
This exercise is a progression from the above and introduces propulsion. Jump sideways on and off a step, starting with a low step and gradually making it higher. Always make sure your alignment is correct.
4. Gluteal Strengthening
Gluteal muscles are extremely important in skiing as they control the hip and pelvis alignment. The ‘clam’ exercise is good general strengthening exercise. Lie on your side with knees bent. Keep your ankles together as you lift your top knee like a clam, opening and closing. You should feel your muscles working on the outside of your bottom, ensure that you do not roll backwards. Repeat 30 times on both sides.
Unless you are Eddie the Eagle and training for the ski jump PLEASE AVOID wall squats. It was once thought of as the ‘gold standard’ to skiing: the longer you can hold yourself in this position the better you would be – WRONG! It has no functional application to the skiing, how many people actually ski in this position (whilst resting against a wall!)? Not only does it unnecessarily load the patella (knee cap) putting strain on the tendon and knee joint, it does not actually strengthen your buttocks or your thighs.
If you would like any further advice on enhancing performance and preventing injury, please contact Halo Physio here
Blog compiled by Rachael Adams, Principal Physiotherapist at Halo Physio