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Are you ready to Ski?

So, it’s that time of year again where some of you will be dusting off your ski’s, getting them waxed and checking all your gear but, have you thought about the physical preparation that you should be doing? If you answer is no, then don’t panic! We are here to help.
Preparing your body for skiing is crucial to you trip as it will improve your performance and limit the chance of falls or injury.

There are two aspects of fitness needed; cardiovascular and strength. If you improve upon these during the weeks before you go then you will be able to make the most of a day on the slopes and still have energy for the all-important après ski!

So, firstly, to increase your cardiovascular fitness it is a good idea to do regular exercise (2-3 times a week) leading up to your trip e.g. swimming, cycling, running and walking.

Secondly you need to ‘prep’ the muscles you will be using. By that I mean strengthen them so that they can cope with the demands placed on them.

Below are the muscle groups used during skiing and a few exercises to help you on your way:

Front of thigh (Quadriceps): – This is probably the most used muscle group during skiing and it works in two ways to keep your knee in the correct position. 1. The muscle contracts to straighten your leg 2. It also contracts as it lengthens, to control the bending of your knee. This second one is called an eccentric contraction and is often forgotten about.

Exercises to do:
Squats
Step downs

Squats – Quadriceps Exercise


Back of thigh and buttocks (Hamstring and Glutes): – Skiing requires you to hold your body in a flexed position i.e. leaning forwards from the hips and requires strength from your hamstrings and glutes. The outside muscle (Gluteus medius aka glute med) is also used a lot to push your leg out to the side. It isn’t used very much in this way in other sports and can therefore be weak.

Exercises to do:
Hamstring – Swiss ball roll outs
Glute med – Clams (lying and standing)
Glutes – Step ups

Swiss Ball Roll Outs – Hamstring

Inner and outer thigh (Glute med (again) and adductors): – Your inner thighs have to work really hard to keep your skis together otherwise without them you’ll be doing the splits…… Ouch!
Your outer thighs stabilize you and help steer so they are also vital to performance.

Exercises to do:
Adductor squeeze
Side lunges

Side Lunges – Glutes

Calfs (Gastrocnemius and Soleus): – In the skiing position your knees are bent and therefore the calf has to contract to hold you upright and stop you falling forwards.

Exercise: Calf raises

Core and Back (Abdominals, Pelvic floor, Obliques and Spinal erectors): – When you are in a bent over position skiing your back has to hold you upright, but you also need to be stable and well balanced to stay on your feet. Your core and back will be working hard throughout and it is very important for these muscles to function well so that they can protect your spine.

Exercises to do:
Extensor – Swiss ball extensions
Core – Plank, Side plank, Plank on an unstable surface


Side Plank – Core

As you may have noticed, a lot of muscles are at work when you ski and help to keep you balanced, mobile, agile and protect you.

Imagine if these muscles were n’t working well – you could end up having a lot of injuries or crashes, so it’s really important to do the work and training BEFORE you go away so that you can ENJOY it when you’re there.

If you are due to go skiing and need some advice, or want to know how to do the exercises safely and effectively ask your Sports Therapist as we would be happy to help.

Bridget Higgs
Sports Therapist

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