Ski Fitness: Avoid injuries and optimize your performance on the slopes – Top tips from the physiotherapists at Physio Art. Skiing – there’s nothing quite like it – and as a result, it uses completely different muscles to other forms of exercise. So it makes sense that doing some simple ski specific preparation will both help your performance and avoid or minimize unwanted aches and pains.Most people prepare for their ski holiday by squatting against a wall and holding the squat position until their thighs are screaming! Yes, this exercise works the quads, but it encourages weight to travel through the heels…. A position which if it translates onto the slopes will cause a lack of control of the skis!A much better way to work the quads is by training them eccentrically. This is a major part of their role during skiing. Working them eccentrically means using the quads to control the knee from a straight position into a bent position. A perfect exercise for this would be doing step-downs off a step.Controlling good alignment during any squat type movement is vital. If you imagine a dot under the center of your knee cap, when you bend your knee an imaginary line dropping vertically down from the dot should fall between your 2nd and 3rd toe. Many people’s knees will tend to veer inwards – which can cause a particular problem for the uphill ski not being able to hold it’s edge on the slope. It can also cause unnecessary knee pain.
Skiing uses the lateral hip muscles like no other sport. Training these before your holiday is a really good idea! The ‘clam’ exercise is a great starting point to developed improved hip strength. Lying on your side with your hips and knees bent into a ski type position. Keeping ankles together lift your top knee, keeping your pelvis steady and slowly lower back down. Repeat until the buttock muscles start to get tired.
Training the body’s sense of position (or proprioception) is also important for preventing injuries, as well as being able to help you ski in poor visibility. Simple exercises like standing one one leg for a minute, and then as that gets easier adding challenges like closing your eyes or adding in upper body movements can help improve your proprioception.
We’ve got plenty more tips and info, practical advice and exercises up our sleeve for you – come and join us next Tuesday night at 7.30pm and take part in our FREE Ski-clinic, look forward to seeing you there!
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