physio

Six Exercises to Keep You Injury-Free for Ski Season


As the leaves begin to change colour and the long days of summer are behind us; it’s time to start looking forward to the upcoming ski season.

Skiing is a great activity that allows you to get outside and take advantage of what the West Coast has to offer. However, without the proper preparation your season could be over prematurely as unfortunately knee injuries are very common in the sport.  With your feet locked in a solid boot, the knees are left to absorb additional forces.   If you have not been training prior to hitting the mountain; catching an edge or falling could be the end of your ski season and the start of a long rehab process.

Although some injuries are tough to prevent, here are my top six exercises to help keep your body strong and injury-free for the season ahead:

Have a solid core:

The stronger you are through your core, the more stable your legs become and the easier it will be to absorb the impact.  Strong abdominals and gluteal muscles will significantly decrease the amount of strain placed on the ligaments of the knee.

Two exercises to target the core and gluteal muscles:

1. Lateral Plank – lay on your side with your elbow directly below your shoulder. Stack your feet on top of each other. Lift your hip off the ground to create a straight line from your shoulder-hip-feet and keep your hips forward Hold for 30 sec and repeat 3 sets.

Lateral Plank

2. Bridge – lay on your back. Tuck your tail and use your buttock muscles (not your back) to lift your pelvis off the ground to create a straight line from your shoulders-hips-knees. Hold 30 secs and repeat 3 sets.

Bridge

Proprioception (where you are in space): 

Have you ever had a time where you were about to fall but you were able to catch yourself at the last minute? Part of the reason you were able to catch yourself was due to receptors in your body that told you where you were in space. They are a key component to your ability to balance, which will help decrease the number of falls you take on the ski hill.

Two exercises to challenge your proprioceptors:

3. Skating strides. Stand on one leg and then move the non-stance leg forward, out to the side and back behind the body, tracing a C-pattern with the leg around you. To make this exercise more challenging, you can move it to the BOSU ball. Repeat 5 x per side.

Skating Strides

4. Hip Airplane with rotation – stand on one leg in a warrior 3/airplane pose with your arms out to your sides. Slowly lift one arm toward the ceiling while lifting the leg on that side up, rotate your spine around a straight axis, keep your core on, and maintaining balance on the standing leg. Hold for 5 sec and repeat 5 X per side.

Hip Airplane with Rotation

Strong gluteals, quadriceps and hamstrings:

These are crucial before hitting the slopes. They are the ones that give you the much-needed stamina to last until the lifts close and naturally protect the knee from injury.

Two exercises to target these muscle groups:

5. Bulgarian Split Squats – get into a lunge position with your back foot on a low stool. Slowly move up and down from this position. Ensure your front knee doesn’t go forward past your toes. Repeat 10x/leg for 3 sets

Bulgarian Split Squats

6. Hamstring Curls – lay on your back with your feet up on a ball, lift your hips off the floor by tucking your tail and using your gluteal muscles. Maintain your hips level and core on, slowly pull your heels in towards your buttocks. Repeat 10 x for 3 sets.

Hamstring Curls

Do these exercises three times a week throughout your ski season to maximize benefit and stay strong. 

Have a great season and see you on the hill!