Ski season is nearly here and it’s time to begin preparing for your first ride down the mountain. Making sure that your hip, knee, and core stabilizer muscles are strong and working well is a great way to aid in avoiding skiing injuries and ensuring a long and fun season.
Ski injury prevention starts with getting your quads and glutes into shape which will also help with your form and performance. Here are a few exercises to add to your training program to help prevent ski injuries-
Move 1: Sustained squat on bosu ball with side-to-side rocks
Place band around knees to improve lateral glute medius activation. Rock side-to-side sustaining a squat position.
Perform 3 sets for 1 minute each, 3 times a week. Progress holding medicine ball out in front of your body.
Move 2: Static skaters
Stand on one leg with a theraband around your ankles. Pull your opposite leg back at a 45 degree angle, keeping toes pointed forwards.
Make sure hips stay level and squeeze your glutes as you pull your leg out. You should be activating the stance leg glute as well to stabilize and will likely feel this leg working more during the exercise.
Perform 3 sets of 15 reps, 3 times a week. Progress ascend into a deeper squat on stance leg.
Move 3: Skater hops
Alternate hopping laterally. Descend into a controlled squat on weight bearing leg while reaching opposite arm towards floor and letting non stance leg bend behind your body.
Perform 3 sets of 15 reps, 3 times a week. Progress to landing on airex balance pad.
Move 4: Single leg squat
Begin with keeping weight in heel. Shift hips posteriorly, making sure your knee doesn’t travel too far forward. You can use a TRX band or a small board under your heel to increase range of motion.
Perform 3 sets of 15 reps, 3 times a week
Move 5: Paloff press single leg
Use a theraband anchored on a door or use a cable machine set up at shoulder height.
Obtain a single leg stance position on your outside leg farthest from anchor point.
Engage your core and glutes, ensuring to keep your pelvis level.
Hold your arms centered in front of you. Press out, up, down, and in, returning to starting position. Repeat.
Perform 3 sets of 10 reps, 3 times a week. Progress by standing on airex balance pad or unstable surface.
Move 6: Stir the pot
Begin in a plank position with elbows on a stability ball stacked beneath your shoulders.
While engaging your deep core muscles, move arms into small circles first clockwise and then counterclockwise.
Perform 2 sets of 10 in each direction, 3 times a week. Progress by increasing reps/time.
Move 7: Deadbug
Begin by lying on your back with a stability ball wedged between your arms and legs, with legs elevated into the air and knees bent at 90 degrees.
While opposite arm and leg squeeze into the airex pad, engage your deep core muscles and extended the other arm and leg out away from the ball.
Return to start position and switch to the other side.
Perform 3 sets of 10 reps, 3 times a week. Progress by taking away stability ball.
Move 8: Lunges with sliders
Begin with standing with one foot on the slider (May substitute Swiffer pad/paper plate).
Place your weight on the leg without the slider. Bending this knee, slide the other leg posteriorly into a squat position. Return to start position.
Perform 3 sets of 15 reps, 3 times a week. Progress holding weight at side or overhead.
Why Are These Moves Important To Do?
Adequate core, glute, and quad strength is very important to help ensure an injury free season.The sustained squat ski position demands a lot out of strength and endurance out of our legs. If glute weakness is present, it’s easy to allow our knees to fall medially towards each other. This throws off our hip, knee, and ankle mechanics leaving us prone to falls and injury. Having effective gluteal activation will allow you to maintain proper alignment through your joints allowing for pressure to be displaced equally and keeping you out of the “pizza” position to avoid possible injury.
A thorough glute program targets not only the glute maximus, but the glute medius as well. The above program is a great starting point to target the necessary muscles.
Now don’t be fooled into thinking only the legs need to be strong. Our cores have a big responsibility to drive our bodies into each and every turn and assisting to keep us upright. So give your core some love with our prescribed exercises above.
If you find you have questions about ski injury prevention, schedule an evaluation with one of our skilled physical therapists.