Skiers, Is Your Body Ready for Ski Season?

Ski season is upon us, and those first few dustings of snow in the mountains are a signal that it’s time to get your body ready for skiing. We’ve put together some exercise guidelines to set you up for an invigorating, fun and injury-free ski season. Incorporate these concepts and start your ski season in the best shape yet. 

Do a Self-Assessment First

  1. Squat: Stand in front of a mirror; watch the alignment of your hip, knee and ankle while performing a squat. Do either of your knees move toward or away from the midline?
  2. Single leg: Stand in front of a mirror, stand on one leg. Watching for symmetry again, do the right or left leg move in or out of alignment when you squat down? Does one leg feel stronger than the other?
  3. Balance: Stand on one leg, how long before you need to touch the other leg down? Is one side better than the other?

Did you detect any differences between the two sides, any misalignments? If so, address those asymmetries now in order to avoid injury this ski season. A physical therapy evaluation is a great place to start.

If you’ve passed the self-assessment above, congratulations! You’re ready to load your body to get ready for ski season.

Lower body strength training

Work to strengthen your ankles, knees, hips and core. Examples are body weight or weighted squats, lunges, heel raises, push ups or planks in varying directions. 

Balance

There are so many ways to challenge balance. Any position or movement that makes you feel unsteady can challenge and improve your balance. Ideas include standing on one leg, standing on uneven surfaces (e.g. BOSU ball, pillow or other squishy surface), and experiencing opposing forces while holding a position (e.g. throwing a ball against a wall while standing on 1 leg).

Flexibility

quad stretch a flexibility  for pre ski season training

Make sure you have good range of motion and flexibility in your hips, knees and ankles. Dynamically stretch your hamstring, gluteal, quadricep and calf muscles. 

Plyometrics

plyometrics get you ready for the ski season

Jumping isn’t appropriate for everyone, but dynamic moves are great for preparing your muscles for power and endurance which are essential for skiing. Examples are box jumps, bounding on a trampoline, or jump squats and lunges. When you face that first mogul run of the season, your legs will thank you.

Lateral (side-to-side) exercises

Photo 212446858 / Lunge © Antoniodiaz | Dreamstime.com

The outer hip and groin muscles are key in helping our legs remain aligned and they also play an important role in balance. To round out the strength in your legs, it’s a good idea to incorporate side lunges, side step ups or speed skaters. It’s critical that you watch the alignment of your hip, knee and ankle during these exercises. Typically, you can make these exercises more challenging by focusing on correct form. 

Cardiovascular exercise

cardio gets you ready for the ski season

Cardiovascular exercise is important for your health all year long. You can get this type of exercise by walking, hiking, biking, swimming or running. Make sure you’re getting 20 minute bouts of moderate intensity exercise three times a week. 

If you need help with any of these exercises and how to fit them into your current routine; reach out to your physical therapist for a plan!

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