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5 Best Exercises for Ski Season

For those of us who are winter enthusiasts it’s a very exciting time!

I’m an avid skier and this is the time of year when I start to think about getting my legs and core in shape for the season. Whether it’s alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, or even snowshoeing, you will need good leg and core strength to keep you going.  If your strength and stability are not adequate you are at a higher risk of injury. Therefore, it’s important to get the muscles strong to help protect your joints and connective tissues.

Falls are an obvious cause of injury; according to the American College of Sports Medicine they account for approximately 75 to 85 percent of skiing injuries. Collisions with objects including other skiers, account for between 11 and 20 percent, while incidents involving ski lifts contribute between 2 and 9 percent. The most common injuries that occur are to the knee joint; medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprains are the most common knee injury followed by anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears of the knee. Having a good pre-season program to increase strength will help stabilize your joints and can reduce the chance for injury to occur.

Related: Strengthening for Runners

I’d like to share with you a series of leg and core strengthening exercises I like to do to get myself ready for the season.  Not only will these exercises get your legs in shape, they will also help keep your hips, core, and pelvis strong as well!

Squats

squat

Begin with your feet shoulder width apart and toes facing forward. Slowly lower yourself down making sure to keep your knees over your toes and your buttocks back. Most of your weight should be in the middle of your feet and heels.  Do not let your knees stray out in front of your feet as this places excess stress on the knee joint. Perform 20 -30 repetitions.

Wall Sits

wall-sit

Start with your back flat against the wall and your feet out in front of you. Slide your back down the wall until your hips and knees are at 90°; hold this position for 30 seconds, repeat 5-10 repetitions. Make sure that your knees are not in front of your toes to decrease stress on the knee joint.

Side Lunge

side-lunge

Start with your feet hip width apart. Take a large step to the side and sink down into your heels. Make sure your knee doesn’t go out over your toes and be sure to keep your lower leg in a straight line with your foot. Keep your torso straight and your buttocks back. Push down through your heel and come back to the starting position. Perform 20-30 repetitions for each leg.

Planks

plank

Begin in a push-up position with the hands directly under the shoulders.  Keep your torso in a straight line and without letting the hips drop or sag, hold this position for 30 seconds, repeat 5-10 repetitions.

Side Planks

side-plank

Begin lying on your side with the legs out straight. Place the elbow directly under your shoulder and lift the hips off of the ground so your body is in a straight line. Keep the core tight without rotating or letting the hips drop or sag, hold this position for 30 seconds. Perform 5-10 repetitions.

Related: Top 3 Core Strengthening Moves

Winter is coming and performing these exercises 3-4 times a week, one to two months prior to the winter season should give you a great base of strength to get your body ready for activity. Tune in next month for the second series of advanced exercises to help get your body even stronger for the winter season.

If you’re interested in getting any further advice or interested in having a program designed for your specific winter activity, please do not hesitate to schedule a free 30 minute consultation with one of our physical therapists.

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By Andy Broomhall

Back in Motion® Physical Therapy – Portland, Maine

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