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Life in Motion

Skiers: Prepare for the Slopes at Home

Olympics, Sports & Exercise

Whether you are a skier yourself or you enjoy watching the pros from the comfort of your home, skiing is a key section of competition for the 2018 winter Olympics. Maximize your ski performance and prevent injuries with these tips from NEBH Athletic Trainers in the Sports Performance Center.

Preparing at home ahead of your ski trip will help you to perform your best, avoid injury, and make hitting the slopes much more enjoyable. It is important to strengthen the muscles you use to get down the mountain safely. Muscles groups in your body to concentrate on include your core, legs, and glutes. With a stronger body you will have more endurance, move on the mountain with more efficiency, and distribute your weight easier during turns.

Here are a few exercises you can do at home:

For a Strong Core

A strong core (lower back muscles, waist and abs) will make it easier for your body to move. When making turns, you can easily maneuver your arms and legs helping you keep your balance as you change direction or ski over rough terrain. To help you develop a stronger core and reduce your risks of injury, incorporate planks into your workout.

Planks

  • Lie on your stomach with your forearms on the floor and your elbows directly below your shoulders.
  • Tighten your abdominal muscles and lift your hips off the floor.
  • Squeeze your gluteal muscles and lift your knees off the floor.
  • Push yourself up onto your elbows or with arms extended straight.
  • Keep your back straight and don’t let your hips drop or hinge up. Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Slowly return to the start position and rest 30 seconds. Repeat.
  • If you cannot hold this position, bring your knees back to the floor and hold with just your hips lifted.

Instead of lying on your stomach you can plank on your side to target waist or oblique muscles.

To Strengthen Your Legs

The hardest working muscles when you ski are in your lower extremities. Keeping these muscles strong helps reduce your chance of a knee injury, as these muscles support and stabilize your knees. To build up your muscles try bodyweight squats. Pay attention to your technique and form. Squatting with proper form can help you train your legs to move correctly when you ski. Incorrect form when you fall or hit something could put you at risk of injuring your ACL.

Bodyweight Squats

  • Stand with your feet about hip and shoulder width apart.
  • Bend your knees allowing your weight to shift through your heels as if you are sitting down on a chair. Bend your trunk slightly forward while keeping your chest upright.
  • Go only as low as you feel safe and pain free.
  • Be sure to keep the back and shoulders straight and to look straight ahead to maintain proper positioning.
  • Use your quadriceps and buttocks to return to a standing position.
  • Aim to complete 8-12 squats per set.

Jumping exercises will assist you in practicing good form after landing from a jump as well as improve coordination and agility.  These exercises are another way to strengthen the outside of your thighs, which you use when you push off the edges of your skis.

Tuck Jumps

  • Stand with feet about hip or shoulder width apart.
  • Bend your knees as if you are going to sit down into a chair.
  • Push away from the floor to propel your body up and while in the air, tuck knees to chest.
  • Allow your body to land softly back on to your feet.
  • Repeat 8-12 times

Lateral Jumps

  • Stand next to a barrier such as a cone or a stack of books that is level to your shin.
  • Keep your feet together and jump over the barrier and immediately jump back.
  • Your jumps should be quick and light, keeping contact with the ground at a minimum.
  • Repeat 8-12 times

Jumping Split Lunges

  • Start in a lunge position with your feet shoulder width apart with one leg in front at a 90 degree angle. Your back leg should be bent towards the ground at a 90 degree angle lunge position
  • Jump up and in midair; switch your legs so that you land in a lunge position with your right leg in front of your left leg.
  • For 20 seconds continue jumping back and forth.

For Your Glutes

When you ski, you are shifting your weight from side to side. To prepare for the motion you will experience when skiing, try skater hops to help strengthen your glutes.

Skater Hops

  • Starting on your left side squat slightly and jump with your left foot. Then jump to the right landing on your right foot with a slight squat.
  • Repeat this by jumping from the right side to the left. Continue for 20 seconds.

Resisted Side Stepping

  • Wrap a resistance band around your ankles or around the balls of your feet.
  • Bend your knees slightly, chest up and keep your hips square to the wall in front.
  • Take side steps while keeping tensions in the resistance band at all times for 20 feet.
  • Repeat with the other leg back to starting position for 1-2 laps.

If you have any health concerns, consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.

While there are many factors beyond your control while skiing, preparing your body by exercising will help you to build your strength and skill before you hit the slopes.

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