Ski fitness expert Dr Craig McLean from Putney Chiropractic tackles some of the common fitness concerns skiers and snowboarders face when heading out to the slopes. Get your legs ready for your off piste skiing and heli skiing trips with these simple tips!
This series of exercises are designed to wake up some of your skiing muscles after they have possibly tightened over the summer.
Avoiding Thigh Burn
Thigh burn and leg fatigue are common for many people on their ski holidays and can be avoided by doing some simple physical preparation – no gym membership required!
Our favourite way to prepare the legs is with your bike. Get that bike out and do 30 – 90 mins every other day either commuting to work or just a leisurely ride. If a bike is out of the question then replace riding with a walk, find a hill if you can or just add 20-100 lunges while walking in the park. If you commute on the London underground – use the stairs! Remember if your skiing legs stay strong all day you will reduce the risk of injuring yourself on the last run of the day. And no one wants to miss skiing those last powdery turns down.
If you want more specific exercises for thigh burn do these two exercises…
Maintain Balance and Strength
This is key to maintaining balance and strength on the slopes:
Skiing is a sport which requires a huge amount of flexibility to allow you to turn freely and stay on top of those skis. The main points of focus is to be able to flex the ankles, keep the hips open and ensure the low back is free in movement. Our daily lifestyles probably don’t do much to promote this flexibility so follow the links below to get a head start on your fellow skiers.
Calf injuries are common, especially because of the boot design being slightly flexed all day. These can be prevented by doing these exercises…
The Lower Back
The low back should remain and relaxed as possible to keep good posture and free movement of the torso on the legs.
Keep your hips flexible and promote full range of movement by doing these two exercises
Stretching – getting the muscles moving again
Stretching out your hamstrings is very important for skiing, and this exercise a great way to lengthen your hamstring and get some movement into your lower back at the same time. Make sure you’re well balanced – use a pair of ski poles to help if necessary! Start your first set swinging one leg gently, and with each set increase the movement.
Lower back stretch
Keeping your back flexible is important to allow the upper and lower parts of your body to remain freely separated, which allows you to keep your body facing downhill during your powder turns. The first stretch is a passive stretch, (also a piriformis stretch) to get your back warmed up.
The second, active stretch really gets your muscles warmed up and moving for smooth skiing.
The deep glute or piriformis stretch
This is a very important muscle to help with stabilising and rotating the hip joint, essential for strong and dynamic skiing. Pull your leg towards you as much as is comfortable and feel the stretch in your glutes.