How to prep your body for skiing
'Injuries come with the territory, but these simple exercises will prepare you for the demands of an Alpine break' Peta Bee Wednesday January 04 2023, 5.00pm, The Times 1. Do daily squats and lunges
A paucity of snow in European resorts may have deterred you from booking a January ski holiday, but it leaves more time to ensure your body is ready for the slopes before you do head off. Government stats suggest that a third of people taking their first skiing holiday risk serious injury because they are not sufficiently in shape and two out of five regular skiers have been injured at least once. Leg injuries are the most common, accounting for about a third of on-piste injuries. “Crashing, falling or twisting leads to rotation and what we call the anterior glide where the thigh muscle, or femur, slides over the shin bones, leading to anterior cruciate ligament injuries,” the sports physiotherapist Paul Hobrough says. “Daily squats, lunges and reverse lunges for 60 seconds each are an excellent way to strengthen the muscles that support the knee and protect against damage.”
Core strength helps you to maintain stability 2. Strengthen your arms and core
Don’t neglect your wrists and core muscles in your ski prep. “So many wrist injuries occur with skiing, but particularly with snowboarding as they are often the first point of contact and absorb the impact of a fall,” says Sammy Margo, a physiotherapist. “To strengthen the wrists hold a 1-3lb dumbbell with your forearm resting on a table and wrist hanging off the edge, slowly lifting so the back of your hand moves towards the ceiling.” Repeat for 20 seconds on each hand.
Core strength helps you to maintain stability so that you are less likely to fall. “Perform a variety of plank exercises — basic plank, plank with rotation, planks with alternate legs lifted every day for a few weeks before you go,” Margo says.
When you get there, go easy on the glühwein. A survey by Direct Line showed that more than 1,000 Brits a day are injured on ski holidays after consuming alcohol. “You can do all the prep in the world, but alcohol-infused lunches will let you down,” Margo says. “They so often lead to injuries.”
Hip Flexors 3. Stretch your hip flexors before and after skiing
When you ski, your hip flexor muscles work extra hard to keep you in the tuck position. “Because you bend your knees so often and spend so much time in a flexed position when you ski, it means muscles on the front of the hip can get short and tight,” Hobrough says. “After a few days of heavy skiing this can lead to hip and low back pain, which can be worse if you have poor technique and sit back into your skis.”
Stretching your hip flexors before and after hitting the slopes will help. Assume a low lunge position — right knee bent to 90 degrees in front of you with foot flat on the floor and left leg extended behind with knee on the floor. Push into your right leg to feel a stretch in the hips. For a more intense stretch, rotate the upper body to the right while pushing into the right leg. Hold for 45 seconds and repeat before changing sides.