In the middle of the ski season, it should be remembered that a suitable physical form allows to develop the technique of this sport correctly, as well as enjoy its practice with less risk of injury. And is that the physical form includes many parameters: muscle balance, balance, strength, endurance and speed.
To know how to prepare in the ski gym “the first thing is to analyze our joint ranges, especially the lower train, and see if I will be able to properly perform the movements and positions necessary for the ski. Once this is done, we must always, keeping these minimum joint ranges, start to improve the strength of the legs in all its facets – strength resistance, maximum strength, power, etc.-, taking care that, in the selection of exercises, first those in which we have good abdominal/lumbar stability. The so-called ‘functional exercises’ could be a good choice because they involve all of the above, but while still using some more specific machines at some point in training”, explains Miguel Angel Rodríguez Lorenzo, Director of Health of Zagros Sports La Moraleja.
Strengthening the muscles of the scapular waist is also very important, but it will probably require less time during training sessions, adds Rodríguez Lorenzo.
Most recommended exercises to improve ski performance
Zagros Sports and health expert explains below what exercises help better ski performance:
- Squats are going to be one of the star exercises in the preparation. Why? Well performed involve the entire musculature of the leg, recruit more abdominal/lumbar than many of the specific exercises for this area and maintain a good stabilization of the shoulder girdled waist. Rodriguez Lorenzo especially recommends the front squat or front squat.
- Strides or lunges are very similar to squats in muscle involvement and add an element of balance when performed in a more unstable situation. In addition, they allow you to introduce scrolling elements that can make our training more dynamic. It is advisable to make front, back and side strides.
- The lying hip or bridge elevations are a fundamental exercise to reinforce the hamstring musculature, very important to help our anterior cruciate ligament, among other functions. “We chose this exercise especially because of its “eccentric” character during the descent, since this musculature will always suffer the greatest work in movements of this type during the practice of skiing”, emphasizes the director of Health of Zagros Sports La Moraleja.
- Exercises on unstable surfaces (bosu, fitball, rollers…) are usually modifications to the aforementioned exercises, but that give our movement the unpredictableness of skiing. According to Rodríguez Lorenzo, “we can greatly reinforce the quadriceps by performing only machine exercises, but the moment we have to overcome an irregular surface during skiing, all that strength will be worthless because our brain will not know how to execute that force to hold our knee”.
- Pliometric exercises, such as jumps, are essential to increase power and speed, which will greatly improve our confidence on the tracks, as well as being very fun and challenging during their execution.
- To strengthen the muscles of the scapular waist and also improve our endurance, we recommend rowing, making sure to perform the exercise perfectly well. We would complement this work with push-ups or push-ups.
Body parts that need to be strengthened
For the practice of skiing it is necessary to strengthen the whole leg, evidently, and the abs, lower back and musculature of the scapular waist.
And for snowboarding? “The muscles to work is the same, but we must modify some exercises to respond to the more specific technique of snowboarding. In addition, the scapular waist musculature is even more important here. It is also necessary to perform exercises intended to help our lateral ligaments and the posterior cruciate. In addition, we must introduce more elements of torsion in the knees”, notes Rodríguez Lorenzo.
When to start training in the gym?
“You can do a good training program four weeks before the start of the ski season, but to go with confidence and fitness, I would recommend eight weeks of preparation training two or three days a week. This will allow us to enjoy more, and with greater security, this great sport”, says the zagros Sports expert.
For his part, Héctor Huerta, head of the Physiotherapy Service of the Hospital Vithas Medimar (Alicante), says that it is recommended that “throughout the year you practice some type of sports discipline so as not to completely lose your physical condition. For the ski season it is necessary to start training at least two months before. Skiing requires a very good aerobic capacity to withstand 5 to 6 hours of extreme sport, in addition in high and cold conditions. Therefore, some aerobic exercise and a maintenance program should be practiced in the gym, with special importance in the musculature of the back and legs.”
More frequent ski injuries and tips for preventing it
By skiing, the most common injuries are tendinopathies, due to the great work that the musculature of the leg must perform. Also the lumbalgias can be present due to excessive tension of the buttocks and poor abdominal recruitment during the practice of skiing.
Afterwards, the most brazen injuries usually come from accidents or falls, and here we would encounter knee injuries, especially, and collarbone fractures.
That said, Rodríguez Lorenzo points out that strong musculature and proper prophesial training can prevent, to a large extent, many of these injuries, because our brain will be more “skillful” in recruiting the different muscle fibers for each variation of the movement.
According to Huerta, the most common injuries in skiing are bumps and bruises, although there are several joints such as the shoulders, hands and knees that are usually the most suffering.
The specific physiotherapist that in the knee the most frequent injuries are those that have to do with the ligaments, especially the anterior crusader and internal lateral. The most common injury mechanism is the sudden rotation of the body over the tibia producing a forced rotational motion on the femur.
In the shoulder the most typical injury is the anterior dislocation of the shoulder, mainly due to lateral falls where the entire impact of the fall falls falls on it.
“Having good physical fitness and good technique can reduce the risk of falling, but they don’t eliminate it altogether, as there are other external factors that can influence an accident such as the state of the tracks, the existence of ice sheets , the crowds of inexperienced people on track, etc.,” warns Vithas Medimar Hospital member.
Is there a recommended age to start skiing and to quit?
“The recommended age to start skiing is when you are able to wear ski boots, and to leave it, when you can no longer stand. It is a sport that, well realized, is highly recommended for all people and conditions, which combines strength, speed, endurance, coordination, nature and, in addition, makes us feel alive”, says the sports expert of Zagros Sports.
For Huerta, it is advisable to start with skiing, as in almost any sporting discipline, is when you are a child. “Learning when you’re 6 to 12 is more natural. In addition, having a lower center of gravity, not being afraid and a more flexible body will help you learn this sport better. There is no recommended age to stop skiing, you can practice this sports discipline without risk of injury, you only have to be very careful and a physical condition”.