With the Ski season in full force we thought it would be the perfect time to give you a series of exercises you can do to get ready for your next ski trip.
So let's get straight into it.
Exercise 1: Overhead barbell squat.
The overhead squat is one of the best ways to increaser lower limb strength.
This is a compound movement, meaning you are working multiple muscle groups at a single time. You can ensure this exercise will build your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves and core.
However you must ensure under-active muscles are active before performing this exercise to be as efficient as possible.
With this exercise its important to have good technique: With feet shoulder width apart, toes pointing at the same angle, bending your knees to 90° whilst maintaining and upright posture (if you lean forward to much this will activate your glutes, it is also a sign you have tight hip flexors). If you do not squat regularly then we advise getting a personal trainer or one of us to check your technique out.
Exercise 2: Single leg RDL's (Romanian Deadlifts)
The single leg RDL is an excellent exercise for improving balance, knee stability and hamstring strength.
Standing on one leg is not easy at the best of times but what makes it even more challenging is leaning forwards and touching the floor with a weight. Not only that, you also need to keep the standing leg slightly bent, back straight, and maintain forward vision without looking towards to floor.
When performing this exercise have a light kettle bell or dumbbell (4-8kg). Keep the standing leg slightly bent and as you lean forward keep it at the same angle. It is important to do both legs, even if you have one leg weaker than the other.
Exercise 3: Bosu ball squats
In our opinion, this exercise is a non negotiable. It works the lower limb muscle groups (quads, hamstrings and glutes) whilst also using your core to stabilise you. To add to this you are standing on bosu ball so your balance will improve too.
Once you are on the bosu ball this exercise is really straightforward to perform. Have you feet shoulder width apart and in an even position. This may take some time but it is important to set up correctly. Try a few repetitions without a weight first, so you can get used to the exercise. When adding weight start of light and gradually progress, you will not be able to do nearly as much weight as you can squat so we advise performing this with 20kg maximum.
Exercise 4: Side to side jumps
This plyometirc based exercise is excellent for building strength, stability, co-ordination, explosive strength and balance, therefore a really good addition to your skifit programme.
With this exercise it's all about being able to embrace the landing, regain the balance and exploding into the next jump. It may sound complicated but we can assure you it is not. When starting out dont worry about having any weight in your hands and just perform a small jump from your left to right foot. Whilst doing this put emphasis on the landing (by bending your leg as your foot strikes the ground) when your knee is bent to a similar angle in the photos above you spring off of that foot and back over to the other and repeat. Try to keep rhythm and perform numerous jumps into landings back into jumps and so on. Then you are ready to add in a wider jump with an additional weight (medicine ball is best because of the handles).
This exercise can be tricky to pick up right away but no need to worry, once you have the hang of it its really straight forward and can have a huge impact in your skiing. Be sure to ask one of the Reactivate team for help if you have any questions.
Exercise 5: Single leg bosu ball balance
Onto our final exercise, single leg bosu ball balance. With the uneven surface on the bottom half it makes standing on one leg more challenging, therefore working your stabilising muscles in whole lower limb. When trying to stabilise the knee its important to focus on the whole lower limb, including calves, soleus and all the tiny muscles within the calf; all the muscles of the hamstring group, quadricep group as they attach around the knee joint as well as the the glutes, hip flexors, adductors and abductors because they stabilise the hip which stabilises the femur which as you may know runs down the leg and makes up the upper part of the knee joint. So yes you have guessed correctly, the exercise is a must do when it comes building up the knee and your confidence in it.
This exercise involves squatting the standing leg to around 75° and balancing for a couple of seconds whilst the non standing leg is in a number of different positions (forwards, out to the side, extended behind and behind the back of the standing leg). By doing this you are changing your centre of gravity and is helping strengthen the joints and muscles of the lower limbs from different angles. As you know, you bend your legs in multiple way whilst skiing so this exercise helps increase your ability to load the ankle, knee and hip in a variety of positions.
We hope these exercises help you get stronger, more stable and ready for skiing.
If you have any questions regarding the exercises or would like to have a 1:1 session with a therapist where we can assess your weaknesses and address them with a tailored plan then do not hesitate to get in touch with the team.