My biggest interest as a Physio when it comes to injury is Prevention. I love treating injuries, but more importantly for me is working out individual strategies to prevent injury recurrence, or even better, prevent an injury occurring in the first place.
We know enough about the human body and the demands particular activities and sports put on the body, to know the right approach to preventative exercise and conditioning. This is determined by assessing a person’s general biomechanical movement patterns, strength, endurance and tolerances and then assessing that person’s general and specific capacity for the elements of the particular sport or activity they are preparing for.
Once those factors are known, a specific, individual and graduated program can be implemented.
When it comes to skiing and snowboarding, this is critical. These sports have such a massive dynamic, impact and endurance load. This opens up a lot of potential for injury. Particularly for those of us who aren’t fortunate enough to have long winter seasons to develop the capacity and condition to ski injury free.
When we travel to a far-away ski field, we often head there with insufficient preparation, which ultimately can lead to more than desired muscle soreness and stiffness, fatigue, lack of enjoyment on the slopes and at the worst end of the scale, injury.
The In Clinic Physio approach to skiing and snowboarding is the same as my approach to all sports and lifestyle activities. Prevention. And in this case, when we don’t have the access we would like to slowly build our snow fitness, I have developed a way to get your body ski-ready before you even step off the plane.
Although general fitness and strength is a big part of the process for most people, the best results come from honing in on individual weaknesses and ski / snowboarding specific exercises. It really does make an incredible difference.
Here is a glimpse at some of my favourite exercises. In the end, the best results will always come from an individualized approach, but this is a good start! Enjoy.
In my opinion, this is paramount for this sport. Long days on the snow, exhausting travel and the demands of higher altitude activity, mean that a good baseline of cardio tolerance is helpful. This could be a lot of different things for each of us, but I always go for running, cycling and rowing. Other options can include swimming, brisk walking, hill walking and a myriad of others.
STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING
There is a lot to this element. We look at baseline strength and work out what is needed specifically. This can include a variety of specific and whole body exercises, and can also include static, dynamic, rapid and prolonged approaches to movement. The ultimate goal is to replicate as many on snow positions and activities as possible. Here are some examples.
1. Decline Squats and Decline Squat Holds
2. Squats and Lunges
3. Pistol Squats (tough, but awesome for single leg strength!)
4. Deadlifts (Technique is critical, but a fantastic whole body exercise, with a leg strength bias)
5. Kettle Bell Swings
Brilliant for leg, adductor and glute strength, power and endurance
6. Trunk Rotations
There are many ways to target this. On a ball, adds a nice balance challenge. Rotation weakness is a big issue for skiers.
7. Ball Bridges
Flat out, just one of my favourites for glute and hammy strength work. There is so much variety available with these.
8. Lunging Pull Throughs
This is only a small glimpse into the way we can replicate functional ski and snow board positions. But this is a great one for those who love telemarking!
PROPRIOCEPTION and BALANCE
There are endless opportunities when it comes to this element of your program. Depending on your ability, there can be a huge array of exercises to really target this. Proprioceptive exercises combine strength, control and endurance and can add a huge element to your on snow performance.
Here is a glimpse. Time, position, repetition, surface and resistance are all modifiable to suit everyone’s needs.
I hate to see people come back from a ski trip injured. Especially when so many injuries can be avoided by the right tailored approach.
Come in and get an assessment, determine where your risk may lie and get yourself a program and strategy to not only reduce injury risk, but to actually get more out of your body and your trip!