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TOP FIVE EXERCISES BEFORE YOU HIT THE SLOPES

By Physio Phebe
Posted 21 July, 2018

Roller exercise
Plank exercise
Single leg balancing exercise
Knee Plank exercise
Chair raise exercise
Camping
Warming hands

We all want to get the most out of our day on the slopes, but of course those last runs when your body is tired are always the most risky. So how can you minimise your chance of injury this season and enjoy a full day on the slopes? Get snow fit first.

Building strength in the specific muscles you use when skiing and snowboarding is key, but so is improving your balance and joint mobility. My top 5 pre-season exercises for snow sports are: 

[1] BRIDGES
Having strong glutes will help to decrease load through your knees and provide a stable base for your lower back, and bridges are a great way to target them. 

How to instructions:

  • Start lying flat with knees bent and feet hip width apart
  • Lift hips while squeezing bottom muscles (glutes)
  • Pause at the top, then slowly lower
  • Repeat 15 times

[2] CHAIR SQUATS
Chair squats target all of the key leg muscles and are a good starting point for learning proper squatting technique.

How to instructions:

  • Start seated in chair with hands on hips or out in front
  • Push through heels to stand up tall, squeezing bottom muscles (glutes) at the top
  • Sit back down slowly, without “dropping” down into the chair
  • Repeat 10 times

[3] KNEELING PLANKS
Having a strong core is important for a stabilising your trunk and the traditional plank is still one of the most effective core exercises.

How to instructions:

  • Start kneeling with your hands under shoulders and knees under hips
  • Lower your body down so you are resting on your forearms (shoulders over elbows) and your hips are inline with your knees and shoulders (without arching low back)
  • Aim to hold for a minimum of 30 seconds each attempt and make more challenging by performing on your toes
  • Repeat 3 times

[4] SINGLE LEG BALANCE
Given the snow conditions can be quite variable, it’s important to improve your proprioception (the sense of knowing where your body parts are in space) and balance. The simple way to do this is to practice standing on 1 leg with your knee slightly bent. 

How to instructions:

  • Aim to balance for at least 30 seconds each attempt and make it harder by closing your eyes or standing on a pillow or wobble board
  • Repeat 3 times each leg

[5] FOAM ROLLING 
Having good hip, knee and ankle joint mobility is important for good technique and minimising fatigue. A foam roller is a useful tool to help decrease tension in muscles that may be restricting joint mobility, but be aware it’s often not a very enjoyable experience! 

How to instructions:

  • Apply firm pressure while rolling over the muscles on the back and front of your thigh, back and side of your hip and back of your shin (hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes and calves)
  • Use your arms and other leg to balance yourself during the rolling however you feel comfortable
  • Roll for 30 seconds over each muscle group as tolerated

I recommend you start with 1 set of each exercise, 4-5 days a week. Increase to 2 sets in a row (with 1 minute rest in between) when you are able to complete 1 set with minimal effort. If you find any of the exercises difficult or are unable to complete the recommended number of each exercise, I recommend you see a physio for a more individually tailored program.

ABOUT PHYSIO PHEBE

"Physio Phebe" is our go-to for injury prevention and management advice for all things snow sports. Based in Bright, she is a director of Ovens Valley Physio & Pilates, who also service Hotham over the season. Following her love of alpine and action sports, Phebe works with Olympic athletes in skiing and mountain biking and is highly sought after to provide physio services to international teams and events.

SEE HER BLOG

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