by Mike Giunta, DPT, CSCS >> Request an Appointment
It’s that time of year again! The snow is dumping and you’re excited about your next ski or snowboarding trip to the mountains. The only thing that can stop your fun? Injury. Most people are recreational skiers or snowboarders; they go to the mountain a couple times per year for fun, drinks and a great outdoor experience. Let’s be honest though – the majority of us have not been physically training for the slopes year-round and, while that may seem unrealistic for only a handful of times on the mountain, the problem is that without proper preparation for this type of activity, we can leave ourselves vulnerable to injury.
There are specific joint and muscle groups, including the ankles, knees and hips, that are important to build and strengthen for snow-based activities. Training these areas, and the muscles around them, to function properly is extremely valuable to prevent injury and consequently, improve performance.
Start with these warm up and cool down exercises. They can easily be worked into year-round workouts and stretching and will target multiple joints to give you the most bang for your buck!
Hip Rock back to Thoracic Rotation (2 x 10 reps)
Your upper body interacts with your lower through a system of muscles and connective tissue that should be activated simultaneously. Try this combined motion to work on hip mobility along with thoracic rotation.
Goblet Squat Leans for Ankle Mobility with Overhead Reach (2 x 10 reps)
Ever hit a bump on the snow and come down so hard that you feel your ankles jam into your lower leg? Have knee pain after hours of sending it down the hill? Lack of ankle mobility might be contributing to putting excess pressure up the chain and can expose your joints to potential harm.
90/90 Hip Stretch with Internal Rotation (2 x 10 reps)
Hip mobility may be the most significant step. Keeping your hips loose will give your low back extra room to move and the surrounding muscles will not have to work nearly as hard. Increasing your hip mobility and creating a strong foundation for external and internal hip rotation may be just what you need to avoid pain and improve resilience.
Try these out and let us know what you think in the comments section!