With everyone making the most of their winter holidays, we’re having a look at training for ski fitness with expert tips from Olympic physio Carl Petersen. Carl is a Partner and Director of High Performance Training at City Sports & Physiotherapy Clinic in Vancouver, Canada. He spent many years as the Traveling Physiotherapist for the Canadian Alpine Ski Team.
We know that on-slope activities can pose a high risk of injury if time isn’t taken to train in advance. And with more people on the slopes, the risk of collision is higher and snow conditions can become more icy.
During the winter season, Carl estimates that two out of every ten patients he sees will be suffering from some slope-side injury. The most common ski injuries are knee ligament sprains of the medial collateral or anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
These can be avoided by doing a good dynamic warm-up before making that first turn: ‘Always warm-up to ski and carve, don’t just ski and carve to warm-up,’ says Carl (and he should know, he was the team’s fitness coach and physio for 13 years!). ‘Doing simple exercises like leg swings or slalom jumps help work on your balance, plus core, hip, knee and lower leg strength and stability.’
To get in shape for the season ahead, follow the ABCD’s for winter season fun (Alignment, Balance, Core stability and Deceleration control).
Training for ski fitness – expert tips from Olympic physio
Here’s some exercises from Carl’s core stability DVD series that key in on the concept of the ABCD’s that will help your training for ski fitness.
Alignment ‘“ Since we spend much of the day seated or riding lifts, muscles like the hip flexors, hamstrings and anterior chest get short and stiff which can affect postural alignment.
Doing stretches that lengthen these areas and exercises that work on proper knee alignment will improve this. Stand tall, with shoulders square, and when bending or squatting keep knees lined up over toes ensures proper tracking and knee alignment.
Balance ‘“ Balance is a vital component of skiing and boarding. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, you may need to ‘train’ your balance reactions before hitting the slopes. By doing exercises like the leg swings or other exercises that challenge balance, you improve function.
Core Stability -You need a strong upper and lower core to form a stable platform for the extremities to work off of. The core muscles work in groups to help stabilize the pelvis, hips and trunk. Exercises that have a rotational component and work the core areas in three dimensions are best.
Deceleration Control -Deceleration strength in the quadriceps and gluteals is needed to control the gravitational pull down the hill. Turns often last about three seconds. Control your deceleration speed to slow the forces of gravity and finish the run safely. Exercises that work the quadriceps in a slow controlled manner such as squats and split squats are best.
If you enjoyed this glimpse into training for ski fitness and would like more expert tips from Olympic physio then check out his book Fit 2 Ski and DVD’s are available at www.citysportsphysio.com or www.fit2ski.com