How to Stay Injury-Free this Ski Season
With Geoff De Jager
With the return of the Winter weather and the early season snow dumps in the Australian and New Zealand resorts, many people will be looking to shred and carve their way to snow sports glory over the coming months. And whether you’re into skiing or snowboarding, nothing ruins a much-anticipated (and expensive) snow holiday more than being forced off the slope through injury.
Why are skiing and snowboarding injuries so common?
Skiing and snowboarding are demanding physical sports that require a high level of strength, endurance and co-ordination. For most of us in Australia, that means performing an activity full-time for a week that we don’t do for the other 51 weeks of the year (at least!). If you haven’t prepared to an appropriate level, injuries can occur – especially to the knees, wrists and shoulders. So, the right level of training will not only help prevent injuries, it will also help improve your performance (and enjoyment!) on the slopes.
General conditioning for snow activities involves lower body strength and endurance, as well as “core” strength and fitness. Classic exercises such as wall sits can be combined with cycling, running, strength training and any other physical activity to achieve a really strong base. The question is…how do you step up from there to maximise your enjoyment on the slopes and return with your knees intact?
What are some exercises to prevent skiing and snowboarding injuries?
Exercises that improve balance and technique known as neuromuscular training (NMT) have been shown to reduce the likelihood of injury. NMT incorporates a combination of balance, plyometric strength and control to teach us to use our body in efficient and safe ways. For people who are already fit and strong, here are some useful advanced exercises to do prior to your trip:
1. Jump Squats
2. Lateral Skaters
3. Jump Lunges/Split Squats
4. Paloff Press & Rotation
So now that you feel ready to make the most of that fresh powder, make sure you do a warm up each morning (and after stopping for lunch) before your first run. And remember to ski or board to your ability.
If you need any further advice or assistance with your preparation, our Expert Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists are able to help with any further areas you may require. Also, for those of you that are interested in assessing whether your biomechanics are up to scratch, we now have a world-first testing laboratory on-site to analyse your movement and risks of injury. Our VALD testing centre can be accessed by booking in with a physiotherapist and letting our reception team know that you are interested in using the testing centre.