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Preparing for Ski Season
Christina Saia, PT, DPT, NASM-CP

With ski season approaching, it is really important to evaluate your readiness to return to this high-level sport! 

Alpine skiing places a large muscular demand on the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal muscles, calves, and foot intrinsic muscles (1). These muscles are often used eccentrically during skiing, which means the muscle is lengthening while it contracts (1). In addition, the muscles of the core and back are essential for maintaining trunk control during this sport (2, 6). There is also a high demand on the cardiovascular system in alpine skiing (2, 3, 4). 

Research shows that optimal and personalized strength and cardiovascular training help prevent injuries related to alpine skiing (2, 5). At POST Physical Therapy, we can conduct a return-to-sport program for the involved systems during this extreme sport. These programs will include examination and treatment of any underlying injuries or dysfunctional movement patterns. They will also include preparation of all involved systems to prepare for optimal performance during alpine skiing. 

Listed below you will find some sample exercise considerations for targeting each component of skiing. Please be advised that these are general guidelines supported by research; this is not medical advice. There are modifications including progressions and regressions for each exercise below that would help meet each individual at their current performance level. Please see your physical therapist at POST Physical Therapy for a personalized treatment approach that fits your specific needs best! 

Some examples of exercises to improve muscle performance and trunk control: 

Hip Hinges / Romanian Deadlifts: 

 

 

 

Side Plank Leg Raises: 

 

 

 

Half Kneeling Lat Pulldown: 

 

 

 

Single Leg Eccentric Squat: 

 

 

 

Some examples of exercises to improve plyometric capabilities: 

Skater Jumps

 

 

 

Squat Jumps 

 

 

 

Cardiovascular Health:

The American Heart Association recommends getting “at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both, preferably spread throughout the week” (2, 3, 4, 7)

References 

  1. Flanagan T. (2012, June) Muscles involved in Alpine Skiing. https://my.usskiandsnowboard.org/sites/default/files/documents/athletics/alpine/2011-12/documents/TrainingMuscles.pdf
  2. Hébert-Losier, K., Holmberg, HC. What are the Exercise-Based Injury Prevention Recommendations for Recreational Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding?. Sports Med 43, 355–366 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-013-0032-2
  3. Heinrich, D., van den Bogert, A.J., Mössner, M. et al. Model-based estimation of muscle and ACL forces during turning maneuvers in alpine skiing. Sci Rep 13, 9026 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-35775-4
  4. Metin Polat, (2016) An examination of respiratory and metabolic demands of alpine skiing, Journal of Exercise Science & Fitness, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesf.2016.10.001.
  5. Howorth B. Skiing injuries. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1965;43: 171–81.
  6. McGill S. Core training: evidence translating to better performance and injury prevention. Strength Cond J. 2010;32(3):33–46.
  7. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults
  8. Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skiing