Are you ready to ski? Skiing season is upon us once again and many skiers of varying levels of fitness will be heading off to the slopes!
Without stating the obvious, being at least decently fit will help avoid many of the injuries that are so prevalent with this alpine sport. Even advanced skiers who have been sitting around playing Wi Fit up until now are still susceptible to the \”fatigue related\” ski injuries when they hit the slopes. This means that they are great first thing in the morning on the slopes, but as the day goes on and the legs are tiring, and the slopes are getting mushy, they are more prone to catching an edge on that mogul and suffer low back and lower extremity injuries.
So for those of us who want to be proactive and who would like to do a self-assessment on their biomechanical faults that may predispose them to a skiing injury- read on.
Self-assessment for ski readiness
Hop and stop test. Stand on one foot and hop forward onto the other foot landing about a meter in front with the knee bending to around 20-45 degrees to absorb the impact. Don\’t land stiff legged or collapse into a full squat. You need someone to video you from the front, so you can replay and watch what your knee is doing. What you are looking for are the following points that may highlight you have an issue with that limb:
Does the knee look like it stays over the foot (ideally it should stay centered around the third toe) or does it cave inwards and inside the big toe? If yes, then you may have serious hip abductor and hip rotator issues that need to be strengthened.
Does the knee wobble inwards and outwards multiple times or do they look solid in the side to side wobble? This may represent a balance/proprioceptive fault.
Side plank test. In this test the skier holds a side plank position for as long as possible. The average is usually around 35 seconds. Any worse than that, the skier may have poor lateral core and abdominal stabilization in the trunk and also in the pelvic and buttocks such as the gluteus medius muscle.
10 second balance test. Self-explanatory. Are you able to stand on one leg for no less than 10 seconds with eyes closed without losing balance. If this is not possible then it may really predispose a skier to a nasty ankle or knee injury due to poor balance mechanisms.
So skiers need a combination of not only good Cardio fitness and some luck, but also a decent hip muscle and knee muscle complex to absorb the forces acting on the knees during skiing, underpinned by good balance and lateral core stability to stay on their feet when they catch an edge and potentially fall over and twist the knee. The above tests give the skier at least something to look for to assess their ability to be \”ski fit\”
If you have any questions about any of these tests or want a personalized exercise program to have you \”slope ready\” simply give us a call and we will have you on the expert trails in no time (…. or at least on the Bunny Hill!! lol)