Every year the team at Elemental health deals with injuries resulting from skiing and snowboarding accidents. This year we would recommend you ensure that you are well-prepared and minimise the risk. In terms of preparation just about all movements in daily life and any given sport can be broken down into basic movement patterns called Primal pattern movements*. Unless you are an elite or very advanced skier or boarder, it is important to start with the basic foundational movement patterns before trying to do advanced, multidirectional movements. For example, skiing or boarding downhill requires the foundational movement pattern of squatting. That’s the position you are in for most of the time you are on a run. When you add in turning you are doing a twisting pattern. Skiers will also perform some sort of side lunge at some point on a run especially as speed increases. Therefore, it is important to train these movement patterns individually before combining them together.
In Australia, most runs last about 2-5 mins depending on how experienced you are, the length of the run etc. So, you should focus on strength endurance with your exercises. Start small and build up the number of repeats (reps) that you do.
Start with 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps. Each rep should be 4-5 seconds. Then take 1 minute rest in between each set.
Over the next few weeks maintain the number of sets, but build the repeats up to 30.
Please note. These exercises are based at a foundational level. They are simple and straight forward and are aimed at people who may not do much exercise. If you are unsure whether an exercise is suitable for you please check in with the osteopaths in clinic.
The exercises are divided into 2 categories:
You are a beginner if;
1. You haven’t skied or boarded before or have only done so on a few occasions
2. You haven’t been doing regular resistance training ie weight training or have less than 1year experience of doing resistance training
You are advanced if;
1. You are a regular skier or boarder
2. You have been doing resistance training regularly (3x per week) for at least a year
1. Basic body weight squat Beginner
Stand with your feet approximately shoulder width apart, so that they are comfortable. Bend at the knees and hips as if you are going to sit down on a chair. In fact, if you have never done squats before, placing a chair behind you can offer some safety as you learn the exercise.
Start off doing half squats. When you are happy with these, progress to going lower down. But always maintain a flat back by sticking your bum out and keeping your chest up. Stand back up straight to the starting position. As you get stronger you can add in extra weight by holding something eg dumbbells, kettle bells or if you don’t have access to these then something else you have around the house like a heavy book.
Do the same body weight squat as above but do it standing on a piece of balance equipment called a BOSU. If you don’t have a BOSU you could use a couple of your couch cushions. The idea is to do squats on an unbalanced surface. Have the BOSU with flat side down and round side up to start with. As you get better, you can add weights such as kettle bells or dumbbells. Alternatively, you could turn it over the other way and stand on the flat side.
2. Wood chop
Note: if you have any low back issues or pain, please come in and get a check up with one of our osteopaths before proceeding with this exercise.
Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Rotate your body side to side using your legs and shifting your weight to each side. Start using your own body weight with your arms crossed over your chest.
This probably won’t feel very difficult but focus on getting good rotation through your whole body. The key is not how hard it is but on building up the reps over time ie up to 30 If you feel comfortable doing 30 reps slow, then increase the speed and do the exercise for time eg 1 minute, then 2 etc.
When you are comfortable doing this, put your arms out in front of your body, hands clenched in line with your chest and do the same exercise.
Do the same as above but hold a weight. A medicine ball is ideal because you can hold it easily. But you can use anything that has some weight to it ie dumbbell, kettle bell or anything else you can access at home. Start with the weight close to your body and build up the reps and the speed at which you do the reps.
When you are comfortable with this, put your arms out in front of your body and go back to slower movements and build up again.
3. Alternating Side lunge
Note: if you have any knee issues / injuries, please come in and get a check up with one of our osteopaths before proceeding with this exercise.
Then progress to holding a weight out in front of you and rotating your body to the side you are stepping.
Next stand with feet wide apart and, without moving your feet, shift your weight side to side into a lunge position.
As you improve, you can do this at faster speeds.
1. These exercises are working on basic movement patterns.
2. Start slow and build up.
3. Give your body time to rest in between sets and between days, especially if you are a beginner.
4. Listen to your body and adjust the exercises as you need to.
Have fun on the slopes.
* The term Primal Pattern Movements was developed by Paul Chek in his book “How to Eat, Move and be Healthy”