By Alastair Crew, Head Trainer at David Lloyd Clubs
Each winter when we throw ourselves down the side of a mountain skiing or snowboarding, we are constantly fighting the effects of gravity. The physical demands of skiing/snowboarding, require us to be able to control and shock-absorb our body weight efficiently and dissipate the ground reaction forces in order to prevent injury. To achieve this, there are a couple of key areas you can focus on:
Your preparation for the slopes should include both eccentric and concentric strength training. It’s the eccentric quad strength that is the most helpful for knee joint protection.
Eccentric strength absorbs force (landing) and concentric strength creates force (jumping). I recommend watching our YouTube videos: Body and Core Strength for Skiing with Olympian Dave Ryding and Leg Strength for Skiing with Olympian Dave Ryding (produced in partnership with Snowsport England and SportPursuit) to see some great examples of how to do this.
Another key training focus should be our ability to move well and be mobile enough to maximise our time on the white stuff.
We can appreciate the importance of quad and hip strength, but improved hip mobility can be just as important. Excessive tightness in the hip flexor, rectus femoris and hamstrings can interfere with proper knee mechanics.
A decrease in hip mobility can transfer more forces to the knee. In other words, freer, more mobile hips will help you move better and help you stay pain free.
For more helpful demonstrations on this, you can also watch Active Recovery for Skiing with Olympian Dave Ryding.