We look after hundreds of people who are taking part in some form of sport at some level, from hard training triathletes, those cracking the Green-man run to those who only want to take on low-impact aerobics. It is great that they are doing these things but the challenges do lead to injuries from time to time. This is where our sports injury therapists come into their own. They are great, they understand their business and can help repair you but best of all help prevent it happening in the firt place.
Here are some points they’d like to bring out to help you in your next venture:
Ben Tolson, Katie Breeze and Elly Nashat write:
Any article on how to prepare for a ski trip has to bear in mind that the reader will have a massively wide range of factors that’ll effect how they ski: their experience, style of skiing (from the blast down the mountain to the sit in the restaurant styles), type of skiing and their current fitness levels and the rest. On this page we’ll assume that you are reasonably fit and reasonably good (black run level) but the novice still needs to be doing the same sorts of things – and possibly more so, if you are to get the most out of your ski trip.
But why; why do we need to do all this stuff? Two main reasons: the first is that it will let you get even more out of the few, expensive days of your precious ski holiday and secondly, it’ll stop you injuring yourself and we think these are pretty compelling reasons to prepare well.
Remember, the first rule of ski club is: you can’t start too soon. The season is looming so now is the time to start preparing.
The first thing to concentrate on is you core stability. Now piles of rubbish are talked about core work so what you need to be looking for is a decent ‘cat and camel’ stretch followed by some bridges/planks and eventually some side planks. We suggest that you check our web page on ‘Core Stability and Rehab’ for some consolidated core stability advice.
Then start some cardio vascular training. It is easy to forget just how physical a whole day’s skiing can be; even with a lengthy lunch stop during an average day on the slopes will you will do 4 to 6 hours of sustained physical activity. Add to that the thinner air, so less oxygen available for your muscles and you are also working harder than you do in the office (except the restaurant skiers amongst you) so your muscles will fatigue faster. This will mean that you can’t enjoy the trip as much because at the bottom of every run you are a shuddering, sobbing, wreck.
So, now is time to start improving your all-over CV fitness. You need at least a base of 4 weeks worth of CV training to get ready for the trip.
Second rule of ski-club – stronger is better. For downhill skiing the emphasis should be on core and leg strength but strength only once the core is good and the CV is beginning to improve. What we are after here are exercises performed with the knees together – so a variation of squats, lateral hops and jumps and my ‘fave’ the ghost or phantom chair wall sits.
First, find a slippy wall – a rough stone wall will just hurt you! Lean against a wall with your feet about 20 inches in front of you and slide down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor, your shins should be completely upright at this point (so ankles at 90 degrees, knees at 90 degrees and hips at 90 degrees). This should end up with you in a sitting position but with no chair – hence the name. Start with holding this position for about 10 seconds, however, we are aiming for 2-3 minutes before you hit the slopes – good luck!
Now, skiing is not an evenly weighted sport and sometimes one leg has to take all of your weight so you must get to this point before you go: get into the phantom chair position and then place the leg you are going to work toward the mid-line of your body to increase your balance. Lift the other leg off the ground slightly and push back up with the other till you are standing – even writing this has made my legs ache. You can also try lowering yourself with one leg and then lifting back up with both or hold in the sitting position and then, alternately, lift one leg and then the other as you hold steady for as long as you can. It’ll hurt but it’ll pay huge dividends.