We know you train the big guns: quads, hamstrings, abs, lower back. But while those large muscle groups do the bulk of the work on the hill, they don’t operate alone. They need support from smaller stabilizing muscles to do their jobs right.
“If your supporting muscle groups aren’t strong, you have to change the way you ski to make up for the weakness,” says Dr. Paul Collins, an orthopedic surgeon, sports medicine specialist and avid skier based in Boise, Idaho. “Your body is amazing at doing that, but you always give up control.”
Expand your ski fitness workout regimen to include these secondary muscles and ligaments—inner and outer thighs, gluteus medius, calves, shins, ankles and feet—and you’ll ski with better form, more stamina and a lower risk of injury than ever before. Here’s how.
A lack of ankle mobility can compromise your knees because they’re forced to compensate.
Ankle mobility exercise: Start in an athletic position, then roll both ankles to one side as if edging your skis. Alternate sides for 10 reps each.
Ankle mobility exercise: Drive the knee forward with your front heel on the ground to increase ankle mobility.
Your calves help you flex and support your knees. But you should aim for muscle tone, not bulk, which can alter the fit of your boots.
Calf strengthening exercise: One-legged hops onto a step, which exercises the small stabilizer muscles and ligaments in your calf.
You use the muscles on the front of your lower legs to flex your ankles and angle your feet to pressure and edge your skis.
Shin strengthening exercise: AT raises on a step to strengthen the muscles along the front of the shin.
Your outer thighs help you steer; your inner thighs keep your skis from diverging. Both stabilize your knees and help prevent injury.
Thigh abductor/adductor strengthening exercise: Alternating leg rotations.
The gluteus medius—smaller and deeper-set than the gluteus maximus—stabilizes you when you end up on one ski and supports knee function.
Glute strengthening exercise: One-legged squats to strengthen the glute, quad and thigh muscles while also forcing your smaller stabilizer muscles to fire to help you maintain your balance.
Skiing can be hard on your feet so strong arches are key to avoiding foot pain.
This simple exercise can save your feet next season.
Written by SkiMag.com Editors for Ski Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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