Reduce Falling Over & Risk Of Knee Injuries While Skiing & Snowboarding

by Jo Pollard – jopollardphysio.com

Take a look at these 5 exercises and reasons why to add hamstring strengthening to your fitness programme

#ski fit #injury prevention #biomechanics #stronger #train smart

REASON 1: INJURY PREVENTION #ACL

Many of us (and rightly so) focus on exercises to our quads, as this is where we feel the burn when riding, especially in the pow right?  While this is correct and it is important to train these muscles, it’s also important to exercise the counteracting muscles; the hamstrings.  If our quads are too strong, or our hamstrings too weak, there is an imbalance.  This combined with the fact that the hamy’s act like a brake system which means that if we fall, twist or land awkwardly, we are more likely to cause injury to our knee if the hamstrings can’t counteract this quad contraction or adequately play its stability role.  This is of huge importance in avoiding an ACL injury and important to include in any programme post *ACL surgery/injury (*always seek physio advice for a specific plan)

REASON 2: BE MORE DYNAMIC AND EFFICIENT.

Our hamstrings contribute to stability, shock absorption and better movement patterns. Connecting our hips and knee joints, they provide efficient load absorption and power to be transmitted in our sports. Our hamstrings and gluts work together to provide strength and explosive movements, but also support what is known as our posterior chain.  In skiing and snowboarding, this would relate to us being able to maintain good posture, resist falling over and keeping upright in bumpy or unpredictable terrain.

REASON 3: WANT TO AVOID FALLING OVER AS MUCH?

Our hamstrings often work eccentrically, meaning they are lengthening whilst also contracting. 
This is especially important whilst running or kicking, or in the skiing
environment to help control our movements, especially if we feel we are going over the ‘handlebars’ – are hamstrings act like decelerators.

REASON 4: BE BALANCED – STRENGTH THROUGH RANGE

As well as being strong, our hamstrings need good length in them to optimally provide the qualities discussed.  If the hamstrings are tight, they can pull on your pelvis and cause biomechanical imbalances. You are at risk of this if you ski or snowboard for long periods, as you are nearly always working with a bent knee and therefore at risk of the hamstrings tightening and potentially straining.

REASON 5: BIOMECHANICS

Sorry ladies but this is aimed at us!  Women are more likely to have valgus collapse in their knees -meaning our physiology generally means our knee drops into adduction and internal rotation more easily (i.e. collapses in).  While skiing or snowboarding with our knees in a bent position our inside knee ligament (MCL) is not so effective at supporting our knees – our hamstrings (as well as other muscles of the knee), play a huge support and protection role to the knee ligaments.

There are of course many exercises, but give these 5 a go to get your hamstrings and glutes firing up…..

BRIDGE; start – spine neutral, core activated
BRIDGE; finish:  squeeze through your gluts to form a stable platform.  Rest on the heels for increased hamstring bias
ADVANCED OPTIONS; single leg +/- weight
RUSSIAN DEADLIFT; keep the knees relatively straight, but soft.  Hinge from the hips with chosen weight (barbell, kettlebell or a backpack filled up!).  Squeeze through the gluts and core to stand back upright
GYM BALL HAMSTRING CURLS; start-core engaged, hips off the floor maintaining a neutral pelvis, feet resting on the ball 
GYM BALL HAMSTRING CURLS; finish – maintaining the neutral pelvis use your feet to slide the ball away.  Repeat
REVERSE GLIDERS; start – find a slidy surface and place a tissue or towel under 1 foot
REVERSE GLIDERS; finish – slide the tissue backwards into a lunge.  Keep hips forwards and ensure front knee doesn’t go over front ankle (NB focus on feeling the hamstrings firing in the front stable leg)
RUNNERS REACH; start – core engaged standing tall on one foot, the other leg at 90 degrees
RUNNERS REACH; finish – reach forwards and out, keeping front knee soft and pelvis aligned towards the floor.  Drive through the gluts and hamstrings back to the start position
LANDING CONTROL; start on a step (stairs or the yellow pages)!
LANDING CONTROL; finish – drop and stick.  Try and land soft.  The aim is to control your knee – do not let it track inwards!
For power this exercise it can be progressed by landing and exploding straight up into a single leg hop

Start with low reps and sets i.e 4-6 reps x 3 sets, and build up as you gain strength and confidence.  As with any exercise it is important to fully warm up and seek further advice if you are unsure of any of the exercises.  Feel free to get in touch for advice and more ways you can prepare yourself for your sport or post injury programmes  

Coach’s Corner Nov 2019

Looking At Dealing With Poor Visibility

Head for the trees

In poor visibility, the shadows and definition from tree-lined pistes break up the whiteness and enhance visibility. Armed with this knowledge, you need not miss a day’s skiing. In fact, bad weather days can be some of the best, as you’ll often have the slopes to yourself.

Keep it real

Have realistic expectations about skiing in these conditions. Much can be gained from working on specific skills that are ordinarily neglected. You will reap the rewards on the next sunny day. Slow down and go for quality. Focus on rhythm, feeling your feet, and planting your poles. In very poor visibility, it is vital to look ahead and not down.  

Take control

Nobody enjoys poor visibility, but you cannot control the weather. Focus on the controllables. Your route is up to you and even in a total whiteout there are ways to navigate. Listen for the lifts to help orientate yourself, head to the side of the piste and follow the numbered piste markers, counting down to number 1. Making these types of choices and decisions will help remind you that you are in control of the situation.

Action

Head for the trees
Realistic expectations
Controllables

Coach’s Corner Sept 2019

Throughout the season we will be sharing top tips in Coach’s Corner that will help with some of the common issues skiers face on the mountains. Here is a taste of the topics still to come:

  • Skiing in poor visibility
  • Negotiating narrow paths
  • Coping on crowded runs

This article will look at dealing with the dreaded ice.

Who needs grip?

The belief that you should try to grip on ice is a widely held misconception. Trying to grip will usually result in you skidding, whether you mean to or not. Deliberately skidding is what you must do. Learn to love the ice, by choosing to skid, this way you can control your speed and direction. Remember, skidding is the correct technique for skiing on ice, so take control and choose to skid.

Loosen up

Tensing the upper body often causes you to lean back up the hill unbalancing you in the process. To stay loose and balanced, consciously relax how tightly you grip your poles. It is likely that you grip them very tightly when you encounter ice. Consciously loosen your grip and you will feel your entire upper body relax; maintain this as you tackle the icy sections. 

Search and conquer

To improve, you need to seek out the ice and practice (where you are comfortable to do so).  Although reading the terrain is something that comes with experience, everyone can stop and assess what lies ahead. Focus on what you can control. The route you take is your choice, so look for the ice and enjoy.

Actions

  1. Choose to skid
  2. Loosen your grip
  3. Go ice hunting!

Jan 27th 2017 Snow Conditions Val d’Isere Tignes

This week Clare is telling us all about the current snow conditions in Val d’Isere and Tignes…

Conditions On Piste Are Fantastic…Again

TDCski Coach Clare
Clare’s Report

Dustings of snow, Off Piste is good, can be wind effected, some good snow in the gullys.

Things are looking good for February.

Watch a honest and open summary of the current snow conditions.

If you are keen to see this seasons reports then be sure to watch out for them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Vimeo.

Keep Watching!!!

TDCski The Development CentreSki Lessons Val d’IsereSki Lessons Tignes

What’s New in the 3 Valleys?

This Summer sees a lot of work going on around the 3 Valleys with 3 new lifts going in.

In Mottaret the old fixed chairs of Arolles & Table Verte are removed along with the Combes 4-man chair. A new Combes 6-seater routed to the right of where it is now and with a mid-station exit to a new floodlit green run is being constructed. A new beginners area with a short Arolles drag lift are also being built.

Over in the Belleville Valley the occasional bottleneck of St Martin 2 is to be relieved with an upgrade to a 6 seater hi-speed detachable hooded chair with the old 4-man being moved to replace the old Bettex 2-man chair to now give access to the bottom of the Gros Tougne piste for direct access in to Les Menuires.

Watch La Société des 3 Vallées video animating some of the new upgrades

Are you Skiing in Courchevel, La Tania, Meribel, Motteret, St.Martin or Les Menuires?

Why not try a Private Development with TDCski in the 3 valleys this winter ?
There’s no better way to hone old and new skills than to take a 3 hour private development lesson with one of our BASI 4 coaches.
We can tailor each lesson specifically to your requirements and concentrate on your strengths and weaknesses to produce a better performance all over the mountain.
Lessons start at 9am or 1pm and are available at just 250€ for 1-4 people.
We can meet you in Courchevel, La Tania, Meribel, Motteret, St.Martin or Les Menuires.
To book contact [email protected]tdcski.com or call +33 6 85 88 05 91

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