It is hard to believe, but winter is right around the corner here in New England, and for many of us that means ski and
There is nothing I would rather do on a cold, blustery January day than hit the slopes with my
family and friends and enjoy the crunch of snow under my skis. Skiing is great exercise and tons of fun, but it can also
cause some serious damage to our muscles and ligaments if we are not careful in our preparation and recovery. Here
are my best tips to help you prepare your body for ski season and prevent injuries:
1. Train your lower body. Obviously, skiing and snowboarding are done mostly with your legs and core. If you
have not conditioned your lower body before the season starts, you may experience severe muscle fatigue that
can lead to soreness and injuries. Squats, front lunges, and lateral lunges are all great exercises to incorporate
into your workout routine to prepare for long days on the mountain. Be sure to use good form and go slow –
lower body exercises should be more focused on quality, not quantity.
2. Train your upper body. If you are an advanced skier on the blue or black diamond trails, you most likely use
your upper body just as much as your lower body when making turns and stops. That being said, even if you
are a beginner skier, conditioning your upper body is important to prevent injuries if you fall. When we fall, we
instinctively put out our arms and put a lot of weight on our wrists and biceps to stop ourselves from hitting the
ground; if you have not conditioned your arms before hitting the slopes, this could easily lead to a broken wrist
or torn muscle. Bicep and wrist curls – even with weights as light as 2 lbs – are great exercises to incorporate
into your routine to prevent this.
3. Stretch before you gear up. It can be easy to forget this step because of the hustle and bustle of loading,
unloading, packing, hauling, and putting on all the appropriate equipment needed for skiing; this can become
even more of a hassle with kids. Nevertheless, stretching is an important part of injury prevention, not just in
skiing but in our everyday lives. Take five extra minutes at the car or in the lodge to do some hamstring, quad,
back, and calf stretches; you will be happy you did.
4. Use a foam roller at the end of the day. It is not an accident that all of my clinics have a large variety of foam
rollers for patients to use; foam rollers are great tools for breaking up tight muscle groups, allowing for a faster
recovery time. When you get home after a day on the mountain, spend ten or fifteen minutes rolling out your
back, quads, hamstrings, and hips – you won’t have the same soreness the next day. This is especially helpful
if you’re planning on a multi-day ski trip.
Thank you for checking out this month’s edition of “Four Tips From Your Neighborhood Physical Therapist”. As always,
if you have any questions for me personally, I can be reached at 508-861-1010 or
Dr. Sean T. Lordan is a doctor of physical therapy and the author of “11 Winning Secrets To Stop Aging In Its Tracks.“
He is the owner of Concierge Physical Therapy with locations in Sutton and Shrewsbury.