Get Ready for Skiing


Whether you are an expert skier or a beginner, it’s worth putting some thought into preparing for the season. Improving your strength and stability at home will have the benefit of improving your performance and helping prevent injury when you get onto the snow.

Common Ski Injuries

Often we see knee injuries from the knee twisting when falling over. Twisting and inwards (valgus) force knee injuries are very common for skiers to sustain due to how the ski twists when falling or in the case of a collision, someone else impacting from the outside. Several structures in the knee such as your MCL, ACL, and meniscus are susceptible to the loaded twisting movement that occurs. Some of these incidents will be too high energy to control, especially if the element of surprise overwhelms the knee. But with lower energy impacts or circumstances where you have some warning the ability of your muscles and your brain to control the forces around the knee can make all the difference.

The Importance of Strengthening Muscles

Improved muscle strength can enable the knee to effectively splint itself during falls and binding releases, and prevent injury to these important structures of the knee.

Strength exercises can also help prevent muscle fatigue throughout the day. Most of us don’t get to ski as much as we would like which means the body is thrown into a new movement for a lot of hours at a time. As the muscles fatigue, skiing gets harder, the chance of having a fall goes up, and the ability of the muscles to splint and support the fall goes down. Having more consistent exposure to the movements through some strengthening at home means the muscles will be able to maintain more strength and protection in your knees throughout the day, and you will likely enjoy your skiing more because of it.

Check Ski Bindings

Whether your binding releases properly or not can make the difference with a potential injury because the torque generated in your leg from the long lever arm of a ski is large. If you are looking at buying bindings it is worth paying attention to how effectively they release and in how many directions. Additionally, having properly adjusted ski bindings is essential, as excessively high settings increase the likelihood of overwhelming the knee during a release. When looking at injury prevention not only do you want to work on conditioning your body for skiing, but also controlling these kinds of external factors as much as possible.

What to focus on to get ready for skiing

If you’ve checked your bindings, and you now know how important strong muscles are, the next step is to start strengthening those muscles.

Considering how fall injuries happen when skiing translates directly into what areas of the body and exercises to focus on. There are 3 main requirements for a ski strength programme – leg strength, core strength, and dynamic balance. Each play an important part in skiing well and injury prevention.

Regarding leg strength, it is worth noting that while skiing is predominantly a sport where you are using both legs together, at the point of injury it is often about being able to balance and control the leg and ski in a single leg position. So include both double leg movements like squats, and single leg exercises too.

The goal for core strength is to provide a solid base for movement. Performance in almost any sport can be improved with good core stability as less uncontrolled movement in the torso means the body can generate more power quickly, control where its centre of gravity is going and overall fine-tune its control. In skiing the movement is often sideways so special attention to the obliques and getting the core to work together with the glutes and other muscles down the side of your body is important.

Finally, dynamic balance is all about how all this comes together, you need to be able to use your muscles exactly when you need them with the right amount of power and control to get out of a sticky situation. A lot of skiing is controlling sudden changes in movement and any practice in coordinating jumping, landing and twisting movements means you will perform much better when doing this while skiing.


Check out our next article ‘3 Exercises for Skiing‘ that outlines suggested ski exercises!

If you would like help to get ready for skiing with a personalised strength programme, or you have a ski related injury that needs attention, come in and see us at Ponsonby Physio.


Photo credit: Nicolai Berntsen

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