8 Easy Stretches to Prep for Downhill Skiing

By January 28, 2016Sports, Stretches

Ski Season is Here, Ottawa!

Ski season is here and if you love to hit the slopes, make sure you prepare for the demands of this winter sport. Whether you’re an athlete or weekend warrior, we recommend that you stretch to avoid minor aches, pains or a serious injury.

The most common injuries that we treat at Activa Physiotherapy Ottawa among skiers are torque-type injuries to the lower extremities (hip, knee, ankle joints and bones of the thigh, leg and foot). Twisting of the upper leg one way while the lower leg rotates in the opposite direction can result in tears to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which can be avoided by stretching in advance of physical activity.

Did you know that all of the major muscle groups in your body are used for skiing? While muscular strength improves your ability to relax when you’re skiing while maintaining control and make quick adjustments on uneven slopes and terrain, stretching key muscle groups will help to avoid injury. The best stretches for skiers focus on the lower extremities.

8 Easy Stretches for Downhill Skiing

No matter your level as a skier, the sport requires technical skills combined with physical strength, endurance and balance. Activa Physiotherapy Ottawa recommends 8 easy stretches before you strap in your ski boots to improve your strength and flexibility on the hill.

  1. Strengthening Wall Squat

    • Sets: 2
    • Repetition: 10
    • Hold: 5 sec.
    • Lean on wall, feet far enough from wall so knees don’t pass ankles when bending knees
      • Place ball or towel between knees and bend your knees to 45 degrees, keeping knee cap in line with 2nd toe
      • Return to starting position by pushing feet into floor
      • Maintain a neutral spine with shoulder blades on wall throughout exercise

Strengthening Wall squat

  1. Stabilization Step Down

    • Sets: 2
    • Repetition: 10
    • Stand up straight on top of a stool with your supporting foot facing directly forward
      • Lower the other foot in front of you and align the knee cap of the supporting leg with the second toe of that foot
      • Step down while maintaining that alignment
      • Return to your starting position by raising your foot back up onto the stool and repeat
      • NOTE: Control your supporting knee from going inward by squeezing your buttocks together

Stabilization Step down

  1. Stabilization Step Up

    • Sets: 2
    • Repetition: 10
    • Stand up straight with a stool in front of you
      • Place one foot on the stool facing straight forward
      • Align your knee cap with your second toe and rise up slowly onto the stool while maintaining this alignment
      • Return to your starting position by lowering your other foot slowly back down to the ground and repeat
      • NOTE: Control your knee from turning inward by squeezing your buttocks together

Stabilization Step up

  1. Stabilization Side Squats

    • Sets: 2
    • Repetition: 10
    • Standing with both feet wide apart with hand together in front
      • Lean to one side, keeping knee cap in line with 2nd toe and a slightly arched back (hips stick back)
      • Push through the heel to return to starting position and then repeat on other side

Stabilization Side squats

  1. Stretching Hamstring

    • Repetition: 3
    • Hold: 30 sec.
    • Lie on your back with your legs straight
      • Tie a belt or towel around the foot of the injured leg
      • Hold the other end of the belt in your hands
      • Lift your leg up keeping it straight and maintain the stretch by pulling on the belt with your hands
      • Maintain the stretch and relax
      • ** Keeping your knees straight pull your leg toward the opposite side to stretch the ITBand**

Stretching Hamstring

  1. Stretching Hamstring

    • Repetition: 3
    • Hold: 30 sec.
    • Stand with one foot on a stool in front of you
      • Straighten your leg and stick your buttock out to arch your lower back
      • Lean your body forward until you feel a stretch behind your thigh
      • Maintain the position and relax

Stretching Hamstring

  1. Stretching Quad

    • Repetition: 3
    • Hold: 30 sec.
    • Stand in front of a chair hold on to it with one hand
      • Grab the top of one ankle with one hand to pull foot towards buttock until you feel a gentle stretch on front of the thigh
      • Hold the stretch keeping lower back neutral and return to initial position
      • Tail bone tucked down and centre hips
      • **Use a belt or strap around your ankle to assist with stretch**

Stretching Quad

  1. Stretching ITB / Piriformis

    • Repetition: 3
    • Hold: 30 sec.
    • Sit with straight back and cross one leg over the other
      • Hold your knee with the opposite arm and pull your knee across your chest towards the opposite shoulder until you feel a stretch on the outside leg and/or buttock
      • Maintain the position and relax

Stretching ITB / Piriformis

Try these 8 easy stretches before you head for the slopes so you can enjoy ski season to the fullest! Contact us if you have any questions or need help designing an exercise program that’s right for you: 613-744-4188.