It’s a great workout all year round, obvs, but Pilates is especially good at preparing the body for skiing. That hard-earned core strength, flexibility, balance and control will all help you shoop-shoop in style.
It’s no surprise that injuries are common with skiers. In fact, there are around 10 000 individuals hospitalised each year with winter sports-related breaks as well as ruptures. However, preparing your body in the weeks before you hit the slopes may assist you with avoiding injuries and falls. It may also improve performance.
More particularly, skiers should do Pilates as this method is devised to strengthen and mobilise the body – exactly what you need for these types of sports. Even professional downhill alpine skiers do Pilates.
Common Skiing Injuries
Skiers run the risk of sustaining a host of different injuries. In particular the knees, where we’ve seen a lot of tears of the:
- Anterior crutiate ligament (ACL),
- Medial collateral ligament (MCL), and
Pilates assists skiers with really focusing on a dynamic and full range of motion as well as the strengthening of the hamstrings. This can help to balance overused quads as well as serve as back-up support for the ACL. Exercises which emphasise the adductors can help a skier’s recovery from catching an edge or keeping the skis under the centre of the body, thus reducing the stress on passive structures such as the MCL.
In addition, closed chain exercises (where the foot is in contact with bar/strap/board/floor) can assist simulate proper muscle recruitment and timing as well as offer functional applicable movements for skiing. Using specific exercises to focus on VMO (vastas medialis oblique of the quadriceps) and glute medius are important for proper patella (kneecap) tracking and stability of the knee and hip joints.
Pilates Moves To Help
Bicycle Crunches (Develops Core Control)
This move strengthens your abs and obliques. This means better posture as well as more control of those planks on the end of your feet:
- Lying supine on a mat with a neutral spine, lift your legs in near you with your knees bent as well as shins parallel to the floor.
Hamstring Stretch (Flexibility)
Stretching your big leg muscles is extremely important – you’ll be taxing your quads and hamstrings all day on the slopes:
- Lying supine with neutral spine and both legs bent, loop a resistance band or scarf around one foot and then straighten the leg towards the ceiling until you feel a gentle stretch in your hamstring.
- Taking deep breaths increases the stretch by slowly bringing your leg in near you, aiming for a 90-degree angle to your body. Repeat with both of your legs. Hold for at least a minute on each side breathing into the stretch.
- With your fingertips touching your temples, gradually lift your head and shoulders off the floor. The movement should come from your abs and not your neck.
- Exhale and bring your left leg in and your right elbow to meet it. Twist your body and then swivel to switch. Repeat 10 times changing sides.
Want to learn more about Pilates? If you do, then need to do our Pilates Instructor Course. Find out more by following this link.