Make sure you get the best out of the ski slopes this winter season…. As with any sport it is a good idea to prepare…
It is important when heading on your first snow trip, or hitting the slopes after a long time (usually at least a year since your last ski trip), to understand which muscles you will be using and preparing them for the impact of long fun days on the slopes.
Sports Massage is ideal preparation to get the most out of your time on skis or snowboarding, to prepare and check in and with your body and to test for any muscle imbalances (tightness or weaknesses).
A thorough check of all the prime muscle movers of the legs and the core to assess for any imbalances, to treat and allow me to give you some exercise advice on where to focus movement, strengthening or stretches. This is ideally at least 4 weeks before you go.
Post-trip MassageWhen you return you may experience some muscle soreness, as we could be using muscles for a whole week, which we are not used to! So post skiing sports massage can help to reduce post-exercise soreness and inflammation and hence reduces your recovery time.
What muscles do we use for skiing and snowboarding?To help you prepare for your ski or snow boarding trip let’s consider the leg and core muscles involved:
Quadriceps (front of thigh) – from the moment you put on your boots in the morning your quadriceps are engaged as skiers are constantly in a bent knee position. Your quads flex your hips and extend at the knee, so this is the skiing position and they are used in every turn and stop. The quads support and protect the knees so strength here is important.
Hamstrings and gluteals – the hamstrings flex the knee so is constantly in use and the hamstrings are the opposing muscle to the quads. As you come out of a ski turn, you will be using these muscles to extend the legs (straightening a bit) through the hips and the knees (again using the quadriceps for this). These muscles also provide hip stability so are essential as a skier shifts weight from side to side, enabling us to perform a parallel stop.
Adductors (inner thighs) - keep the skis apart.
Calves – the ski boot position means our ankle is constantly flexed and the calves are constantly engaged in a lengthened position.
Core (abdominals and back) – as with every sport and movement your deep core muscles provide a skier with stability, balance, control and improved power. Your ability to turn the shoulders and hips enables you to make small movements to adjust in any direction, which improves your balance, and it enables stronger leg muscle movement. A strong core is essential to handle the lumps and bumps and our back prevents us from falling forward downhill.
Finally arms, using poles to move yourself along the flat, although hopefully you won’t be doing too much of that!
Snowboarding – is asymmetrical sport, as the two feet are glued sideways parallel on the board, and you are constantly rocking back from heel to toe to stop, start and turn:Calves – the shin, feet and our calves, enable the heel to toe action to control speed and direction and are constantly working
Quadriceps – again snowboarders constantly have their hips flexed and slightly knee bent position, meaning the quadriceps are constantly engaged and again supporting the knees.
Hamstrings and gluteals – are working hard in a lengthened position, as the knees and hips are flexed and forward and these muscles provide the hip stability and are active transferring weight to turn and carve
Core (abdominal and back) – the rocking motion from heel to toe, controlling the body moving forward and back, and pushing yourself up to start off all require strong control and balance.
Be prepared and you will get so much more fun out of your snow holiday!
Any questions please get in touch Email Nicky