How To Improve Skiing Technique
Skiing Tips for Advanced Skiers
As 2019 comes to a close, ski season draws ever closer and some of us may have even already booked our ski holidays for 2020. This blog is for anyone planning to go skiing soon, whether a seasoned professional or going for the first time. Here, we aim to demonstrate the importance of physical preparation for your ski holiday. In the first blog of this series last week, we saw coach Sam introduce some movement patterns that we often see when skiing, and some specific beginner to exercises you can perform within these movement patterns to set the foundations of the capacity to train, strengthen the body and progress towards better skill acquisition of movements to utilise on the slopes. Today, we are going to progress on from these exercises in order to help you improve at skiing and be competent on the slopes.
THE VIDEO: How To Improve Skiing Technique – Ski Tips For Advanced Skiers
Skiing Exercise 1- Squat Pattern Progression
When skiing, we are often in a quarter to half squat position. Subsequently, the lower extremities (quads, calfs, glutes and hamstrings) need to be durable due to the repetitive nature of skiing, and also require strength in order to absorb force and hold positions. Therefore, a good exercise to complete that progresses on from the previous exercises would be a barbell half squat. Initially, this can be completed to a box, as the box will act as an external cue to get to the right depth but this box can then be removed as a further progression over time which, would demand more awareness and control of the lowering part of the squat. We recommend performing this exercise for 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions to get a good stimulus for adaptation.
Skiing Exercise 2- Single Leg Knee Flexion Progression
When we set up on the ski’s themselves, each foot goes on a separate ski, meaning each leg is required to move independently of one another so they can each have an impact on how a task is performed on the slopes. This shows a need for single leg (unilateral) work to firstly increase the strength capability on one leg (which can also iron out imbalances between limbs) but will also aid the proprioception of each limb. Skater squats are a fantastic progression exercise which work single leg squat technique and strength. This exercise can be further progressed by increasing the range of motion of the skater squat or adding load to it, or both. We would prescribe performing this exercise for 3 sets of 10 reps per leg.
Skiing Exercise 3- Hip Hinge Pattern Progression
The upper back, lower back, glutes, hamstrings and calves are all important postural muscles and will provide us with the necessary stability and control we need out on the slopes. Hip hinge movements such as the Romanian deadlift (RDL) are the most appropriate exercises to strengthen these muscles simultaneously. Once you have mastered the variations of hip hinge exercises highlighted by coach Sam in the previous blog video, we suggest progressing onto the barbell RDL variation shown in the accompanying video to this blog. Add 3 sets of 12 repetitions of this exercise to your training to help you get stronger for skiing.
Skiing Exercise 4- Core Bracing and Anti-Rotation Pattern Progression
Last but not least, is our series of progressions from the previous blog is the core bracing/anti-rotation element. Now, whilst every exercise that has been mentioned previously has a core element to it this section, is looking at specifically isolating the core. Previously, Sam went over a dead bug, which is a bracing exercise. Bracing specifies keeping the hips and lumbar spine in a neutral position, as this is the most efficient position to be in to perform optimally. The exercise we have provided here to progress is the ab rollout. Here, the idea is to ensure this neutral hip/lumbar position as we extend out (only go as far as you can maintain the position). The other exercise Sam demonstrated previously was the Paloff press which is an anti-rotation exercise, using the core to prevent twisting from side to side. This is a fantastic exercise for that as skiing requires the lower extremities to move separate to the upper body. The progression here is the Bottom Squat Paloff press. This exercise incorporates a deeper squat position for the movement, making our position more unstable, and therefore creating a greater emphasis core/trunk control and also will mimic the slightly flexed position of skiing.
Skiing Exercise 5- Introduction to Plyometrics
As well as the above exercises, skiing requires the ability to produce and absorb forces. Low level plyometric jump and lands help to work on exactly those skills. First, we shall be looking at landings, as we must learn to land before we can jump. Drop and lands, highlighted in the accompanying video, are a great basic introduction to the ability to land and absorb force. Look to perform 3 sets of 5 reps of these in your training to start improving your force absorption capabilities before progressing further. Once you are extremely competent at this skill, then you can look to challenging this more, by increasing the height which you drop and land from, before then challenging with the single leg variation, all of which are shown in the video for this blog. In terms of learning to produce power, we recommend performing vertical jumps such as box jumps, and horizontal jumps, such as broad jumps. Over time and only once competency is established can we then look to progress these to single leg variations also. Finally, to supplement this, skiing is not just a linear sport. Not only do we move forwards and backwards but we also move laterally, or side to side. Skater hops are a great exercise to replicate the outside leg push that we so often see when skiers turn whilst navigating their way down the slopes. Look to perform 3 sets of 3 repetitions per leg on this exercise for great results.
This blog has revealed an ample number of progressions from our previous blog of different movements that can aid ski preparation, ensuring the body becomes more robust, enabling more control when skiing. Be sure to check out the previous blog to set the foundations of strength, capacity and movement skills, before progressing onto any of the exercises demonstrated here in this blog. Spend a sufficient amount of time working through these movements in order to be physically prepared for the quite dangerous and demanding sport of skiing, to make sure you stay safe and have a great holiday.