Squat with poor technique to make you stronger on the slopes!
Snow has already fallen in Northern Colorado and ski season is fast approaching! Hopefully, you are in good ski shape and excited to hit the slopes. If you’re not in peak condition yet, it’s not too late to add a few simple exercises to your routine to help you perform your best on the slopes and help keep you injury free this season. Common exercises including squats, lunges, deadlifts, and planks are good for building a solid foundation to keep you strong on the slopes. It is also important to include single leg variations of the squat and deadlift. Performing only two legged squats and deadlifts might hide weaknesses you have. Our body is very good at compensating and you may not realize one side is doing more work than the other. This puts you at greater risk for injury and will limit your performance while skiing.
When doing these exercises with heavy weight it makes sense to keep your body in good alignment. However, you should also do these exercises with just your body weight or light weights with very poor technique. Good alignment when lifting heavy weights will help you get stronger and prevent injury. However, it also makes sense to strengthen your knees in positions that may not be considered optimal. There will likely be times when your skiing that your knee alignment may not be in the perfect position putting you at greater risk for injury. Strengthening your knee in various positions that may not be considered ideal will better prepare you for the times when your alignment isn’t optimal on the slopes.
Training letting your knees collapse in or allowing your knees to rotate will not only strengthen your muscles but will also strengthen your ligaments and cartilage. Most people know muscles gets stronger with stress. You probably understand if you strength train, your muscles respond by getting stronger. This rule also applies to the ligaments and cartilage of your knee. Stressing the ligaments and cartilage of your knee in a controlled manner will make them stronger. This means you are less likely to get injured when you stress them in an uncontrolled manner on the mountain.
The following video shows examples of how you can perform these exercises. It is important to progress these types of exercises slowly, especially if your knees are not used to being in these positions. Remember, controlled stress helps your tissues remodel stronger. Too much stress will lead to injury. Consult with your physical therapist prior to performing any of these exercises to help maximize your strength gains and minimize your risk of injury.
Dr. Terry Gebhardt is a physical therapist and hypnotist at Colorado In Motion