Winter is in full swing and so is ski and snowboard season. For those of you who are hitting the slopes over the next few months, it’s time to take your body as seriously as your skiing. It’s also time to make sure your body is balanced and ready to go before bombing down the hill and weaving through the bumps.
Many people feel they turn better to one side. This is because turning to the left requires you to transfer your weight to the inside of your right ski. Your ability to transfer your weight from your left, accept it on your right, and keep the edge on your ski depends entirely on the function of your hips. Hip imbalance and uneven weight distribution results in both poor weight transfer and loading response, which ultimately leads to not very good skiing!
Try these exercises before you ski and you’ll notice a major difference in how you feel on the mountain. With better balance and hip function you reduce your chance of injury and you’ll tear it up out there!
Sitting Knee Pillow Squeezes
Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet pointed straight ahead and a pillow between your knees. Roll your hips forward to make an arch in your lower back and then squeeze and release the pillow with your knees. Do 3 sets of 20 repetitions.
Kneel on a large block or chair with your hands on the floor in front of you, with your shoulders directly above your wrists and hips above the knees. The hands should be place shoulder width apart with the palms flat on the ground and the fingers pointed straight ahead. Walk your hands forward about 6 inches and shift your upper body so that your shoulders are again over your hands. Your arms should be straight with your elbows locked and your hips in front of your knees. Relax your low back and allow it to arch by tilting your pelvis and collapse your shoulder blades together while dropping your head down. If your low back begins to hurt, bring your hips back so they are closer to the knees. Hold this position for 3 minutes.
Upper Spinal Floor Twist
Lie on your side with your shoulder underneath you, your knees and ankles stacked together, and bend your hips and knees at 90 degrees. Keeping the knees together, bring your top arm up and over towards the floor as you rotate your torso in the opposite direction of your knees. Breathe deeply and hold. Let your hand and shoulder continue to drop towards the floor. Turn your head towards your open arm as far as is comfortable. Hold for 1-2 minutes and then switch sides.
Lie on your stomach with your forehead and nose flat on the floor and the tops of your feet on the floor with your big toes touching and heels dropped out. Place your hands on some pillows or books that are about 6 inches high directly above your shoulders and lock your elbows and point your thumbs toward each other in a golfer’s grip. Rotate your thumbs to point at the ceiling with the movement coming from your shoulders and hold this position for 1 minute. Move your arms, while keeping them rotated, out to a 45 degree angle from your shoulders and hold this position for 1 minute. Next, move your arms out to a 90 degree angle from your shoulders, while maintaining the rotation in the arms from the shoulder, and hold for 1 minute.
Stand with your feet pointed straight ahead and hip width apart. Raise your arms straight out so they are level with your shoulders and your palms are down. Stick our butt back to place an arch in your lower back and bend your knees to lower yourself down while keeping your upper body straight. Hold this position for 1 minute.