Skiing and snowboarding place a lot of demands on the lower body. These activities require not only good balance but strong hips, knees, and ankles to navigate slippery and uneven terrain. Because you’ll be moving at a high rate of speed, you also may need to make sudden, explosive movements to avoid obstacles or compensating movements. It’s important to know the most common types of skiing and snowboarding injuries, as well as preventative exercises to help prepare your body for the tasks involved.
Common Skiing and Snowboarding Injuries
Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury
The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) connects the femur to the tibia. This is commonly injured in activities that require quick stops or changes in direction. ACL injuries might also occur when the knee itself becomes struck by an outside force. A “popping” sound or tactile sensation is common when this occurs.
Medial Collateral Ligament Injury
The MCL (medial collateral ligament) is in the same area and also connects the femur to the tibia. This is also often injured during similar activities.
Patellar Tendon Tear
A patellar tendon tear commonly occurs from a direct blow to the knee during a fall. It might also occur from repetitively overloading the knee while navigating uneven or rough terrain. These injuries can happen catastrophically during a single fall event or from cumulative wear and tear over years of activity, or any combination of the two.
Muscle strains can occur with any muscle group during skiing or snowboarding. However, they are most frequent in the lower half of the body due to these activities prioritizing these muscle groups. A muscle that suddenly or forcefully extends beyond its normal range of motion can experience strain. These strains can also come from underdeveloped or untrained muscles being overused and not being able to withstand the cumulative stress that has been sustained.
Top Four Exercises to Train and Prevent Skiing and Snowboarding Injuries
Skiing and snowboarding often demand responsive, strong muscles, especially since terrain can be unpredictable. Misjudging it can place a sudden, extreme demand on your muscles. Start by training your body under load in a safe, controlled training environment. This way, you can ensure it is prepared for those sudden demands when the time comes to act.
Squats are an extremely beneficial exercise that recruits every muscle group used in skiing and snowboarding. Start by focusing on the quadriceps and hamstrings. This exercise can help you push forward and exert the force needed to execute turns. During sudden movements, you may need to call upon your muscles to sustain or exert force far greater than under normal circumstances. Progressively training squats with higher weights will prepare you for those critical moments.
Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift
The single-leg Romanian deadlift (RDL) can help train legs individually for balance. Because terrains are often uneven and you may need one leg to pick up slack for the other, individually training each leg will ensure that they can function independently as well as in concert as they do with the squat.
Plyometrics are explosive movements that help train your body for the sudden stops and starts required in skiing and snowboarding. During plyometric training, you simulate those sudden movements by exerting a high amount of force in a short amount of time. This will help train your tendons and may potentially prevent an injury that may take months to recover from.
Bridges feature closed-chain kinetic chain exercises that, like squats, help train your gluteal muscles, which are the powerhouse of your lower body. By ensuring that your hip extensors are in good shape, you’ll be able to ensure that you can call upon that power when you need it.
Have you suffered skiing or snowboarding injuries? You might be understandably apprehensive about getting back to the sports you love. If you have any questions about preventing further injury or how to make your return safer and more enjoyable, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (570) 208-2787.