Becoming aware of core strength and how to keep it activated whilst skiing. This helps deal with the pressure that skiing puts through the middle of your body. We’ll give you some practical ski-specific exercises to try.
So many skiers spend most, if not all, of their time skiing from turn to turn with very little or no middle body strength. If you ski with not much middle body and core strength you run the risk of allowing your hips (centre of your mass) to drop back during your turns. This puts you out of balance and leaves your body weight on the tails of your skis. Also when you’re skiing moguls and variable terrain you’ll often find that you’re constantly skiing into lumps of snow that cause there to be a sudden impact on the body. If your middle body is weak with no core activation, you’ll find your upper body collapsing forwards as your body breaks at the waist.
To ski with middle body strength you need to learn how to activate you core and develop overall middle body strength and endurance and balance. This can be done by focusing on strength building exercises for your lower back and stomach muscles and your transverse abdominal (core) group of muscles. Once you can become aware of how these muscles work you can then start to try skiing with them activated full time during your turns. This is not as easy as it sounds and work off of snow is required to achieve full time core activation. The main issues are:
a. Most skiers ski without middle body strength and full time core activation making themselves vulnerable when performance levels are pushed or the conditions get more difficult
b. Skiers can suffer from lower back compression injuries when skiing without a strong middle body
a. Core stability test This can be done by following some simple exercises given to you by professional fitness instructors
b. Using a pre ski Core activation exercise to wake up the middle body and rehearse the position to hold it in when skiing. The following explains a pre-ski core activation routine:
1. Lie on your back with your feet pulled towards your hips so that your knees are in the air. In this position use your hands to feel the gap in the small of your back. It’s a bit like an arch.
2. Using your middle body muscles, slowly activate the core and get rid of the gap in the small of the back between your lumber and the ground. Try to avoid pushing off your feet to help. It’s a progressive control that’s a bit like pulling your belly button way from your trousers.
3. Now you’ve gone from one position to the other, find the middle ground position between the two and hold this with the middle body muscles. With the position held slowly pull the foot of one leg towards the hips and then away from the hips repeatedly 5 times on each side. Repeat this 3 times.
4. If you regularly train your core, try lifting the leg off the ground with the position held and slowly lower the leg over 10 seconds. Repeat this 3 times on each leg.
This is a great way to train and rehearse activating the muscles that hold your middle body in the correct position for skiing.
Click here to watch the video explanation of core stability.