It is no secret that the Reno-Tahoe area has some of the best skiing in the country. With 16 resorts just up the hill from Reno, there is a run for every skill level. Not to mention all the backcountry skiing opportunities in our area. While skiing can result in a host of injuries, the most common ones we see are knee ligament sprains and tears and lumbar strain. Just the general motion of skiing puts a lot of stress on your knees. The ACL and MCL are the most at risk for injury when there is a great amount of pressure or strain put on them, or if they move to an unnatural angle. We also often see lumbar strain injuries. Lumbar erectors get injured due to a lack of endurance training prior to getting on the ski run.

strong>How to prevent knee and back injuries while skiing

Strength is your friend when it comes to ski injury prevention. The stronger your quads and glutes are, the less likely you are to put undue stress on the knees. Form is also important in injury prevention. When you are skiing, keep your legs in tight so you can better control your range of motion. If your legs spread, that unnatural angle can create tremendous strain on your knees.

Leg Conditioning for Ski Season  

Before and during ski season, really work on conditioning your legs by doing squats, lunges, side steps, curtsy squats, and deadlifts. These strength-building exercises will help keep you more stable and in control as you are going down the hill. Not to mention, increased strength means increased stamina so you can get more runs in during the day. And as always, dynamic core is what makes or breaks your balance, so increase your core and balance work by putting a single leg and or both legs on a bosu ball or disc.

Single Leg Deadlift to Work Glutes and Hamstrings

How to Do a Side-Step with a Band to Work the Glutes

Work Those Glutes! 

One of the best exercises for glutes is bridges. Bridges are a complete glute and hamstring workout and you can modify them in many different ways to increase difficulty and range of motion. Having a strong bootie increases stability in the hips, which gives you more control when you ski and also helps improve posture and supports your core.

Bridge Variations for Glutes and Hamstring Workout

Back Strengthening Exercises  

Doing back strengthening exercises like a back extension on a ball can really help strengthen all the muscles in your back and help prevent lumbar injuries. Another good back exercise is the wood chop that primarily focuses on the muscles in the back, arms and shoulders. It is very important to do this exercise with proper form to avoid twisting and straining, which can cause injury. You can also increase your core stability and overall back strength and lumbar stablilization by doing wide pull downs with a squat.

Lifts and Chops for Back Stability

Wide Lateral Pull

Here’s hoping we have a heavy winter this year so that we can all get out and enjoy a long ski season. Getting in condition prior to hitting the slopes, and then staying in shape throughout the winter months will not only improve your skills, it will also help you avoid injury. For even more exercises you can do at home, visit our YouTube channel.