Knee Strengthening Exercises - Getting Your Knees Ready for Ski Season
The most common ski injuries occur to the knees. Pre-season knee strengthening exercises are the best way to avoid potential problems on the slopes.
Protecting the knee ligaments
The most common injuries on the slopes involve the important knee ligament called the anterior cruciate ligament (the ACL). To protect the ACL, focus on strengthening your hamstrings BEFORE you hit the ski slopes. When strong, the hamstrings (the three large muscles in the back of the thigh) will take stress off of the ACL as you maneuver your way down a hill
Click on the following link to see a good hamstring strengthening exercise called “bridging on a chair”, or check out the Strong Knees DVD.
Strengthening The Hips
When you are skiing, your hip and butt muscles need to be strong in order to protect your knees. These muscles keep your pelvis stable and, therefore, keep your leg and knee in proper alignment. Weakness in the hips and butt muscles will cause the pelvis to tilt and the knee to roll inward.
The following link is a good hip strengthening exercise called "clams" or check out the Strong Knees DVD.
Protecting the knees with leg stretches is also important.
Everybody knows that strengthening the quadriceps muscles at the front of the thigh will help prepare you for ski season. Just remember, however, that after you do your wall sits (or whatever exercise you choose to strengthen the quads), stretching is just as important. Maintaining proper flexibility in the quadriceps will keep the muscles working optimally on the slopes and off.
Have fun on the slopes!
About the author: Physical therapist Chantal Donnelly, specializing in knee pain relief management, offers this article on knee strengthening exercises for ski season to prevent injury. Contact Chantal for more instruction.