Fall exercises to prevent winter ski injuries - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Fall exercises to prevent winter ski injuries

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Tyler White has been working as an athletic trainer at isport in Killington since 2008.  "I like to help people and I like sports, so that's really why I like my job," he said.

White helps people recover from sports injuries -- some of them inevitably occur on the slopes. But some common sense can go a long way in preventing them. "People get hurt when they're fatigued. People get hurt when they ski outside their ability level and people get hurt when they're not paying attention," White said.

Having some extra muscle can help reduce that fatigue. And the best way to build up muscle is through exercise. "If we can make a connection in the gym to a connection on the hill, that's the best thing that we can do," White said.

White showed me a few simple exercises, designed to target muscles used for skiing. The first exercise targets your legs. "Bulgarian split squats like to start out with the calves on the bench -- just a good beginning position. I step my body forward, get my body weight over the front leg because it's a single leg squat, so I want it to be about this leg, not the back leg. I lift this leg back and that's all about balance -- just to hold and control your balance. My hips will be facing square. I'm gonna push down through my heel, get my chin forward, very ski specific, heel pressure down, and get myself right back up. Chest over that knee, stay forward, bring it back down, driving through the heel the entire time," White said.

White recommends doing 10 to 15 repetitions for 3 or 4 sets-- enough to feel the burn. You need more than just strong legs to ski, as it's a lateral sport, so next we look to the side lunge.
"Side lunge we start with a nice, tall position. I'm gonna fall onto my left leg here. I catch my body weight. This leg will stay long. You'll kind of feel a stretch here, but it's about the standing leg. It's about the lunging leg. I get my body weight over there/ My toe, my knee and my hip stay in alignment. This leg stays straight to lock that I push down through the heel and come right back up. Push down, look where I'm gonna be going down the hill, bring it back down. Stay inside so I can feel myself going through the turn. Push, push myself back up," White said.

After doing several sets of side lunges it's time to worry about the upper body.  We introduce side planks "Trying to get a straight line in your body. The heel all the way up through to your head. I'm gonna go to the side here, trying to mimic side motion. Like I said, skiing is a lateral sport. I'm gonna push down with this elbow to raise the hips up, staying aligned. I've got a straight line going all the way up through my spine into my legs, up to my ear...hold that position. Keep the hip up, hand on the hip for posture," White said.

If you're doing this right, you'll feel a pinch near your waist. Eventually, you can increase the intensity of these exercises by adding some weights to the mix. But the best tip might be to use your head.  "Being smart on the hill -- I think that's the long and the short of it -- smart on the hill. Watch out for other people, ski within your means and you'll have a good year," White said.

Follow these exercises and you might find yourself making some extra turns this season.

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