I Focus on the Pain.

pop quiz: the lyric above is from what song and artist? clue: these guys need one helluva manicure or a big hammer to prevent it getting progressively worse.

All of us want to get through the ski-season, and indeed life, without suffering pain or injury. Read any article, by anyone who knows what they are talking about, and I guarantee they will all advocate improving your strength, balance and flexibility to avoid injury.

Wherever in the world you do your skiing, the most common injuries from snow sports are:

  • Hitting your head on the slope following a fall and getting concussion.
  • Twisting your knee as you fall with skis or a board and damaging your ligaments.
  • Covering your body with bruises as you bump and roll down a slope; base over apex.
  • Fracturing or breaking wrists, shoulders, collarbones, shins and ankles as you land awkwardly.

To avoid a trip to A&E, it makes sense for all of us to spend a little time, two or three times a week, every week, focused on our strength, balance and flexibility. Try this one:

Dead Leg Lifts.

  • Why? Knees give out. You can’t ski without knees. Strong hamstrings can support your knee ligaments to protect your joints.
  • What? Stand on one leg, arms by your side. In one movement, on an out breath; hinge forward at your hips, lift your free leg backwards and move your arms above your head. Your fingers, head, hips, free-knee and free foot should all remain in a straight line. Hold position for an in-breath, return upright on an out breath. Repeat, standing on the other leg.
  • How? Make sure you maintain a neutral spine and an engaged core throughout the movement. Bend at the hips as far forward as you are able whilst staying in control.
  • When? Build up to doing two sets of ten (on each leg), two or three times a week. As the exercise gets easier and you get close to vertical, try rotating through your hips to the left and right on out-breaths.
pop trivia: The lyric is from ‘Hurt’ by ‘Nine Inch Nails’, a single from their album ‘Downward Spiral’, released in 1995. In 2002, ‘Johnny Cash’ released a critically acclaimed version just months before his death.