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:

Planks with Attitude; Shoulder Taps.

  • Why? Skiing isn’t just about legs. A strengthened core and muscle development in your shoulders, elbows and wrists can help stabilise your body and give you more control for protection.
  • What? Lie face-down on the floor with your palms directly under your shoulders. On an out-breathe, push through your shoulders, elbows and wrists to the top of a push up position: Hold it there, breathing normally. To progress; on each in-breathe lift on hand and tap the opposite shoulder, return on the out-breathe; repeat on both sides.
  • How? Keep your core tight and your body in a straight line from toes to the top of your head. In planks with attitude, keep your body still and controlled. When progressing to the shoulder taps do not rotate your body or hips; keep the movement to your shoulders, elbows and wrists.
  • When? Build up to being able to hold a still plank for two minutes before progressing to the shoulder taps, then aim for alternative taps for two minutes, two or three times a week.
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.