Vail Daily column: Pre-season prep prevents ski/snowboard injuries
Skiing and snowboarding are very physically demanding sports, as well as sports that have a high risk for injury. They are sports that require preseason preparation to make the most of our on-snow experience. We’ve all seen ads and information about winter conditioning programs, but I wonder how many of us know why these preseason sessions are so important? Simply staying in shape through the summer and fall sports and outdoor activities isn’t really enough.
Throughout the season your muscular and neuromuscular systems will be put to the test. Conditioning programs are designed to target specific areas for building strength, addressing balance, increasing flexibility and, ultimately, improving on-snow performance. Good programs also prepare muscles and joints for repeated use.
Thanks to a partnership with Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, the Vail Vitality Center takes ski and snowboard conditioning one step further. The Vail Vitality Center’s Olympic Ski and Snowboard Winter Conditioning program teaches participants about their bodies and how to prevent injury on the mountain through proven Olympic-style exercises. The program is uniquely designed to help you prevent a non-contact injury by increasing stability and mobility throughout your muscular system and joints before you get on the mountain.
The program features two key areas of focus; the first is knee stability. Both skiing and snowboarding are quadriceps dominant. While strengthening the quads is good, it is even more important to have strong hamstrings and glutes. Skiing and snowboarding both involve a lot of impact and force that should be sent through the hamstrings and glutes, as opposed to being absorbed by the quads. If you don’t train properly, your quads will take over, putting your knees in danger. In fact, studies indicate that about 40 percent of skiers and boarders encounter a non-contact ACL injury. We’ll help you learn how to use your body in the most efficient way possible, which will also help you avoid a season-ending knee injury.
The second area of focus is core stability and mobility. The core is not just the abdominal wall. The core is actually made up of all the muscles in the abdomen and lower back, as well as all the muscles that surround and support the hips. Our program keys in on stabilizing core exercises and progressive strength and power exercises. This combination vastly improves mountain performance.
As John Cole, the human performance director of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, says, “Olympic ski and snowboard athletes use this exact program to improve their strength and performance on the mountain, so why shouldn’t you?”
The Vail Vitality Center offers its Olympic Ski and Snowboard Winter Conditioning program through Nov. 21. For information and pricing, visit http://www.vailvitality center.com or call 970-476-7960.
Blake Gould is a Vail Vitality Center professional trainer and rehabilitation specialist. He received a degree in sports and exercise science from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa, with a minor in psychology. Gould helps implement the Olympic Ski and Snowboard Winter Conditioning program at the Vail Vitality Center.
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