Written by Paula Lester
With the Winter season fast approaching, it’s a much-anticipated time for skiers and snowboarders to get outside and hit the slopes!
Whether on the mountain for fun or as a competitive athlete, it is essential to train your body to ensure the best performance, but most importantly, to be injury free.
Of course, doing cardio and plyometric exercises will help your endurance while on the mountain, but there is one style of exercise that will hands down change your body for the better while drastically improving your performance. This exercise is also crucial in injury prevention and rehabilitation. Invented by a strong male athlete and adopted by dancers around the world, Pilates is a practice that teaches proper movement of the body.
So, what does proper movement mean for skiers and snowboarders, and why would Pilates help?
While navigating the twists, turns and bumps of the trail, skiers and snowboarders require strength, balance, control and proper posture. Most often, skiers are very dominant in their quadriceps and have forward posture due to the bodies’ position while racing down the hill. This posture and the lateral movement required of the sport leads to knee and lower back injuries. This often happens because the core of the body is not strong enough and the posterior glutes and hamstrings are not firing properly.
Pilates teaches the student how to move from the Powerhouse or Core. This mind/body awareness is so important in order to recruit muscles correctly and to not overstrain or compensate in the body. Pilates improves all of these things by activating the bodies’ deep stabilizing muscles that not all other types of exercises target.
You can practice Pilates anywhere on the Mat or on specialized equipment like the Reformer, Tower, Chair and Cadillac to strengthen and stretch. Here are a few exercises on these that will specifically help your sport.
Pilates Mat: Side Kick Series- Strengthens the core, adductor and abductor muscles helping with lateral movement while providing elongation of the body.
Pilates Reformer: Hamstring Curls- This movement works to strengthen the posterior hamstring muscles helping posture, knee and back injuries.
Pilates Tower: Roll Backs- Promotes elongation and articulation of the spine which improves posture and lower back tightness.
Pilates Chair: Standing Pedal Lift- Strengthens lower body and core while challenging balance and control.
Pilates Cadillac: Hip Flexor Stretch- Stretches and lengthens hip flexors which counteracts the forward posture of skiing and works to correct posture.
Now go ahead, work to improve your body by doing Pilates before getting out on the powder!