As shaped skis have become more and more popular since the 90s, we have had to adapt what muscles we use when we ski. Skiing on shaped skis requires engagement of abductor muscles, which are responsible for moving your leg away from your body and stabilizing your knee. As explained in previous blogs, skiers extend their outside ski to carve through a turn while flexing their inside ski. This assessment tests your ability to keep your torso upright (looking down the fall line) while your legs make lateral movements. Limited movements laterally with skiers tend to result in decreased intensity and velocity throughout ski turns. The lateral lunge is a movement that we can replicate on dry land. This screen will test the movement in your knees, hips, ankles, and torso. It combines both the overhead depth squat and the single leg squat; you are squatting with one leg while lunging with the other.
To complete the lateral lunge, make sure you have plenty of space. A 6’x6’ area should be adequate. A mirror would be helpful, but not mandatory as well as comfortable clothes. Stand with feet in a wide stance, wider than shoulder width. Start to center your weight over one foot and slowly lower yourself into a squat position while your toe, knee, and hip stay in alignment. Your other leg is extended out to the side. Focus on bending at the waist and engaging the glutes all while keeping your back straight. This will help prevent putting strain on your knees or quads. To stand back up put pressure in your straight leg’s heel, engage your core, and that will help you stand up. Repeat this three times on each side.
After performing the six repetitions, look through the scoring and assess yourself based on performance. Movements are scored on a 0-3 system, with 3 being the highest and 0 the lowest. A score of 3 means you can do the movement correctly through full range of motion (ROM). Your movements are equal and symmetrical right to left. Give yourself a score of 2 if you have difficulty fully flexing or bending any of the joints in your legs- your ankles, knees, or hips (perhaps you cannot fully perform the squat without lifting your heel off the ground). After practicing the correct movements skiers can often advance from a score of 2 to 3. A score of 1 indicates an inability to perform the movement correctly despite repeated attempts. You compensate with other motions. For example, in an effort to squat lower to the floor you might lift your heels off the floor and bend too much at the waist. A score of 0 means you have pain with any part of the motion. Consult your physician or a physical therapist to have the movement and cause of the pain thoroughly checked.
At the end of all the assessments we will talk about what exercises you can do to improve your performance. Don’t give up, there are great things to come. Join us next time for Trunk Mobility.