In our last blog we introduced the first of the four movements that Chris Fellows uses in his book titled, Total Skiing. Today we are looking at the second movement, the single-leg squat. Knee injuries are one of the most common injuries in skiing today. Single leg squats look at knee and hip strength and their mobility. Single-leg squats can both detect imbalances and asymmetries between legs and help to correct them once they’ve been brought to light. Symmetry is crucial for both aesthetics and injury prevention, so it’s not something to take lightly.
We have talked about how in every turn there is flexion and extension within the lower extremity and this translates to how functional the knee is. When the knee is fully extended during a turn it can have forces up to three times the body weight placed upon it.
Before even starting the single leg squats, make sure you can balance on one foot. Switch to the other foot and see if you can balance on that one. If you cannot balance on one foot while standing, you will have extreme difficulties while skiing. Make sure this is your starting point when working on single leg exercises. Single-leg balances are a basic skill required for any type of snow sport. The next step would be to perform a single leg squat.
It is best to perform these movements in comfortable workout attire, a t-shirt and work-out shorts or pants. Using a full-length mirror to watch your movements is recommended but not necessary. Make sure you have an area about 6’ by 6’. Stand with your feet hip width apart and your arms out to the side. Center your weight over one leg and balance yourself over that one leg and gradually lower yourself into a squat. Lower yourself until your thigh is parallel to the floor and then stand back up to standing position. Do these at least three times before you switch to your other foot.
Remember from our previous blog how to score the movements. Please refer back to the previous entry if you cannot remember.