Even if you are not a professional athlete, but you are planning to hit the slopes during winter months, it is essential to prepare yourself long before the trip. Ideally, you should do some knee strengthening exercises whole year long but if you don’t have time for that, you can start preparing three to four months before. For that, there are some easy and effective exercises that help to stretch and strengthen the muscles around the knees. Another good news is that it can take just 10-30 minutes a day – a pretty good investment considering you are minimizing the chance of damaging your knees on the slopes.
Here are some easy exercises that help to strengthen your knees and prepare them for skiing:
- Wall sits – this well-known exercise helps to strengthen your quads that play an important role in preventing knee injuries as weak quads can lead to massive strain on your knees which may result in significant damages. Stand with a flat back sturdily against a wall, walk your feet further from the wall and bend your waist to lower the body until your knees are at 90-degree bend – just as you are sitting. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat this a few times.
- Lateral box jump – for this exercise, stand next to a 15 to 20-inch box. Lower your body into a half squat position, as if you are on a ski slope preparing for a leap, and jump on the box. Try to land softly so it wouldn’t stress the knees. Then step off the box and repeat. You can do the exercise from 5 to 10 times.
- Straight leg raises – this exercise is especially great for those who don’t have their knees at the best shape as the exercise doesn’t strain the knee almost at all. Firstly, lie on your back. Then, bend one knee, but keep the other leg straight. Raise the straight leg on the same height as the opposite knee. Repeat this up to 15 times.
- Calf raises – hold on to a sturdy wall bar or some other support that gives you balance. Raise your heels slowly as high as possible and then lower them. Repeat this from 10 to 15 times.
- Deep knee bends – to get your knees ready for high impact sport, you can try this exercise. Start off with having your feet as wide as your shoulders. Stretch your hands out and start lowering your body slowly. Do that until your thighs are on a horizontal position. Hold the squat for a few moments and then stand up slowly, not on a bouncing manner. Repeat these ten times.
- Hamstring stretch – hamstrings shouldn’t be left unnoticed either. Lay on the floor and take a rope around the arch of your foot. Strengthen it, then start pulling the leg so it would be straight up as high as possible, according to how flexible you are. Do that for both legs.
For preventing knee injuries due to skiing, it is of vital importance to ensure your knees are strong and prepared. Do these knee strengthening exercises, stretch properly and you can enjoy your favorite winter activity without worries.