Core Activation for Skiers

Core Activation for Skiers

The term “core” in the health and fitness world is used ad nauseum but it is poorly understood. Traditionally, the core has been primarily associated with the abdomen and the muscles associated with the abdomen. However, as our knowledge grows on the topic of core and core activation, we have begun to realise that is not one or two muscles, rather a whole collection of muscles and the complex way in which they interact with each other. As such,  many healthcare professionals now refer to it as the “core complex”. The core complex is made up of muscles involving your torso (front, back and sides) but also muscles that cross your hip and shoulder joint. In preparation for the upcoming ski and snowboard season, we wanted to provide some insight to what the core complex is, understanding that it involves many muscles, and how you can make it work optimally for you on the slopes.

To best control your limbs, you need a stable base to move from and in activities like skiing or snowboarding in which you are already on an unstable surface, the importance of this is heightened. Historically our belief of “warming-up” for sports and activities was purely intended to open small blood vessels up to best prep and supply muscles with blood and oxygen. Now that is no longer the only intent. What the scientific community theorises, is that neurologically activating this muscles makes them easier to recruit in the time of need (e.g. catching your balance, suddenly changing direction). Here are a few exercises you can undertake before and during your ski day to best help you create an activated core complex.

Chairlift Core Activation Exercises

All the below muscle activation exercises are intended to be able to be undertaken on the chairlift to allow you to turn on and recruit those muscles a little easier when you need them!

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Abdominal Activation

  • In a seated position, begin by slightly lifting up/de-weighting your legs off the chairlift. 
  • Using your hands, press down into the top of your knees.
  • Resist that movement and try not to let the back of your legs touch the chair.
  • Intended activation into your abdominal muscles.
  • Pressing for 10 seconds, relaxing for 5 and then pressing again for 10. Undertake for 1 min.

Groin Muscle Activation

  • In a seated position, pressing the inside of your thighs, near to your knees.
  • The intent being that you are trying to press your legs apart and are resisting that movement with your groin muscles.
  • Pressing for 10 seconds, relaxing for 5 and then pressing again for 10. Undertake for 1 min.

Hip Stabilizing Activation

  • In a seated position, press the outside of your knees, near to your knees.
  • The intent being trying to press the legs together and resisting that movement with muscles on the outside of your thighs/close to your buttocks.
  • Pressing for 10 seconds, relaxing for 5 and then pressing again for 10. Undertake for 1 min.

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