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3 Important Hip and Knee Exercises For Skiers

Abe Maynard on July 15th, 2022

Have you ever experienced tight hips, or been concerned about your knees while skiing? Let me introduce you to three critical exercises to build durable hip flexors, and knees, capable of reacting to changes in conditions, speed, and skill.

 

The knee is a crazy joint.  It needs strong, durable, and capable hamstrings with a range of motion that supports the flexion and extension at the knee joint. Additionally, skiers need quad muscles, the muscle above the knee, that can quickly engage and disengage to work alongside the hamstring as conditions change. 

 

If the muscles supporting the knee joint lack dynamic ability, skiing is a pretty big dice roll. But don’t worry, if you train on one of the 50 unique ski-specific Ski System training programs, you’re covered. If you haven’t yet begun a workout program on the site, start by adding in these three exercises to your training regiment.

 

REACTIVE HAMSTRING CATCHES:

Sets: 2-4

Reps: 4-6/leg

Notes: In some cases, hold the “catch” position to reinforce stability and “own” the position.


 

Assume a stable Hip Bridge position, then lift one leg into a flexed-hip position. Quickly remove your stance foot and kick it forward until it lands in front of it's original position. Stabilize this new position (shown below).

This will teach your hamstring to respond to, and stabilize, dynamic knee extension.  This happens occasionally in skiing, and when it does, you better be damn sure your hamstrings are capable of performing this action. 


 

REACTIVE KNEE FLEXION CATCHES:

Sets: 2-3

Reps: 6-8/leg

Notes: Make sure the ball is stable or it will roll away when you strike it.


 

From the starting position, explosively kick your foot into the ball without changing your upper body position. There may be a tendency to shift forward. fight this urge and stay sturdy instead. 

As soon as you make aggressive contact with the ball, QUICKLY pull your heel to your hamstring and stabilize the original position (shown below).

Squeeze your butt and pull your heel as tight to your hamstring as you can. Repeat this for the prescribed reps. Ultimately this trains the opposite of the first exercise, but is crucial for the same reasons. Here, your hamstring is responding to knee flexion instead of extension because you're "catching" the knee in a flexed position. 
 

SEATED HIP FLEXOR LIFT + ISOMETRIC HOLD:

Sets: 2-3

Reps: 4-6 w/2 second hold at top (maximal height without bending the knee)

Notes: Add ankle weights for an added challenge


 

From the start position, press your fingertips into the floor firmly, then squeeze your core muscles. Once stable, lock the extended knee and lift your foot as high as you possibly can without bending the knee. It will feel like your hip flexor becomes a tight knot. That means it's fully flexed and supporting the femur in the lift. 

 

Once you can support this position for all the sets and reps, progress it by adding an ankle weight. This can also be used as a hip flexor primer exercise before you leave the lodge. 

 

If you're ready to take the training to the next level, complete with video breakdowns of all 300+ exercises, then take our readiness quiz at the bottom of the homepage. It will help you choose the most optimal program to prepare you for the upcoming season. 

 

In Good Health, 

Abe (Founder)