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Best Knee Strengthening Exercises for Skiing

Abe Maynard on June 24th, 2022

Do you know anyone who has injured their knee skiing? Unfortunately, thousands of skiers suffer season-ending knee injuries.  Even worse, given the demands of the sport, it’s near impossible to prevent injury in acute cases.  That being said, something is always better than nothing when it comes to preventative care for our most used joint.

 

I once had a conversation with professional skier, Kyle Smaine, and he brought up a great point about training. Although he agreed with me that injury prevention should be a top priority, his other concern was maximizing fun and enjoyment. I would like you to consider this article through Kyle’s lense; a way to maximize enjoyment on snow. Simply put, less injury and greater resilience = more fun.

 

Use the following exercises throughout the remainder of the summer to hedge your bets against injury and truly increase the fun-factor.

 

 

BANDED TERMINAL KNEE EXTENSION

  1. Attach a resistance band to a sturdy fixed object.
  2. Next, loop the band around your knee and walk backward until the band reaches full tension.
  3. Lifting your heel, allow the band to pull your knee forward, then drive your knee backward against the resistance firmly until it locks out.
  4. Hold this locked position (full knee flexion) and repeat.

 

The Terminal Knee Extension exercise aims to build a full range of motion and contractile force at the end range of the joint. This is important as it builds quad strength at terminal extension, a key prerequisite for knee health and one of the first goals of knee rehabilitation following surgery.

 

Through the summer you can aim to build range (greater lock out), build strength (heavier band), or both (greater lock out at heavier band).

 

BENDER BALL TERMINAL KNEE EXTENSION

  1. Back up against a wall and place the ball behind your knee with enough space to fit, but not enough that the ball falls.
  2. Drive your knee backward into the ball creating a maximum effort contraction and hold for 3-5 seconds then release.
  3. This exercise is slightly less stable than the band because the ball can move. It’s a great progression option for stability, as well as a substitute in the absence of a band.

 

Through the summer, you can aim to increase flexion at the knee, or duration that you can maintain flexion against the ball.

 

INVERTED PLANK

  1. Lying flat on your back, elevate your heels on to a raised surface.
  2. Lift your arms so that you are balanced on your mid back.
  3. Elevate your hips by squeezing your butt and hold the top position.

The less your calves are on the bench, the more you will feel stress placed on the hamstring. Through the summer, aim to increase duration of this hold. You can also progress stability by elevating each heel individually and holding the new position without wavering in hip height.

 

It’s important to remember that the knee’s longevity is two-part. First you must have strong quads to support the joint, a full range of motion, and strong, capable hamstrings. Second, the hamstring is just as important for knee strength and longevity as is the quad, although this is commonly overlooked.

 

That’s why I wrote THIS ARTICLE about why skiers should be deadlifting. Build strong knees with the above exercises and then build strong hamstrings to support everything.


Friends, if you find this information valuable, please share these posts with other skiers who can benefit!

 

Thank You, 

-Abe