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Health & Exercise Forum

Preventing ski injuries

Dec 3, 2018

Dr. Mackarey's Health & Exercise ForumPREVENTION OF SKI INJURIES!

Pre-Thanksgiving Snowfall Gets Skiers Pumped up!!!

Winter arrived early this November and, like many in NEPA, I love winter in great part due to my love for downhill and cross-country skiing. However, with age and wisdom, I have become much more aware of the need for safety through the use of proper equipment, good technique and preseason conditioning. While I have discussed this topic before, a local ski enthusiast asked me if I would offer some tips on preseason conditioning for skiing.

The following exercises will target the essential stability, agility, and eccentric training requirements for the prevention of skiing injuries. A BosuR Ball is a useful tool to challenge your balance and strength for skiing and other sports. It is flat on the bottom and round on the top. ( $110 - $125.)


Traditional exercise such as weight training for quads, hams, gluts etc are valuable. Also, elliptical and stepper equipment and exercise bikes are important. However, the following exercises are specific to the needs of the downhill and cross-country skier.

  1. Nordic Hamstring Exercise (PHOTO 1):
    1. While kneeling, have a partner stabilize your ankles. Attempt a forward-falling motion using your hamstrings to resist the fall. Keep your hips/trunk rigid and in line with your legs.
  2. Ski BosuR Squat (PHOTO 2):
    1. Stand in ski position on the Bosu Ball with ski poles in hands.
    2. Squat and lower yourself 45 degrees (advanced skiers can lower body until your thigh is horizontal).
    3. Raise yourself back up to the starting position but do not lock knees – perform slowly and feel the quads burn.
    4. Repeat for 30 – 60 seconds
    5. Advance to 5 minutes
    6. Advance to simulation of pole plant and turning while on ball performing squats
  3. Ski BosuR Step Down (PHOTO 3):
    1. Stand in ski position on the BosuR Ball with ski poles in hands
    2. Step down on one leg to the floor while one leg remains on the ball.
    3. Raise yourself back up to the starting position but do not lock knees – perform slowly and feel the quad burn on the leg which remains on the ball.
    4. Repeat Same Leg for 30 – 60 seconds
    5. Advance to 5 minutes. Advance to alternate legs
    6. Advance to simulation of pole plant and turning.
  4. Ski Pole Lunge (PHOTO 4):
    1. Hold ski poles in front of trunk
    2. Perform lunges slowly and hold for 5-10 seconds each repetition
    3. Repeat and advance 10-15-20 times
    4. Advance by performing more slowly and lower to floor
  5. Monster Walk (PHOTO 5)
    1. Walk side to side while keeping your legs apart and maintaining pressure against the resistance band
    2. Advance by increasing band resistance (yellow to red)


Visit your doctor regularly and listen to your body.

NEXT MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!”

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email:

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is an associate professor of clinical medicine at GCSOM.