January 2023

Pilates Prep for Skiing

How does Pilates help with skiing?
Pilates teaches and strengthens your body in many different positions. One important concept is “hip dissociation.” This is the ability to bend at your hips while keeping a neutral spine. Learning how to bend your hips, knees AND ankles will improve your dynamic control without transferring tension into the low back, knees and hips.

Skiing is dynamic, so your spine needs to be mobile and strong in all positions, but strengthening in a neutral spine will teach you how to use your quadriceps and gluteals instead of your low back.

Think of your legs like an accordion. The hips, knees and ankles should all fold evenly. If only one segment of an accordion folds, the instrument will not work. Injuries, tight muscles or weakness can cause the leg to avoid bending at certain segments.

Paying attention to the areas that won’t bend will help you identify where you can improve your strength and mobility. Use a long mirror to evaluate your spine, ankle, knee, and hip alignment with the following exercises.

Practice bending at all three joints will change your movement strategies and free your back from tension. Avoid “squeezing” your gluteals and hamstrings to integrate your strength.

How do I find my neutral spine?

  • Place a dowel or broomstick behind your back.
  • Keep your head, ribcage and pelvis on the stick.
  • Keep the natural curves of your low back and neck.
  • Stand taller while keeping 3 points of contact.
  • Don’t force your head against the stick if feeling tension in your neck.

How do I bend at my ankles?

  • Place a yoga block or stack of books under your heel.
  • Stand in a lunge stance with one leg forward.
  • Place your heel on the block with your foot pointing directly forward.
  • Squat in lunge stance while maintaining a neutral spine.
  • Allow your ankle to bend rather than rotating or collapsing your foot.

How do I bend at my knees?

  • Place a yoga block between your knees to maintain alignment.
  • Stand with your feet under your hip bones.
  • Keep neutral spine.
  • Allow ankles to bend keeping feet parallel.
  • Keep a light pressure on yoga block while bending evenly at ankle, knees and hips.

How do I bend at my hips?

  • Maintain a neutral spine while doing a half squat.
  • Let your pelvis widen while squatting.
  • Evenly move your knees forward and hips back.
  • Use your core to keep 3 points of contact on the stick.

How do I find practice squats with good form?

  • Set your feet hip width apart and parallel.
  • Hold on to your kitchen or bathroom sink for balance.
  • Place your knees against the cupboard.
  • Imagine you are holding a yoga block to keep knee alignment.
  • Allow your hips to widen as you sit back.
  • Keep your knees against the wall to increase hip mobility.
  • Use your core to maintain neutral spine.
  • INCREASE your range by moving your feet further back.
  • Allow your knees to go forward as much as your pelvis moves back as if folding like an accordion
  • Maintain your foot, knee and spine alignment while you move with ease.
  • Feel the work in your quads, gluteals and abs.
  • Release your arms back and along your side.

Monarch Pilates is a full service studio offering one on one Physical Therapy, Private & Semi Private Pilates and Reformer classes. We provide a variety of services to assist through the journey of pregnancy and beyond. We are passionate about helping women to enjoy this precious time and begin parenthood with confidence in your strength.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *