T Nation

Knee / Skiing Prehab


Hope i'm not posting this in the wrong section, so forgive me if i have.

I'm going skiing in march and was wondering what sort of exercises you guys could suggest to strengthen knees/ankles ie to reduce skiing-related injuries.

I already squat and deadlift regularly but wondered if there were any specific prehab exercises that might reduce the chance knee injuries/ligament tears etc that seem to be common with skiing.



I don't think going skiing one time is really something to worry about this much


I recall reading an old Charles Poliquin article that claimed training the gastroc strengthens the ACL and various other ligaments in the knee.

Personally, I find hight rep front squats and Bulgarian split squats to be very beneficial.


I have been thinking about this alot lately.

I have been skiing quite a bit the last few months. I really noticed how weak I was in the legs the first few times out this season, despite the fact that I hit the iron regularly. I am also twice the size of your average skier.

I find that split squats help, since you are often loading one leg. This will help strengthen your weak leg and help your turns.

I think also next best thing would be to hit the quads...maybe leg extensions with a pause. Front squats couldnt hurt either.

Edit: I just saw the guy aboves response. Looks like good advice.


I'll agree with everything else you said, but... wobble board split squats? In years past, I've trained on unstable surfaces and noticed zero carryover to skiing. Wobble boards and bosu balls improve your balance on... wobble boards and bosu balls. Likewise, I spent alot of time walking a slack line thinking it would improve my balance for skiing and climbing. The only thing that improved was my ability to walk a slack line.

I have to say that balance is one of the most sport specific skills around. Example: I've been skiing since I was five, and racing since I was twelve. I'm pretty competitive in both alpine and telemark racing. I daresay that my balance is pretty well developed when it comes to both alpine and tele, but whenever I get on my nordic skate skis I flail around often fall. Keep in mind that the jump between telemark skis and nordic skate skis is very small compared to the jump between alpine skis and a wobble board.

In a sport like skiing, you're better of training muscles rather than movement, since it's almost impossible to mimic the movements of skiing on anything but a ski run. Wobble boards decrease the load you're able to use, and therefore limit how much you can train your muscles, so I'd consider them detrimental to your training.

Unstable surfaces have their place - and that place is physical therapy and rehabilitation, not training for skiing.


ACL tears in skiing will be the result of trauma. If it's going to happen, it's going to happen. Nothing you can really do about it.

Your legs should be strong from squatting and deadlifting, skiing technique will be your best bet at decreasing your chances of knee injury.


I guess you're right.

I finally looked up the article, and it turns out I was full of shit. Calf exercises don't really strengthen the ACL. In fact they don't strengthen the ligaments in your knees at all. Large calves do offer a degree of protection for your knees, just not for the reasons I thought. Here's what Poliquin had to say about this:

Here's a link to the full article:



Is it for resisting rotation?


A lot of good advice in here with the split squats, bulgarian squats etc. I would also include some pistols/step ups with slow eccentric work. Helps with the stabilizers at both the ankle and hip, which the knee will follow (i know ankle is locked in the boot for skiing).

Also if you are familiar with heavy squats and deads your local muscular endurance probably isn't too great, so for skiing I would finish some workouts with a little routine I picked up when working at a physical therapy clinic.

Get into a close squat stance (similar to skiing position) and do a variety of partial reps, never come up all the way to rest or all the way down but keep low and just rep out the quads, just like you will when heading downhill.