Sports Therapy and Pilates

Skiing and Pilates – Be Strong on the Slopes!

Can Pilates Help Improve My Skiing?

There are some things that you can’t control on the ski slopes. Things like the weather, visibility, how much snow there is, or other skiers! But thankfully you can control your own preparation with a pre-ski strength programme to ensure you feel strong, confident and have fun.

3 major muscle groups that you should strengthen before hitting the slopes are:

  • Quadriceps – These help you cope with the demands of the speedy downhill forces, the bends and the slaloms.
  • Glutes – These will help stabilise your pelvis and legs, and keep you balanced on your skis.
  • Abdominals – Will help with balance, posture, and prevent back ache after a long day of physical acitivty.

Pilates can help train all of the above muscle groups, using a variety of matwork exercises, the Reformer, and here at The Osteopathic Clinic Croydon, the CoreAlign. By starting a strengthening programme before your ski trip, you will be strengthening your core, improving your posture and building endurance in your legs, all of which will help you once you are in the mountains!

You can try these exercises at home which focus on leg and core strength:


  • Strengthens the glute medius muscle, a vital postural muscle during running.
  • Side lying, knees bent with hips and feet stacked. On the exhale lift the top knee and return it on the inhale. Imagine your hand is in the “back pocket of your jeans” to feel the glutes are working.
  • Keep the feet on the floor for the first set of 10 (image 1) and then lift the feet for the second set of 10 (image 2).

Shoulder Bridges:

  • Lie supine with knees bent and feet hip width apart. To find this foot position start with your feet together, take the toes out then bring the heels out in line with toes (image 1)
  • Imagine rolling the pelvis backwards as if tipping water out the back of a bucket, squeeze the glutes, and on the exhale lift each spinal segment off the floor until resting on shoulder blades. Keep your rib cage flat (no flaring) and body in a straight line.
  • Inhale and hold this position at the top, (image 2) then exhale and roll the spine back down, segment by segment until tail bone is back down. Repeat this 10 times.
  • Variations include lifting one heel off the floor at a time once in the bridge position (image 3), and also extending one leg out straight (image 4) Ensure you are activating the glutes to keep the pelvis level during these variations.

Single Leg Ball Squats:

  • Start standing with a small ball/cushion/towel tucked into the knee joint closest to the wall. Bend that knee and lift the foot off the ground. Engage the core, and perform a mini squat, keep chest lifted.
  • Think about “sitting back in a chair” as you squat as this keeps the knees aligned over the ankle joint. You should be able to see your foot during the move.
  • At the bottom, squeeze and initiate the return with the glutes. Repeat 10 times on each leg.

Or book a session in the Pilates studio for a specifically tailored strengthening programme using the equipment.  In particular the CoreAlign is a great way to increase your strength in a fun, ski specific functional way.

Glute and Core Exercises on the CoreAlign:

Side Splits:                                                   Side Splits with a Squat:

Pilates helped Joseph Pilates enjoy his time on the slopes, so book an appointment today and start your pre-ski preparation!

Contact The Osteopathic Clinic on 020 8662 1155 for appointment availability.

Written by Rhea Malkin BSc (Hons) Sports Therapist and STOTT/APPI Pilates Instructor.

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