Advent blog 4 of 24 – Get Fit for the Slopes with WE Physio’s Lisa Cordwell

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Coming soon, find & book who’s near who’s good and who’s available NOW! Salon owners and therapists enter your email here:’s post is very close to my heart.

Today’s post is very close to my heart!

Any one who knows me, knows that I adore skiing. (You only have to look at my twitter picture @sarahill42) Some would say I’m slightly obsessed. Sadly I can’t ski this season as I ruptured by ACL last year in Austria and ended my skiing holiday, by being helicoptered off the mountain to hospital 😦

So today we are taking a little detour into a taster of Lisa Cordwell’s upcoming blog. She’s got some great tips in how to prepare for skiing so you don’t end up missing a season like me. Pay attention because it’s not nice I can tell you!

imageLisa Cordwell BSc Physio, AACP, MCSP, HPC reg, works with Alexandre Long at WE Physio, who we featured yesterday.







Lisa trained in the North of England, and after initially working in the NHS, she has spent the last 7 years working in Private Practice both in the UK and France. Lisa loves sport – particularly skiing – and has spent several ski seasons working in a physio practice in Meribel, France, treating mostly acute injuries and helping elite skiers with their rehabilitation. She is also qualified in Pilates and Acupuncture, and has completed post graduate courses in Spinal Manipulation where she uses these techniques to help her patients. Lisa specializes in back and neck pain, sports injury rehabilitation, and lower limb injury- particularly knee problems

Fit to Ski

Whether you are an expert skier or have just booked your first trip to the snow, its time to start getting fit for the slopes! Skiing puts intense pressure on muscles and joints and requires levels of physical activity that are unusual in everyday life. Pre-holiday training is very important to reduce the risk of injury and will also greatly increase enjoyment of your ski holiday.

Skiing is a demanding athletic activity, and requires functional strength, stability, power, co-ordination and agility. A broad based fitness programme needs to include the following elements:

Strength training:
to concentrate on quadriceps and hip musculature and improve general fitness. At the gym static bike and stair master equipment are useful, also step and circuit classes. Hiking/running/biking up hills are particularly good for developing strong quads.

imageBalance and core strength:
fundamental for controlled skiing and protecting the back from torsion and sheer. Wobble boards and gym ball exercises are great for this, also walking outdoors on uneven surfaces.

pre and post exercise stretching is important in avoiding injury and maintaining muscle length. Pay particular attention to muscle groups that have been worked hard, particularly in the lower limb such as quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, adductors, gluteals and hip flexors. Hold stretches for 3 sets of 20-30 seconds each. Calf length is important: think about the position of the lower leg whilst skiing!

Useful Specific Ski Exercises:

  1. Sitting Squat (increase from 30seconds to 2 minutes)
    Good for novices as develops eccentric ‘holding’ strength in quadriceps needed for a snow plough. Use a gym ball between you and the wall to work your core at the same time! Try to have a slight forward lean for a skiing stance.
  2.  Single leg squat (increase from 10-30 reps)
    Stand on one leg with the other forwards, arms into a forward skiing position. Sink to 90 degrees on the supporting leg and rise again slowly. Great for lower limb strength and control through range of movement.
  3. Lateral Thrust (increase from 15-40 reps)
    Leap from side to side, outside leg to outside leg. A dynamic exercise that mimics the lateral thrust and power needed for carving turns.
  4. High Bouncing (increase from 5-20 reps)
    Stand upright, arms forward, feet together. Jump as high as possible, bringing knees up on each jump. A great exercise to develop explosive power and core control, especially useful for advanced skiers who wish to improve their mogul technique.
  5.  Tricep Dips (10-30 reps)
    Hands on the edge of a bench, knuckles facing forward. Lower body slowly forward and down by bending elbows to 90 degrees, then straighten again. A fab exercise to strengthen arms for using poles on flat stretches, also for snowboarders who need to push themselves up into standing.
  6. Trampette (1 minute each leg)
    Balance on a trampette on 1 leg whilst throwing and catching a ball. Good for improving control in off balance situations.

Tips to Avoid Injury:

Fatigue: don’t ski when tired. Most ski injuries occur late in the day and on a green run- when you are tired and complacent. Avoid the temptation to have ‘just one more run!’

Conditions: when the weather is bad, stay on easy runs in the trees where the visibility is better. Deep powder is great fun, but also great for twisting knees. From March onwards snow can turn to slush lower down- it may be worth catching the lift back to resort to avoid fatigue and injury.

Knee injuries: if you have problems with your knees, a brace or specialized exercise programme may help. If injured on the slopes seek medical attention before skiing on- a small problem can easily be made worse.

Hydration: The altitude in a ski resort coupled with intense exercise can lead to dehydration if sufficient fluids are not taken on board. This can lead to a decline in performance, headaches and illness. Make sure you keep drinking (alcohol not included!).

If You are Injured when on Ski Holiday:

  • Remember PRICE (Protection, relative Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation)

  • A hot bath is NOT usually advisable in acute injuries which are hot and swollen: use an ice pack or a bag of snow applied to the injured area

If worried or the injury is not improving, consult a professional. Medical services in resort are generally very good, and there are often English Physiotherapists based in resort. Listings can be found in resort directories normally kept in each chalet.

imageimageDon’t end up like Sara last March – before and after.






Hope you enjoyed Lisa’s tips, I strongly advise paying close attention to them.  Her full blog will be published soon. You can book Lisa here

Thanks for reading.

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One Response to Advent blog 4 of 24 – Get Fit for the Slopes with WE Physio’s Lisa Cordwell

  1. Pingback: Advent Blog 23: Massage and Holistic Therapy with Donna at Tango Spa & Wellness Hotel in Val Thorens | TreatNOW blog

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