Allow me to start with a fun little story from when I did the survivor show in Denmark back in 2006 (Robinson Ekspeditionen, it’s called on Danish TV). If you couldn’t be bothered then just scroll down to the article on why you get sore from skiing 🙂
This season of Survivor was a special edition where all the participants were athletes from all different kinds of sports.
One of my team mates was a world champion kayaker and he was quite surprised when I beat him in the first individual challenge which included a long run up a steep hill. He said to me that it was surprising that I had so much strength when all I did was skiing down a hill… 🙂
I told him that skiing moguls was like doing 60-70 explosive squats with a good, heavy charge. For every run you do. And we would do about 10 of those in a session. Plus landing the two jumps. And then in the afternoon prep in the gym or outdoors.
I know you get it because you are a skier – but here is my little explanation about why you get sore from skiing …
Why you get sore from skiing when it is all downhill…
In most sports the physical effort lies in generating the force that is going to take you faster or higher, make you kick, throw or hit harder etc. The unique thing about skiing is that it is mostly about resisting external forces acting upon you, so you can stay balanced and in control.
The way your muscles work when resisting movement is well known for creating more soreness in the following days, known as ‘delayed onset muscle soreness.’ When your muscles work to resist or decelerate movement, they actually contract while they are lengthening in the movement. This creates little “micro traumas” in the muscles. The theory is that this is what is causing this sensation of soreness.
When cycling for example, you don’t have this decelerating muscle work. When you are running you have it in the landing phase of each stride, but you have it with fairly straight legs and always in the same plane of motion. The big difference when skiing is that you often have to decelerate a movement when you are in much lower positions and with more lateral or rotational forces. That’s why you get sore from skiing even if you do cycling and running and are in good shape in general. And that’s why it makes such a big difference to train specifically for skiing.
In fact, simply over-stretching can also cause this muscle soreness, so when stretching, work your way to increased flexibility and mobility by respecting the progression time. That being said, doing the right stretches and foam rolling is definitely worth it to get rid of soft tissue adhesions and allow your muscles to contract and stretch more freely.
You can get my cheat sheet with stretching and foam rolling to prepare for -and recover from – skiing here
The smart way
Want to prevent soreness skiing? Pick a program from the different ski fitness videos I have made to help people like you enjoy skiing with less pain and more confidence. All exercises are shown and explained for you. Get a head start here 🙂
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