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Winter is Coming: Get Prepared For Your Winter Sports

It's officially fall! Now is the time to get in shape, get stronger, and address any injury niggles BEFORE the snow starts! Set yourself up for success by finding and addressing your weakness before the winter sport season starts. In Colorado, we're about 3 months away from skiing the slopes of Arapahoe Basin, Vail, Breckenridge, Steamboat Springs, etc.. Three months is the perfect amount of time to execute an exercise program to help you have your best winter sport season yet!

Join me at the Denver Athletic Club for Tuesday and Thursday evening fitness classes: DAC

As a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), my primary focus is injury prevention. But it's two for one - the same strength and conditioning training that helps reduce injury also helps you perform stronger, better, and with more endurance. Getting left in the dust by your friends is bad, but getting injured at the beginning of the season is even worse. No one wants to sit at home while all your friends and family go have fun in the mountains!

Unfortunately, participating winter sports (i.e. skiing, snowboarding, winter hiking and trail running, snow machining, etc.) may increase your risk for injury. Common injuries include anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, knee sprains, ankle sprains, subluxed/dislocated shoulder, skier's thumb, concussion, whiplash, back pain, neck pain, and rotator cuff disorders. Even with the most compliant exercise pain, I can't guarantee complete protection from injury. But there are many tests to perform to determine weakness and potential risk for injury.

Keep reading to identify your weaknesses and what exercises you can do to improve these weaknesses.

Step 1:

Find your weakness with the movement screens listed below:

Core Tests

1. Plank Endurance: Hold the plank as long as you can!

Normal Values for a Forward Plank

Very Good: 4-6 minutes

Above Average: 2-4 minutes

Average: 1-2 minutes

Below Average: 30-60 seconds

2. Quadruped: Can you perform the below scenerios while keeping your stance leg

perpendicular to the floor AND your hips/pelvis level?

a. Opposite arm/leg lift

b. Same side arm/leg lift


  1. Single Leg Balance with Eyes Closed: How long can you maintain your balance without touching the other foot down and without bracing your knees/thighs into each other? Perform on your right and left leg.

Normal Values:

18-39: 9.4 seconds

40-49: 7.3 seconds

50-59: 4.8 seconds

60-69: 2.8 seconds

2. For the higher level athlete, challenge your balance on a BOSU or other unstable

surface: How long can you hold this position on each side without touching the other

foot down and without bracing your knees/thighs into each other? Perform on your

right and left leg.


1. Functional behind the back mobility test: reach up and over your shoulder with 1

hand and reach up your back with the other hand. Compare mobility side to side in

each position, they should be equal!

2. Strength

a. Max push ups

b. Max pull ups

Normal Values:


Fair: at least 8 pull-ups

Fit/Strong: 13-17 reps


Fair: 1-3 pull-ups

Fit/Strong: 5-9 reps

Lower Extremity Strength

1. Max Squat number in a row

Body Weight Squat Normal Values:

50+ = Excellent

30-49 = Good

16-29 = Average

15 or less = Poor

2. Pistol Squat: Can you perform a full pistol squat (up and down) without loss of

form or balance? Perform on your right and left leg.


1. Max Single leg hops in 30 seconds: Are you right and left values equal? Goal is to be

<97% different.

2. Avg. 3 single leg hops forward: Are you right and left values equal? Goal is to be

<97% different.

3. Broad jump: Are you right and left values equal? Goal is to be <97% different.

Full Body Fitness

1. Run 1km as fast as you can

Normal Values

Excellent: 3 min or less

Good: 3min - 3:29

Avg: 3:30 - 4:29

Ok: 4:30 +

2. Row 500m as fast as you can

Normal Values

Excellent: 1:30sec or less

Good: 1:31 - 1:44

Avg: 1:45 - 1:59

Ok: 2:00+

3. Burpees: How many can you do in 30 seconds

Normal Values

Men: >16

Women: >12

Step 2:

Pick your exercises based on your weakness and imbalances. (This is where a trained physical therapy or personal trainer can be really helpful!)

Get started with these exercises:

(Or use a fitness app. Learn more here)


  • Forward and side planks

  • Yoga boat pose

  • Dying Bug

  • Bird Dog

  • Push ups


  • Single leg balance on BOSU or DynaDisc

  • Squats on BOSU

  • Yoga

Upper extremity mobility:

  • Foam roller stretches

  • Doorway pec stretch

  • Yoga

Upper extremity strength

  • Bench press variations

  • Dumbbell weight lifting

  • Push ups

  • Pull ups

Lower extremity strength

  • Lunges

  • Squats

  • Step ups


  • Jump rope

  • Skater jumps

  • Box jumps

  • Speed ladder drills

Aerobic Exercise

  • Run/walk program

  • Swimming

  • Biking

  • Rowing

Step 3:

Have an epic season! Enjoy your increased strength, endurance, and mobility and have the best winter sports season ever. To help maintain your gains through the season, continue a basic exercise routine twice a week.

Get your CO ski pass!

Other tip and tricks:

  1. Take breaks during your activity, schedule in a rest day (or a full week), and triage any soreness before it gets out of control.

  2. To reduce the change of overuse injuries, alter your activities, and/or participate in a variety of activities, to use a variety of muscles and movement patterns.

  3. Recover better with soft tissue mobilization, myofascial release, and trigger point dry needling.

  4. Do a 5-10 minute daily yoga routing to keep you mobile and flexible.

Need help assessing your weakness? Need help making a plan? Need help with accountability? ALL OF THE ABOVE?

Message me directly:


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