Tune Up Your Muscles For XC Skiing Season With SMR

October 9, 2016


You tune up your skis pre season, why not tune up your muscular system? 


Sensory Motor Repatterning (SMR) is an incredibly powerful way to assess the firing patterns of your musculoskeletal system and quickly correct any dysfunctional firing patterns that have been identified. It’s popularity has grown over the last few years by it’s extensive use in the professional athlete realm, but SMR is every bit as powerful for those wanting to get out and rip up those hills a little faster than last season. Visit OttawaSMR.ca to find out how SMR can benefit you.


In a sport were technique rules supreme, having muscles firing how and when they should be is key. Here is a breakdown of some key biomechanics in relation to planes of movement for classic and skate skiing. If the muscles are firing in faulty patterns, you are either having major energy leaks in your gait and/or you are on your way to an injury.


For classic cross-country skiing, everything moves in the sagittal plane, which means moving forward or backward. The key muscles often inhibited (weak at a neural level) are the gluteus maximus (drives us forward by pulling the leg into extension) and the Psoas (stabilizes the pelvis and assists in hip flexion). The glutes are primarily turned off by overactive hamstrings (causing hamstring strains and knee pain) or overactive calves (causing plantar fasciitis or achilles tendonitis). The psoas is often inhibited by a dysfunction of the SI joint (causing back pain).


For skate skiing, the dominant movement is in the coronal plane (sideways movement), a plane that is not used in many summer sports such as cycling or running. The key muscles often inhibited (weak at a neural level) in this plane of movement are the gluteus medius (causing hip pain) the adductors (causing groin pain), the quadrates lumborum (causing lower back pain). These three muscles have a pattern of either overworking or underworking and often the pattern on one side of the body will be reversed on the opposite side.


For both classic and skate skiing the upper body needs to move in the transverse plane to allow the chest to rotate. The Lats (Latissimus Dorsi) are a key players in rotation and they are also the primary driver of forward propulsion in single or double-poling. Show me an athlete and I’ll show you a dysfunctional lat.  It’s really that common. The lats are also the only muscle that connect the lower extremity to the upper extremity.  They are so important in cross patterning and are inhibited in most of us. Turning them back on can be a major boost to your ski season.


Don’t wait for an injury to occur, “prehab" is the name of the game these days and having your nervous system finely tuned to fire the correct muscles in the correct sequence can make the difference between winning a race or sustaining a season ending injury. Book your initial session today with Ottawa SMR and go enjoy the snow!

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