Hey there, WILDR folks! As we are getting ready for our ski season, we’re talking specifically about training and skiing for women and how it might be a little bit different than training as a male.
Now I know what you’re thinking. This isn’t a post about the whole “shrink it” and “pink it” themes. Most, if not well, almost all training for ski season is going to be the same, whether you are a female or a male.
We still want that ability to repeatedly create power. We still get into a lot of the same positions. And we still want to be both strong and agile going into ski season.
But the one difference that you might not know about is a little something called the Q Angle.
WHAT IS THE Q ANGLE?
The Q Angle is actually your Quadriceps Angle. It can be measured by taking a line straight through your ASIS (Anterior Superior Iliac Spine) and going directly through the middle of your patella. Then comparing that line to another line that goes from your tibial tubercle straight up through the middle of your patella.
For men, this angle tends to be from 10 to 15 degrees. For women, we tend to see larger angles, between 15 to 20 degrees.
How to Measure the Q Angle
The reason women have a larger Q Angle is that our hips tend to be wider than men’s relative to our height. Because of that, we can’t entirely eliminate this larger Q Angle. But there are some things we can do to make it slightly smaller. This is going to reduce our injury risk.
There are other things we can also do to reduce our injury risk outside of that Q Angle that will help us be safer on the slopes.
SKIING FOR WOMEN: PREPARING OUR BODY FOR SKI SEASON
Particularly as women, there are three areas we need to make sure that we have long enough hip flexors. As shortened hip flexors can rotate the pelvis forward, which will make that Q Angle larger.
If we also have short adductors (think of groin muscles), that can rotate the femur in a way that increases that Q Angle as well.
The other thing that can increase this angle is short calf muscles. When we go to flex, our body may work around that shortness by diving our knees in, which is going to make that Q Angle bigger.
DON’T LET THE Q ANGLE STOP YOU FROM CONQUERING THE HILL!
Instead of thinking of these very specific things about the Q Angle, we can apply some principles to our training in the gym to build support for the knee. And, empower us to charge hard when we’re on the slopes!
The first thing we can do is explore and build strength through the full range of motion that our hips have when we’re in the gym. This controlled environment is an awesome opportunity to play with things like Pistol Squats and Cossack Squats. If we get into these kinds of positions on the ski hill, we’ve already seen it in the gym.
The second thing is to make sure that you are building up the back half of the body as much as you have built up at the front half of the body. Incorporating heavy exercises like deadlifts, as well as exercises that specifically target your hamstrings and glutes (like glute bridge walkouts or Nordic hamstring curls) is going to make sure that that knee is supported from the back and the front.
These are a few of my favourite exercises when it comes to getting my legs ready for ski season.
And in general, do not be afraid to put on some muscle in that lower body. Always finish your sessions with consistent, controlled stretching to maintain muscle length as you build muscle strength.
We also have our 8 Week Ski-Ready program if you’re looking for personal ski coaching and mobility. You can either do the uphill program, which gets you ready for ski touring, or you can do the downhill program, which is focused on skiing at the resort.
Have a WILDR week!