Ski Touring – Basic Recovery for Uphill Adventures

By Chelsea Deschamps, BKin – see Omnia Movement and Performance for the full article

After a day of going uphill, the repeated motions of an uptrack can cause some stiffness. Muscles contracting repeatedly are undergoing a certain amount of stress and if there is anything the body is skilled at, it is adapting. When muscles and tissues undergo stress, the body adapts by reinforcing them. This may be in the form of increased strength or adhesions to support the structures undergoing stress.

Consider a scenario where a bridge suddenly has many more cars passing over, inducing extra load. If the bridge was not built for this many vehicles, it must be reinforced in some way. Before a restructuring can happen, someone must slap on whatever materials they can find to hold it together in the meantime. Similarly, your body will reinforce areas of stress with tissues and adhesions that do support the forces it is undergoing, but they may not be productive in the long term or for movement overall. In the short term, there is reduced glide between muscles and often reduced range of motion or availability of space for muscles to contract. If you are a science fan, this happens according to Wolff’s law – Form Follows Function. Over time, when these muscles and structures are not operating in an ideal pattern, they can cause dysfunction in movement and overcompensation and overloading by other structures. Less than ideal for your next uphill adventure!

Key message: It is important to do some recovery work so that adaptations to training stresses and uphill days can be as productive as possible. This will help to maximize injury prevention and fitness improvements so your winter activities are unimpeded.

Below are some options for a simple recovery routine, ideally completed after touring or an uphill day, at minimum twice a week. When completing each one, there should never be extreme pain or nerve symptoms such as tingling, numbness, burning, etc. Do not force anything into relaxing or opening. If you take a slightly more passive approach and think like you are asking tissues to relax and open, the body will respond in a more positive way compared to jamming or prying things apart.

I’ve been working with Chelsea Deschamps for the past year. My goals were simple: help me get strong and stay strong. Chelsea is trained as a Kinesiologist specializing in strength and movement training for performance athletes. This weekend I asked Chelsea to write an article on training for the ski season and this is what she’s come up with — thanks Chelsea!

See Chelsea’s blog on her website Omnia Movement and Performance for the full article. If you live out of town and would like to benefit from her services, she offers virtual/online training services. If you live in the Bow Valley you can make an appointment with her through SC2, “Strength Coach Canmore” — she works out of the Bill Warren Training Centre.