So Wrong It's Right

Downhill Skiing

YOUR SPORT IS: DOWNHILL SKIING
CHANGE-UP REGIMEN: TRAIL RUNNING
THE CONNECTION?: AGILITY
Any skier will benefit from proprioception training—that is, training the body to maintain balance in unpredictable situations. "Not only will proprioception teach you balance and agility," says Kipp, "it may also reduce the incidence of ACL injuries." Kipp explains that when you lose control on skis, your knees become vulnerable to tendon-snapping amounts of stress, because the muscles relax in anticipation of a crash. Proprioception training will help you engage your entire leg through any tricky situation, dispersing the forces that could wrench a knee joint and helping you to stay in control.

The Exercise: Craig Roderick, a conditioning coach for Endicott College, in Beverly, Massachusetts, suggests downhill trail running for five- to ten-minute stints at differing grades and speeds. This will teach your body to react to variable surfaces such as a mogul field on a ski run. One descent per running session is all you need to see results.

"You're hopping, you're jumping, you're running, you're planting your feet," he says. "It's like you're training yourself to see beyond your current obstacle to the next step in front of you."

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