Strength, conditioning, and rehab with Olympic British ski racer Charlie Raposo.
Just when you think you’re all set for an epic season on the slopes, that niggling old knee pain kicks in again. “Ah yes, I remember that being a pest last year and I keep meaning to do something about it…” But it’s too late now, you’re already at the top of the ski lift, the chalet is paid for, and your friends and family are looking forward to the holiday they’ve been waiting on for months. Sound familiar? Olympic British ski racer Charlie Raposo joins us to share why reaching out for help is one of the best things he’s ever done, and why strength, conditioning and time off the slopes is pivotal to his skiing performance…
Why go to a see a physio? I’ll admit, I didn’t truly understand the value of physiotherapy until I started experiencing back spasms on the slopes. Not only has physiotherapy helped alleviate my pains, but it’s also helped with my ski performance. If you have pain or discomfort, whether it be acute (i.e., from a sport injury) or chronic (i.e., long-term pain from sitting at a desk), I’d bet my bottom dollar that a physio will help you with that. Not only will they help to deal with pain, but they will also help to prevent that pain from coming back. It’s a sensational moment when you truly understand the root cause of your issue and what the solution is!
I’ve been a ski racer for 15 years of my life and I think it’s safe to say that it’s a deeply unpleasant sport for your body, especially as you get older, and the intensity gets higher. The wear and tear that takes place due to the impact of skiing most of our time on ice, as well as being in positions of a full range of motion with maximal force – is enough to beat anyone’s body up. I was 18 years old when I started to have back spasms and little episodes with my back that were sub-optimal. It was all new to me so I just kept on rolling with it, skiing through the pain when I could, and stopping when I couldn’t. But by the age of 22, it had all caught up with me. The summer training camps were becoming very difficult, and it got to the point where I had to have steroid injections in my spine. Sadly, that didn’t help.
Shortly after I was fortunate enough to become a Team GB Olympic athlete where I received access to an intensive physiotherapy rehab unit. Up until that point, I didn’t have a good understanding of my back pain. What was causing the pain and stopping me from skiing at my best? The physios explained that I had hypermobile hips which caused my back to be overloaded, eventually resulting in painful spasms. The solution to this problem was to increase my trunk (torso) strength and stability, while also increasing stability in my hips with lots of single leg work. To see effective results, they explained that I had to put time into rehab. I was militant with it, never missing a physio exercise, and I’m so glad for it!
Ever since my time at the physiotherapy rehab unit, I’ve had a new understanding and appreciation for my back problems that has allowed me to continue in my sport with a stronger and happier body. Simply understanding how my body works and what I’m asking of it, has allowed me to get more out of treatments with physios.
Since then, strength and conditioning for performance and prevention have played an important role in staying as healthy and fit as possible. I’ve had the pleasure of being in the hands of some of the expert physios at Bodyset, It’s been great to see how they’ve been able to adapt to my situation and help me stay in top shape with no issues.
We all underestimate our bodies. On one hand, they are capable of amazing feats, but on the other hand, they are also capable of falling apart before we know it. Taking care of your body – whatever your goals – is an investment that one will never regret and seeing a physio to check in on your body is certainly one of those investments.
So, whether you’re a skiing novice or seasoned pro, take care of your body so you can start enjoying that perfect white powder without pain. It’s your body and your time on the slopes – you deserve to enjoy it pain free!