Ski Fitness Tip #2 – Hip Abductor Control

Hello, my name is Taylor McCabe and I’m a Physiotherapist here at Body Works Sports Physiotherapy in North Vancouver. This is the third video in a series of exercises to get your body ready for ski season. This week is all about hip abductor control.

The hip abductor muscles work on the outside of the hip, but they actually play a really big role in protecting the knee. This is because they help control the alignment of the entire leg from the top down. A lot of injuries to the major ligaments of the knee, the ACL and the MCL, happen with a sharp twist or collapse inwards of the knee. This means working on hip abductor control and strength as well as practicing good movement patterns can help prevent this kind of injury.

The Exercise

  • Find a stretch of wall, lie down on your side and stretch out about an inch away from the wall, so close but not touching.
  • Straighten out your top leg and make sure your knees and toes are pointing forward and not up
  • You can put your top hand onto your hip to make sure it doesn’t go anywhere.
  • You’re going to keep a little bit of pressure back into the wall and slide your heel up the wall just as high as you can go without your hips starting to go with it
  • Then lower back down; so that’s one repetition.
  • The only thing that should be touching the wall is your heel. The walls are there to give you feedback if you start to roll back and lose your alignment.
  • Don’t worry about getting the leg too high, it’s more about isolating it from your hip and your side.
  • There should be no movement here – just the leg moving in the hip socket.
  • You want to repeat that lifting and lowering until you can’t maintain the alignment or the technique, and then you can flip over and try the other side.

So a good sample program to start might be doing 2 sets of 12 repetitions on each leg. If you’re ready to progress the exercise you can make it harder by increasing the number of repetitions, increasing the number of sets, or you can add resistance in the form of an ankle weight or a theraband around your ankles.


  • If you’re ready to work these muscles in more of a standing position you can get into a ski stance ready position and transfer your weight over onto one leg. Feel free to hold on for balance if you need.
  • From here you’re going to think about keeping this hip still and pivoting around it while you tilt the pelvis down and up as far as you can go in each direction
  • Try to keep your upper body quite still.

With both the lying down exercise and the standing one you should feel the work kind of the side towards the back of the hip and that’s it. Now you know how to train your hip abductors.

Find more of our ski training tips here!