27 Haven Lane, Ealing, W5 2HZ

Tel: 0208 997 1555

Email: info@w5physio.co.uk

Top tips for exercising in heat

May 23, 2019 by  
Filed under W5 Physio News

It’s easy to feel more motivated to exercise throughout the summer months. Waking up to light mornings and sunshine can encourage even the most unenthusiastic of us to get up and out and take better care of our bodies. Perhaps you’re after a more toned physique for your annual beach holiday or are on a health kick having upped your intake of delicious summer fruits, smoothies and salads. Maybe you’re simply enjoying feeling the warm air on your skin and are using exercise as a reason for spending more time outdoors. 

Whatever your motive for summer exercising, our advice is ‘go for it’! Tailored exercise is key to a healthy body and for aiding rehab following injury. However, it should always be remembered that there are increased risks to exercising in hot conditions – here are a few of our considerations for staying safe during your summer exercise routine. 

  1. Protect yourself from the sun – it’s a basic one, but extremely important. If you’re walking, running, rowing or cycling on a hot sunny day, make sure you’re protecting yourself adequately. A hat or bandana will guard your head from the intensity of the sun and high-factor sun cream will protect your skin from harmful rays. Simply choosing an exercise route that is shaded will really help too.
  • Stay hydrated – if you’re planning on exercising on a sunny day, up your water intake in preparation. Think about taking water with you during your workout too. You can learn more about the importance of hydration in our blog. 
  • The time of day – midday sun is a no-no for any kind of outdoor summer exercise and should be avoided where possible. In fact, dodging the entire middle section of the day altogether and opting for a morning or evening workout is by far the safest option during the hottest summer months, or whilst abroad. 
  • Adapt your workout – if temperatures are soaring, it may just be worth skipping your outdoor running or cycling routine temporarily and replacing it with a session at an indoor gym or class. Plenty of public gyms are fully air conditioned and offer a much more comfortable environment in which to run, cycle and lift weights. Alternatively, swapping your run for a more low-intensity yoga class may be a safe option for a day or two. 
  • Make sure you’ve eaten – whilst it’s important to take on enough calories ahead of exercising at any time of the year, it’s particularly crucial if you’re training in hot conditions. Working out in the heat burns extra calories and fat, but this does put extra strain on the body. ‘Fuel up’ well in advance of your exercise session to avoid burn out and even collapse.
  • Dress appropriately – breathable sportswear is best for summer exercising. Wear loose fitting tops and shorts and avoid clingy leggings or tops when in the sun. Remember your feet will swell slightly in the heat so make sure your trainers fit well for optimal comfort. 
  • Listen to your body – pushing yourself too hard in the heat can cause serious illness. Always look out for anything that doesn’t feel quite right and make sure you’re familiar with the symptoms of heatstroke, which include; 
  • Excessive thirst
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Headache
  • Cramps or muscle weakness
  • Rapid, racing heartbeat
  • Lack of sweating despite feeling hot
  • Prepare – key to exercising in the summer months is a little fore-thought. Take the steps listed above to ensure you’re hydrated, have eaten properly, have planned your route, or even adapted your routine slightly. Make sure you have the right clothing, have protected your head and skin and know the signs of heat-related illness should they occur. Finally, prepare by checking the weather forecast before you head out. 

Regular exercise is key to maintaining a strong and healthy body and is something we actively encourage all of our clients to do at W5Physio. As we’ve identified above, the heat canadd complications to your workout, but that doesn’t mean it should be avoided completely. Simply being aware of how to exercise safely when it’s hot is fundamental…so go on, get out there and enjoy! Jogging in the wind and rain again will be here before we know it! 

If you’d like more advice on exercising, strengthening or recovering from an injury safely, contact us – one of our friendly, experienced physios will be happy to help.

The truth about back pain

May 2, 2019 by  
Filed under W5 Physio News

What a pain!

Back pain is without doubt one of the most common problems we see in our physiotherapy clinic. Statistics claim that up to 80% of us will experience back pain at some time in our lives. For some of us, back pain is sporadic, whilst for others, it’s more persistent. But whatever the frequency and cause of your back pain there are lots of things that can be done to treat it.


Why does my back hurt?

Mechanical issues

Let’s start with the good news – back problems are only occasionally serious business and for most of us back discomfort stems from spinal soft tissues, or sometimes the bones or joints.

Nowadays, it’s common for people to hunch over desks, constantly scroll through phones and tablets, or sit in cars for long periods of time, and many cases of back pain are purely the result of poor posture. Let’s face it, we live in a fast-paced world where remembering to sit and hold ourselves correctly is often the last thing on our minds.

Stress is another modern-day yet common cause of back pain. Did you know that simply feeling tense or run down can play havoc with your back?

For others, back problems occur because of moving or lifting awkwardly, or can be the result of a sprain or strain.

All of the above examples are of what we call ‘mechanical’ back pain and cover the majority of back problems that we’ll see at W5Physio. It’s important to remember that mechanical difficulties will normally start to get better within a few weeks. And physiotherapy can definitely help in your recovery.

Other conditions

Of course, non-mechanical causes of back pain sometimes occur too. Non-mechanical problems often present with other symptoms such as stiffness, numbness, tingling or weakness.

They include sciatica – nerve irritation that causes pain to radiate in the lower back, buttocks and down the leg into the feet; spondylolisthesis (easy for you to say!) which is the result of a bone in the spine slipping out of position; a prolapsed (slipped) disc, where spinal cartilage presses on a nerve; or ankylosing spondylitis which is basically the swelling of joints in the spine.

Again, all of these conditions will benefit from physio and visiting your doctor or one of our physiotherapy professionals (who are used to seeing these kinds of problems daily) can diagnose you properly and advise of the best course of action.

Infrequently, back pain is the result of something more serious. An infection, cancer, broken bone or cauda equina syndrome (severe compression of nerves in the lower back) are all examples, but they’re extremely rare. Again, visit us for an accurate diagnosis if you’re concerned.

Tips for treating your back pain

As we’ve identified above, there are many reasons why you could be experiencing soreness in your back. And that’s why it’s important to have a professional identify the exact underlying cause.

Generally, though, there is some ‘rule of thumb’ when it comes to alleviating your back pain. Here are our top tips:

  • Don’t stop moving

Even if pain seems to be worse on moving, aim to continue with your normal activities, where possible. Steadily and gradually increase your activity and try not to fear twisting or bending. Studies have shown that people who remain active are likely to recover more quickly.

  • Try some stretches

Trying some gentle stretches can take the edge off your pain and loosen tight muscles. Our physios can provide you with a programme of stretches to do in the comfort of your own home. Stretching even when you don’t have pain is a great way to prevent future back problems occurring.

  • Hot and cold treatment

Some people find that heat, such as a warm bath or hot water bottle helps their back pain. Others find that putting something cold on it (like an ice pack), is better – never put ice directly onto the skin though! Our physios can advise on whether hot or cold treatment, or a combination of both, is best for your specific condition, so give us a call.

  • Get professional help

Backs can be tricky things! And with so many diagnoses, it’s safest to get a professional opinion to ensure you’re taking the right steps to aid your recovery. Seek advice from a physiotherapist or your GP.


If you’re experiencing acute or chronic back pain, make an appointment with us today. Our physiotherapists have a wealth of experience in physiotherapy, acupuncture and pilates.

Our tailored treatment plans have great success rates and we’ll not only help to get you back on the road to recovery but prevent future back problems too.




Strength training for running

May 2, 2019 by  
Filed under W5 Physio News

Running appears to be more popular than ever. With an influx in local running clubs opening and park runs being organised, it’s attracting individuals of all ages and fitness levels. People are starting to push themselves more and more, setting goals from just the occasional 5km to training for half marathons, full marathons and obstacle courses.

Despite this increase in popularity in the sport, many runners are surprised to hear that running alone is not enough to improve performance and to push their bodies to the next level. People can be put off by the mention of strength training as it can be associated with bulking up – something that runners generally want to avoid, along with the aching or stiff muscles that can follow.

However, for runners, strength training doesn’t have to mean bulking up. Training should be centred on strength as opposed to muscle gain, and because of the miles put into running, any increases in muscle mass are relatively low.

Benefits of strength training for runners

In reality, there are many benefits of strength training for runners. The main three accomplishments are:

  1. Preventing injuries by strengthening muscles and connective tissue
  2. Increasing running speed by improving neuromuscular coordination and power
  3. Improving running economy by encouraging coordination and stride efficiency

In an interview with The Guardian, Mo Farah explained that squatting 200lb and doing core work had made a significant difference to his running. A study in 2008, carried out by Storen et al, looked at runners that performed heavy squats three times a week, alongside runners who performed only their normal distance training. The findings showed that runners doing the squats improved their running economy and time-to-exhaustion at maximum aerobic speed without any change in their body weight.

Strength training further makes your body more efficient at converting metabolic waste into energy, decreasing  recovery time following long runs. Regular strength training can also help to correct muscle imbalances and weaknesses that are common in modern life, especially for runners who take up the sport as adults and spend their non-running hours at a desk.

How and when to strength train

Ideally, you should strength train three times a week, but even just once per week is better than nothing. Strength training is meant to help your running, not detract from it, so incorporate it into your regular run training routine. You can do strength and submaximal run sessions on the same day providing you leave a six hour window between sessions.

And importantly, always ensure you have rest days. It’s essential to give your body time to recover and to ensure you’re stretching effectively.

Below, we’ve included some strength training exercises for runners. They target upper body, lower body and core. If you have specific imbalances or recurrent injuries it’s best to arrange a full assessment with a professional. We can help with this kind of assessment at W5Physio and will design a tailored programme for you – get in touch with us here.


1. Single leg squat


2. Romanian single dead lift

3. Single leg bridge


4. Squats with weight


5. Lateral band walk

6. Side plank


7. Plank


8. Bird dogs with tucks


9. Burpees


10. Push ups


11. Bent over rows


12. Rotational shoulder press

These exercises target upper body, core and lower body. Choose a few in each area to create a full body workout or simply concentrate on one area at a time. For best results add them to your easy or cross training days. And remember if you’d like further advice, contact us – we’re here to help!



How to prevent the most common running injuries

March 13, 2019 by  
Filed under W5 Physio News

There’s no denying that running is a great way to keep fit. It can help you to lose weight, lower cholesterol, increase lung function, boost immunity and relieve stress. Running has become an increasingly popular sport with many people now challenging themselves to organised 5k and 10k events, and half and full marathons.

However, running does come with risks, and if not done correctly can cause a whole host of injuries to knees, ankles and hips, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Even regular runners with great technique and habits can find themselves faced with occasional aches and pains related to their exercise or training routine.

At W5Physio, we see a whole host of running-related problems in our clinic, so here, we’re going to share with you our top tips for preventing some of the  most commonly seen injuries.

The golden rules

There are some golden rules of injury prevention that seem to work for most people, most of the time. There’s no guarantee they’ll  prevent you from ever getting hurt, but if you incorporate these principles into your running, you will be more likely to enjoy a long and healthy running life.

  1. Avoid doing too much, too soon and too fast. This is the number one cause of running injuries. The body needs time to adapt to increases in mileage or speed. Muscles and joints need recovery time so that they can handle greater demands. If you rush that process, you could break down rather than build up.
  2. Build your weekly mileage by no more than ten per cent per week. So, if you run 5km the first week, run 5.5km the second, about 6km the third week, and so on. Use the ten per cent rule as a guideline, but even that might still be too aggressive an increase, so be sure to work at your own pace.
  3. Listen to your body. Most running injuries don’t come out of nowhere. Usually there will have been warning signs – soreness, aches and persistent pain.
  4. Buy good trainers. There’s no single best shoe for every runner – your goal is to find the one that offers the best support and fit for your anatomy and biomechanics. Try visiting a specialist running store – the staff there will watch you walk or run, and help you find the best shoe for you.
  5. Take some time after each workout to write down notes about what you did and how you felt. For instance, you may notice that your knees ache when you run on consecutive days but you feel great when you rest in between running days. Look for patterns. This will help you identify any weaknesses and the best routine for you.
  6. Experts agree that most runners can draw benefit from cross-training activities (swimming, cycling, rowing) and core strengthening to help improve muscle balance and stay injury free.
  7. Respect your limits. They’re determined by genetics, anatomy, biomechanics, age, level of fitness, history of injury, gender, lifestyle and many other factors that are out of your control.
  8. Increasing your stride rate has been linked to a lower rate of injuries. Ideally, aim to take 170 to 180 steps per minute.

Warming up is key

Hitting the road after you’ve just spent eight hours sitting at a desk can be a shock to the system, so it’s smart to do a dynamic warm-up before you launch into a workout. A dynamic warm-up prepares your body for the demands of running by increasing body temperature, improving range of motion and increasing blood flow to the big muscles you’ll rely on most while running – your glutes, quads and hamstrings. Exercises we’d recommend in your warm-up are the following:

  1. Warrior lunge

This warms up the core muscles and promotes hip mobility and achilles tendon flexibility.

Lift your arms above your head. Step your left foot forward into a lunge, making sure your knee doesn’t extend forward past your foot/toes. Step back to start, bringing arms down. Switch legs. Do eight to ten reps on each leg.

  1. Lateral squat

Lateral squats will activate the glutes and adductor muscles. Stand with your feet wide apart and shift to the left as you lower down into a squat, bending your left knee. Touch your right hand to your left foot. Return to standing, then switch sides. Do ten reps in each direction.

  1. Toy soldier

This exercise warms up the glutes, hamstrings, and quads.

Without bending your knee, step forward and kick your right leg out and up to waist level while extending your left arm, as if to touch your toes. Release and swap legs. Do ten reps each side.

  1. Star touch

This Improves hamstrings and glute flexibility. Stand with feet wide apart, toes pointing forward. Keeping the legs straight, reach your left hand across the body and try to touch your right toe. Return to the centre. Repeat on the other side. Do eight to ten reps on each side.

Our physios have a wealth of experience in running-related injuries, and many of them are keen runners themselves. Get in touch for advice on developing a safe running routine, or if you’re experiencing any pain or injury that you think may be related to running, be sure to contact us to make an appointment. We look forward to helping you back to fitness as quickly as possible.

What is atraumatic shoulder instability?

February 25, 2019 by  
Filed under W5 Physio News

Whilst most shoulder dislocations are a result of trauma (an injury), some people also experience episodes of instability without having injured themselves. As physios, its important for us to work out why such instability has occurred. Here we explain a bit more about Atraumatic shoulder instability.

Basically atraumatic instability is instability of the shoulder i.e. dislocation, without a trauma. Done.

Well, not quite…

The majority of people who suffer from this will have a combination of underlying laxity in the ligaments and the joint capsule, and reduced muscle strength and control. Causes can vary from repetitive movements that create some micro trauma to the joint capsule, for example, in sports where there is a lot of throwing or overhead activity or where the joint is forced into extreme rotation, like gymnastics. This kind of activity loosens the capsular restraints.

Other causes can be our genetics, our development or some studies have even shown some psychological causes are possible.

Who is affected?

This condition is primarily seen in the younger person – those under the age of 25. As mentioned, there will be no clear history of injury but there may have been something slight that started it all off. A person may be higher on the hypermobility scale, there may be a history of subluxations or dislocations.  In someone suffering with atraumatic instability, we’d expect to see evidence of pain, particularly at the front of the shoulder and there may be fear around moving or performing tasks with the shoulder.

What can we do about it?

There are some cases that will need to be referred into a specialist shoulder unit, and some that will need surgery. However, once abnormal muscle patterning has developed, amongst other life stresses, surgery can sometimes result in a poorer outcome. But should that be the case, your physio and shoulder doctor will discuss the options with you.

The good news is, a large number of people will be able to recover and manage with physiotherapy and rehabilitation and this should be the first port of call. Having a good, structured rehabilitation programme, which factors in all muscle function, pain and any psychological factors such as fear and anxiety about moving the shoulder (1) is key. Then being consistent with your rehab is vital as some studies suggest that it takes a high level of compliance and commitment to achieve results…and most of these studies took place over 12-24 weeks, so it takes a long time and is not easy (2, 3, 4).

There are many different routes for rehabilitation to follow and many different exercises that can be done. It will depend on individual assessment as to where the focus may be. This will usually involve working on the muscles that control the scapula (shoulder blade), the muscles that act on the humerus (upper arm) and the muscles that control the shoulder joint itself.

The below are just a few examples of the sort of thing you might be doing at each stage.

Stage 1:

In this stage we are trying to reduce pain, fear and avoidance of movement and any associated anxieties which are common place and natural emotional reactions to shoulder instability. It is important in this stage to find a ‘safe zone’ which is a range where you feel comfortable to move the arm, so that we can begin to get some activation of the muscles.

To encourage this, a good place to start is with what we call ‘closed chain exercises’ where we can get some load through the arm but on a stable surface. This allows us to work on joint stability, proprioception and some co-contraction of the muscles. In this stage I would also start to introduce some isometric (static) contractions of the rotator cuff.

Here, we are not as worried about hitting specific sets and reps but working from 30-60 secs for 3-4 times is a good place to start with the focus on building confidence.

Here are some examples of the kinds of exercises we would generally recommend during Stage 1 of recovery:

1. 4 point kneeling weight shift – watch the video here.

2. 4 point Progression – watch the video here.

3.  Isometric External Rotation – watch the video here. 

Stage 2:

In Stage 2, we are aiming to introduce some weighted movement to start to build some strength and endurance. It’s best to work with pain, effort and fatigue when defining sets and reps which means work to fatigue with what you can manage. This will normally equate 3-4 sets of 12-20 repetitions as we look to build control and stability.

Here are some examples of Stage 2 exercises:

1. Side lying external rotation – watch the video here.

2. Prone external rotation – watch the video here.

3. Prone Horizontal abduction – watch the video here.

Stage 3:

During Stage 3, we’re looking to put different movements together and tap into the rest of the body’s kinetic chain.

Examples may include the following:

1. Flexion with external rotation – watch the video here.

2. Lunge with resistance – watch the video here.

3. Ball rotations – watch the video here.

Stage 4:

In Stage 4, we want to add some dynamic movement, working some of what we call our ‘stretch shortening cycles’ as you start to progress back to your normal activities and/or sport.

1. Throwing and catching – watch the video here.

2. Drop and catch – watch the video here.


The general rule should be that if there is positive progress at 12 weeks, a patient should persist with the rehab programme for another 3-6 months. If at 12 weeks no progress has been made then it is probably time to explore other options.

Here’s our summary:

  1. Physio is first line of management for atraumatic instability. It’s a long process and it’s hard work. Be consistent and stick with it. You will get there.
  2. The entire process needs to be a joint decision-making process with you, your shoulder consultant and your physio.
  3. If you’re not improving, then referral on to a shoulder consultant will be necessary. Some people will need a direct referral depending on certain criteria (as discussed above).
  4. Build confidence, stability, control and then add the fun stuff.

If you’re struggling with shoulder pain, get in touch for an appointment with one of our skilled and experienced physiotherapists. We look forward to seeing you soon!


6 Top tips for a healthy Valentine’s Day

February 13, 2019 by  
Filed under W5 Physio News

It’s Valentine’s Day…cue the chocolates, wine and meals out. Although the occasional indulgence won’t hurt, if you’re keen to stick to a more healthy routine this February, there are plenty of ways to show your partner your appreciation for them, without completely neglecting your well-being in the process.

Here are our suggestions for some alternative Valentine’s activities

1. Get moving

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to mean sitting indoors, eating or watching a rom-com. Why not try getting sweaty with your partner by heading out for a run, cycle or walk? There’s nothing more rewarding (or romantic) than feeling like you’ve both achieved a shared goal. You could even pack a picnic. After all, you’ll need to keep your strength up after burning all those calories.

2. Cook a meal together

We all know that cooking at home is the healthiest option when it comes to avoiding hidden calories, fats and sugars. This Valentine’s Day, why not plan a tasty but healthy meal in the comfort of your own kitchen? Enjoy time with your loved one as you share the food prep, before sitting down at your very own candlelit table for two. It’s the perfect way to enjoy a special evening without piling on the pounds.

3. Take a dance class

Is there a more perfect excuse to get close to your companion than in a dance class? Dance is one of the best ways to get into shape as it helps with posture and provides a workout for both body and mind. Take your Valentine in your arms and take to the dance floor – it’s one of the most popular hobbies in the UK right now.

4. Book a massage

Low lights, indulgent smells and chilled-out background music. There’s nothing more romantic than a couple’s massage as a Valentine’s treat. Even better is that a massage is a great way to take care of yourself: promoting relaxation, reducing stress and anxiety, easing aches, pains and inflammation, as well as improving sleep.

Don’t fancy leaving the house? Why not pamper your partner with a massage at home? Best of all, they’ll probably agree to repay the favour too.

5. Take a bath

Warm baths are another great way to reduce stress, ease aches and pains and create a little romance. Bring out the bubble bath, light some candles and scatter some petals for the perfect atmosphere. Your loved one will appreciate the effort and your muscles and mind will appreciate it too.

6. Climb a mountain

There are few things more rewarding than testing your body with a hike up a mountain. Better still, there are few things more romantic than the stunning view when you reach the summit. Get adventurous with your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day and create an unforgettable experience. And don’t forget the champagne and strawberries for when you arrive at the top!


For more tips on improving your health and well-being, get in touch with W5Physio. We’re experts in rehab and are here to help you reach your fitness goals.




What to expect from your first appointment at W5Physio

January 29, 2019 by  
Filed under W5 Physio News

At W5, we understand that any form of medical treatment can be daunting. And especially so if you’ve never had physio before. It’s normal to have a whole host of questions such as, will it hurt? Will I see immediate results? And, is physio the right treatment for me? Well, we’re here to help…

Your initial assessment will comprise of three parts: the subjective and objective examinations, followed by a diagnosis.

This short article has been written to put you at ease and provides an insight into exactly what you can expect from your first physiotherapy appointment with us.

The subjective examination

As physiotherapists, we work within a biopsychosocial model…wow! Are you blinded by technobabble yet? Whatwe basically mean is “listening to you about your complaint” – something we call the “subjective examination.”

The first part of your initial appointment will involve us collecting a lot of information from you about what’s wrong and, more importantly, how it’s affecting you so that we can work out how to help.

During this subjective examination, we’ll ask questions that aim to rule out things like chronic pain (pain that’s been present for a long time, comes from the central nervous system and may be better treated by a specialists such as a psychologist); or, things like tumours, that unfortunately won’t benefit from physiotherapy either.

It’s really important we ask you lots of questions to gather as much information as possible. We’ll likely ask you what you think is going on and whether you have any thoughts on how we can help you to get yourself better.

It’s all part of us building a partnership where you’re in the driving seat and we’re simply helping you to your destination of feeling better. And we appreciate that the journey to recovery will look different for every individual.

The objective examination

The next stage is the objective examination. Based upon the information you provided us in the subjective, we probably have an idea of what the complaint could be.

This part of your appointment helps us to test some of our thoughts around what we think the problem is.

This is the “hands on” part of your session where your physiotherapist will use gentle movements and/or manual therapy techniques to confirm your complaint, and to help the pain and restore some movement, should you be having mobility issues.

We’ll ask you to show us where it hurts and when it feels better through guiding you through a series of movements such as bending, stretching and twisting. We’ll carry out a full assessment, palpitating muscles and checking joints for stiffness or laxity.

The objective is also the part of the examination where we use our neurological testing skills. This means testing your reflexes, muscle strength and sensation. A thorough neurological exam helps to “rule in” problems of the nervous system and can help your physiotherapist decide whether you need an x-ray or scan.

The diagnosis

Once we’ve carried out both the subjective and objective examinations we can reach a diagnosis and discuss what we can do to help. We’ll estimate how much treatment is required and how long it will take to reach the goals agreed with you.

By the end of your first session, you’ll understand:

  • What’s wrong
  • What to do about it
  • An approximate recovery time
  • And, how to prevent problems coming back.

Do you think you or someone you know could benefit from physiotherapy? Why not get in touch to arrange an initial appointment. Our team of professional and friendly staff will use their experience and knowledge to put you at ease and ensure you’re feeling better as soon as possible.




Physiotherapist vacancy

January 8, 2019 by  
Filed under W5 Physio News

Are you a physiotherapist with at least 5 years’ experience?  Would you like to join an established practice in Ealing Broadway?

If you’re positive, highly-skilled, self-motivated and people-focused, we want to hear from you. The successful candidate will join an enthusiastic team of like-minded professionals and receive clinical support and structured CPD and in-service training. External CPD courses and training will be paid for in keeping with the candidate’s learning objectives and career direction.

Please send your CV plus a covering letter to Mrs L O’Leary, Practice Manager, W5Physio Ltd, 27 Haven Lane, Ealing, W5 2HZ, or alternatively apply here. 


Preparing for winter sports

November 30, 2018 by  
Filed under W5 Physio News

It’s that time of the year again when you start getting excited about your upcoming snowsport holidays.

Accommodation and flights have been booked, transfers organised and equipment hire sorted. But amongst all of this planning, one of the most important aspects often gets overlooked…are you physically ready for your trip? Afterall, skiing and snowboarding are sports!

If you’re as crazy about snow sports as some of us at W5Physio are, then you’ll be out on the first lift most days, only to return as the pistes close. With this in mind, it’s important that your body is prepared for this continuous exertion of throwing yourself down a mountain, with nothing but a sliver of wood strapped to your feet.

Here are our exercise tips for getting you in shape for your next snow sports holiday.

Your fitness goal

One of our physios, Taryn, shares the moto, “exercising your body should be the same as cleaning your teeth.” You wouldn’t only brush once a week, would you?

The NHS website advises:

‘…to stay healthy, adults aged 19 to 64 should try to be active daily and should do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or brisk walking every week. Plus, strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).”

In reality, most of the population don’t manage this but it’s certainly a goal to work towards.

When and how to start training

Training should start at least three months before your holiday and you should do two to three strength sessions and cardio workouts a week. This also depends on your base level of fitness, so if you’re fitter, try for four to five times a week. Cardio exercise includes swimming, running, cycling, rowing or using the cross trainer. It can be any activity that raises your heart rate.

Interval training – that’s going faster and then slower for short bursts – is particularly good as it imitates the stop-start nature of snowboarding.

The muscles that are most important during snowboarding are your core muscles (abdominal and back muscles), foot and calf muscles and your upper leg and hip muscles. It’s important to work all of these areas in your training, and of course if you have any specific weak areas, then these should be focused on. Or, if you have any ongoing or current injuries these should also be assessed by a physiotherapist so the right treatment programme can be followed.

Here at W5Physio we pride ourselves in tailoring exercise programmes and rehab to your goals and needs.

Your snow sports exercise plan

When starting any exercise session you should always warm up the muscles you’re planning on working. Start with five minutes of walking/cycling, or even simply stepping up and down the bottom step of your stairs at home. Follow this with around five minutes of dynamic stretches (taking muscles to end range but not holding for a stretch).  See this video for some examples.

Below, our very own physiotherapist and snow sports enthusiast, Taryn,  will share her own current snow sport programme. It works well when performed in a HIIT (High-Intensity-Interval-Training) of 20 seconds in the beginning,  building up to 45 seconds, and in sets of four to six. Alternatively, try eight reps to start with and work up to 15-20 reps, doing four sets.

  1. Press ups with a high low plank – try keep your body still and don’t rock.

Do eight press ups and then four high low planks with each arm or alternate for 20-45sec

Watch the plank video here

  1. Slide lunges with or without a weight – keep your chest up. Either take one shoe off or place a towel under one foot to help you press and slide one leg out into a side lunge.Introduce a weight as you get stronger. Repeat both sides.

Watch the side lunges video here

  1. Squats and woodchop squats – keep your chest up and start with a light weight, progressing to slightly heavier weights. Be careful not to through the weight over your shoulder during the woodchop.

Watch the woodchop squats video here

  1. Physio ball bent leg jack knife – don’t let your back collapse when your legs are straight. Progress to a straight leg jack knife when you’re stronger.

Watch the bent leg jack knife video here

  1. Squat jumps – Begin without a weight, but introduce one when you’re ready. Progress further by jumping onto a step, and finally, by adding a twist (for the jumps I never land)

Watch the squat jumps video here

  1. Medicine ball get up – push the weight forward as you get up and try keep your feet still as you plant them and reach for ceiling when standing. Try this version first but if you have  had any recent lower back pain, do the easier version instead.

Watch the medicine ball get up video here

One extra exercise I’d add, if you have access to a leg press machine, is doing calf raises in a straight and bent knee position with a weight you find difficult but manageable to lift.

Our final tips

Our final tips would be to make sure all your equipment is in safe working order and to maybe buy some buttock padding and wrist guards, particularly if you’re prone to falling. Also remember wear a helmet. Get enough sleep and drink plenty of water leading up to  and during your holiday.

Finally, take a moment at the top of the mountain to enjoy the view, then take pride in how strong you feel when skiing or boarding down.


W5Physio are leading London physiotherapists. If you’d like any personal advice on preparing for an upcoming sporting event, or preventing injury, don’t hesitate to give us a call to arrange a session with one of our experienced physios.







Full-time Physiotherapist Position Available

November 1, 2018 by  
Filed under W5 Physio News




We have an exciting opportunity for a positive, highly skilled and people-focused self-employed Physiotherapist to join our great team.  The role is 30 hours a week in our busy, established practice in Ealing Broadway, London.

The ideal candidate will have at least 5 years of neuromusculoskeletal experience, and excellent skills in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of all neuromusculoskeletal conditions.  The candidate will be highly self-motivated, enthusiastic, positive and want to work as part of a successful team to build their caseload and relationships with existing referrers.

The successful candidate will receive clinical support, fortnightly structured CPD and in-service training.  External CPD courses and training will be paid for in keeping with the candidates learning objectives and career direction.

Please send your CV plus a covering letter to accounts@w5physio.co.uk or post to Mrs L O’Leary, Practice Manager, W5Physio Ltd, 27 Haven Lane, Ealing, W5 2HZ.

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