If you’re an avid skier or snowboarder, you know the importance of stretching before and after a fun session down the mountain. If you’re more like most of us, you might go once a season with friends or family just for a fun time. If this is more like you, it’s more important than ever to do stretches before and after to mitigate pain from over stretching your muscles and using muscles more than you normally use them in your daily activities. Stretching will also help you avoid winter sport muscle injuries.
Winter sports have a lot in common. When you’re skiing you may use some of the same muscles you use if you’re snowboarding. Let’s go through some great stretches you can practice to help shape you up for your time up on the mountain.
Lying Knee Roll-Over Stretch
You can start this stretch by lying flat on your back. Extend your arms to either side of your body, making sure that your shoulders remain flat on the ground. Bend your knees up as if you are sitting, and then rotate your hips so your lower half of your body is on its side, like you are sleeping on your side. This is a great stretch for your lower back. Do one side, then the other.
Kneeling Quad Stretch
This one is easy. Get down on one knee as if you are proposing. Stretch this stretch so your leg touching the ground extends backwards and push your hips forward. If you have a tough time balancing, use a chair or otherwise to help you stay upright.
Standing Toe-Up Achilles Stretch
While standing upright, place the ball of your foot on a raised object. Bend your knee and lean forward into it. Switch feet and repeat!
Along with all the stretches above, there are a few more that are good for snowboarding since your legs are “trapped” together on the snowboard.
Seated Hamstring Stretch
You may remember this one from gym class in grade school. This stretch is performed by sitting upright on the ground, and leaning your arms forward towards your toes. Stretch as far forward as you can; it’s okay if you can’t touch your toes.
Standing Calf Stretch
This one helps your calf muscle, which is in high demand during snowboarding. Find a wall and stand about arm’s length away. Lean forward and place both hands on the wall, about shoulder width apart. Extend your foot backwards behind you with your heel flat on the ground while keeping your other foot close to the wall. Lean into the wall with your hips – you should feel your calf stretching! Hold it for about thirty seconds and then switch sides and repeat. Stretch your leg further backwards for a deeper stretch.
These stretches performed both before and after skiing or snowboarding can help you avoid discomfort and injury. We hope you enjoy your time on the mountain – and if you’re real sore after, you can always schedule a massage with us at Progressive Spine & Rehab.