TIPS FROM THE PROS
Stretches that riders should be doing after a day of snowboarding
Matt Fisher, Strength & Conditioning Coach at the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific, will be with the Canadian slopestyle and half-pipe snowboarders in Sochi. It’s his job to make sure they’re fit and ready to give it their best in competition.
Snow Sports Canada spoke to Matt about stretches he recommends for the national team that would also be useful to all recreational snowboarders to help prevent soreness or injury and to make sure you get the most out of your vacation or season’s pass.
Fisher advises boarders of all ages and experience levels to be smart and listen to their bodies. “If you’re tired, that’s when you’re the most likely to get injured,” he says. Ways to prevent injuries – particularly on a multi-day snowboarding vacation – include stretching or using a foam roller after your day on the mountain. The more activity we do, the more our muscles tighten up,” says Fisher. It’s also a good idea to schedule in days off. “Risks increase when you exercise in a fatigued state, so it’s not surprising that most injuries occur towards the end of a long snow day or late in a snowboarding vacation,” he cautions.
The stretches below are ideal for after a day of snowboarding, and cover all the major muscle groups you’ve used while riding. They should be done while muscle temperature is still up (immediately after coming off the hill, after some light exercise, or even after a hot shower or hot tub.) DO NOT perform these stretches prior to physical activity. For information on a proper warm-up routine please click here .
This is a sample of some of the more important areas to think about for snowboarding, but there are many more stretches than can and should be completed on a regular basis. Hold each stretch for 45-60 seconds and repeat the entire set twice. Make sure to ease into and out of each stretch and avoid ‘bouncing’. To know whether you’re getting a deep enough stretch, aim for a 6-7 out of 10 on the ‘discomfort’ scale.
Muscle Group: Lower Leg (Calf/Gastrocnemius/Soleus)
Instruction: This exercise can be completed against a wall or on a step. Do not lock the knee out and slightly lean forward to feel the stretch.
Muscle Group: Front of Thigh (Quadriceps/Hip Flexor)
Instruction: The first picture is for the hip flexor. Do not hyperextend through the lower back. The second picture is for the quadriceps. Try to get the heel as close as possible to your glute, again avoiding hyperextension through the lower back.
Muscle Group: Back/Inside/Outside of Thigh (Hamstring/Adductor/Abductor)
Instruction: Lean forward slightly, keep your back flat (neutral spine) until you feel the stretch in the back of the leg. The second picture will stretch the inner thigh/groin. Again make sure to keep the back flat. The third picture will stretch the outer thigh/leg.
Muscle Group: Buttocks (Glutes/Piriformis)
Instruction: Thread one hand through your legs and connect with the other hand. Pull your knee towards your chest, but be careful not to cause any strain on the knee that is folded across.
Muscle Group: Back (Thoracic Spine)
Instruction: Try to touch your knee to the ground on one side, and bring the back of the opposite shoulder to the ground to feel a stretch through the middle back. Do not try to force yourself into this stretch; work on it gradually over time.
Muscle Group: Neck (Upper Trapezius)
Instruction: Try to keep your arm ‘down’ (in this picture I am sitting on my hand to keep that arm down) and tilt your head, trying to bring your ear to your shoulder.
Muscle Group: Wrists (Flexors/Extensors)
Instruction: This stretch can be done with hands in each direction (hands facing forward, backward or to the side)