Should you stretch after a day on the slopes?
The short answer is - yes! Stretching is an underrated part of a skier and snowboarder’s wellness manual. You use a lot of major muscles when skiing/snowboarding - quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, hips, back. Many of us only head to the mountains once or twice a year, so your body will not be accustomed to working these muscles in the particular way skiing/snowboarding requires them to.
The benefit of stretching after a day on the slopes is that it will help to reduce any muscle tightness and tension you have built up during the day. This will increase your mobility, help you avoid injury and speed up recovery, and relieve any soreness you may be feeling that day and the day after. And, you will have a much better ski/snowboard the next day too.
So, what stretches could help after a day on the slopes?
Here are some of our favourites:
To target your inner thighs and hips:
Side lunge stretch: Stand upright, and on an exhale breath take your bodyweight to one side, lunging onto one leg. Repeat on the other side.
Lying figure-four stretch: Lie on your back with your feet on the floor, knees pointing to the sky. Cross one ankle over the opposite knee, keeping your lifted foot flexed. Bring the knee of the leg still placed on the floor toward your chest by interlacing your hands underneath the knee to feel the stretch in your glute and hip. Repeat on the other side.
To target your hamstrings and calves:
Downward dog: Begin on your hands and knees, place your wrists underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Tuck your toes under, press through your hands and lift your hips back and up to make a ’V’ pose.
Standing wall calf stretch: Stand facing a wall, placing hands on the wall. Rest your toes on the wall, and dig your heel into the floor to stretch the calf. Repeat on the other side.
To target your quads and glutes:
Forward lunges: Start with your hands on your hips. Step forward with one leg, until your front thigh and the opposite shin are parallel to the floor, and the back knee is a few inches from the floor. Your torso should be straight, and your chest proud. Press into the forward heel to stand back up to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
Standing quadricep stretch: Stand upright. Grab one foot with the same hand, and pull it towards your glute. You will feel the stretch in your quad muscle; push your hips forward to feel a stretch in your hip flexor. Repeat on the other side.
To target your back:
Cat-cow stretch: Begin on your hands and knees, place your wrists underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Tilt your pelvis back and drop the belly, raising your head. On the next breath, arch your back a draw your navel toward your spine, dropping your head.