Snowboarding is a great sport that clears the mind and brings us close to nature. Whether you’re going snowboarding with friends for a weekend or moving close to a resort to master the sport, understanding the fundamental strengths needed to conquer the mountain is key to performing better. Snowboarding requires agility, endurance, leg and core strength and some level of flexibility. When doing any sport in the cold, your focus should always be on keeping your body warm. And no, I don’t mean through the use of hand warmers. By stretching your body and warming it up, you are lessening the chance of injuring your body. Here are some snowboarding stretches to help keep your body warm on the mountain:
- IT (Iliotibial) Bad Stretch: The IT band is a group of fibers that run along the outside of the thigh. It begins at the hip and extends the outer side of the shin bone, right below the knee joint. It helps us stabilize during running but becomes easily inflamed if overused or not stretched. Here’s a simple stretch from About Health:
- Stand in a doorway with your left leg crossed in front of your right leg.
- With your right arm extending overhead, reach for the left side of the door frame.
- Put your left hand on your hip.
- Push slightly on your left hip to move your hips to the right; you will feel a slight stretch along the right side of your torso.
- Continue to stretch so you feel a complete stretch on the outer torso, hip, upper thigh and knee of your right leg.
- Change sides and repeat
2. Hip Stretch: If you’re looking to progress in snowboarding, turning is a very essential move on all skill levels. And in order to turn properly, you’ll need to throw your hips out to help the rotation of your body. The hip is a ball and socket type joint with a large range of motion. It also contains some of the largest muscle in the body as well as some of the smallest. Our hips tend to be tight if we sit for prolonged periods of time. Follow these easy directions to stretch your hip flexors:
- Kneel onto your left leg and place your right foot in front of you to assume the lunge position.
- Slide your right foot out to the side and place both hands on the floor in front of you.
- Straighten the right knee as much as you can and lean your body forward while relaxing your hips.
3. Shoulder Stretch: Following the same idea for the hips, the shoulders must be stretched too. When snowboarding, your shoulders are used often to guide your direction or to make turns. Our shoulder is one of the most complex joints because it has the greatest range of motion in the body. There are tons of tendons and ligaments that we must support. Here’s an easy standing stretch:
- Relax your shoulders and gently pull one arm across your chest as far as possible, holding at your upper arm.
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then relax for 30 seconds.
- Repeat with the other arm.
Following these basic snowboarding stretches could save you from injuries, help you progress in your sport and help you stay warm on the mountain. Remember that stretching after a sport is very beneficial to your body as well.