If we really wanted to improve our skiing or snowboarding, be a model student on an instructor course, and/or set our bodies up to be as resilient as possible in the face of a ski season… there are a few extra lengths we would go to. We would kick-off our pre-season fitness training with some cardio and core work, and supplement that with a cracking yoga routine. “Ugh, yoga, not for me thanks”. Well, how about we just call it ‘mobility’ or even plain old ‘stretching’.
These are seven moves that, linked up and run through a few times a week, will actually make a difference. If you run through the moves in a fluid, more dynamic way, you’ll be improve the range of mobility in your joints and train the strength of your muscles that control them. Alternatively - great for when the season has kicked off - run through the routine slowly, holding each position for longer, and you’ll flush lactic acid from your muscles and stretch them deliciously - ready for the next day’s riding.
We’ll try not to get too Yogi with you… ps. do some movement to get warmed up ahead of starting these stretches.
Also known as the chair pose, stand with your feet touching and squeeze your thighs together. Raise your hands above your head and squat down. Try to focus on pushing your butt back and feeling your glutes fire up, rather than leaning forwards on your knees.
This position is pretty much identical to ski position and will target the exact muscles you need - the glutes and quads will be burning! Make sure to keep your arms up and tailbone tucked in, that way you’ll engage your core too.
High lunge (crescent lunge)
Hold a high lunge for as long as you can and you’ll definitely feel a burn. Make sure you do it for the same amount of time on each side to keep things even.
This is a great move for both skiers and boarders as it works on balance and stability as well as a deep stretch in the hips.
Most people have attempted a downwards dog before, but it can take a long time to perfect. Our top tip is to focus on a smooth, flat line from your wrists, down your arms, along your spine to your hips. If your line is looking a bit curved, try bending your knees slightly and pushing your butt cheeks to the sky!
After a long day on the hill, your hamstrings and calf muscles will be super tight. At first, the downwards dog might feel pretty stiff, but do a few reps and the stretch will be amazing.
We kid you not, apparently this is called ‘half lord of the fishes’ pose. We call it sitting twist. Either way, it does a delightful job of stretching out tight glutes, the lower back and even across your chest. If your hips and or glutes are mega tight, you don’t have to cross your foot over the other leg right at your hip - start with your foot by your knee.
This twist will be really useful at improving your range of motion and mobility in the park for things like grabs.
For pigeon pose, you start on your front (have a little rest at this point - go on treat yourself). Push your abdomen up with your arms (this is cobra pose - a bonus move of you!), then bring one knee up in front of you. Move the foot of that leg in line with the opposite hip. Now you’re in position, you can keep the stretch light by staying up on your hands, or deepen it by leaning down onto your elbows.
This is probably our favourite hip and glute stretch. It actually came onto our radar when doing lots of running, but is perfect for skiers and snowboarders too.
OK, time to focus on the core. Core strength often gets overlooked when training for skiing and snowboarding. However, it’s important to have a super strong core, to stay balanced and stable on snow.
Much like the plant, the V-sit is one of those that gets you shaking and swearing through your teeth. Set yourself a challenge and add five seconds to your hold each time you practice it.
Side plank is another great move to link up the core, hips and glutes. You could add some mobility to it and pulse your hips up and down. Perfect if you’re working out to a funky beat. As with the V-sit… see if you can up the timer each time. Competitive, us?!
Finally, another sizzling stretch. This pose doesn’t look like much but gently kneeling on your shins, with your feet extended underneath you, brings about the most insane stretch down your quads, all through the front of your shins and the tops of your feet. It’s intense, so maybe hold on to something so you’re not putting your whole weight on your ankles.
This stretch couldn’t be more necessary after a day locked in to ski boots. It will sting at first, but once you relax into it, you won’t be able to get enough.
So, there you have it. The best stretches to get your body prepped for skiing and snowboarding. But, also, a great set of stretches to keep you in great shape during the season. Of course, there are tonnes more yoga flows and mobility routines that you could follow online - YouTube is teeming with them! If you find any good ones, we’d love to hear about them. Good luck!