Written by Vivika Stamolis, NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach
As skiers and riders, we are all familiar with the leg burn. We work our lower body muscles all day on the slopes, tearing micro muscle fibers (don’t worry, this is a good thing) and stressing our joints with repetitive impact. A good post-shred stretch will help correct those muscle tears, relieve tension, improve range of motion, reduce risk of injury, while also increasing blood flow to speed up recovery. At the end of the day, stretching improves your skiing and riding through the season – if that sounds good to you, read on for the best moves to incorporate into your daily routine.
Make sure you are warm and well hydrated, then slowly ease into each stretch. Breathe deeply, as this oxygenates the blood to encourage better muscle repair.
FOAM ROLL / MYOFACIAL RELEASE
Starting with foam rolling helps to flush tension in the muscles and connective tissues to improve mobility and reduce inflammation. Slowly roll both quadriceps with comfortable pressure. Listen to your body; this should feel good as your muscles soften and lengthen.
PIRIFORMIS STRETCH (SEATED)
Sit upright in a chair and cross the right ankle over the left knee, flexing the right foot (push through the heel). Slowly extend forward, feeling the stretch deep beneath your glute muscles. Hold for about 30 seconds, then switch legs and repeat.
HAMSTRING STRETCH (SEATED)
Simple and effective. Sit on the floor with both legs out straight. Extend your arms and reach forward. You may add a slight bend to your knees to ease into this forward-fold. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
LEGS UP THE WALL
Laying on your back, bring your legs vertical along a wall at 90-degrees, making an L-shape. Also known as viparita karani in yoga, this is an excellent passive pose to alleviate tired legs, relieve cramps or aches, and reduce knee pain and swelling. By raising your feet above your head, blood is circulated through your body which prevents stiffness. Lay here for several minutes, breathing deeply.
You can use a wall, stairs, or even a chunk of snow – even in ski boots if you went straight from the slopes into Rafters for Après Live. Keep your back straight and lunge forwards onto your front leg until you feel a stretch in your calf muscle on the back leg. Hold for about 30 seconds on each leg while taking deep breaths.
Stand on your left leg, holding onto a support if needed. Grab your right foot, using your right hand, and pull it towards your butt; feel the stretch along the front of your quad muscle, and push your hips forward to get a good hip flexor stretch. Hold for about 30 seconds, then switch legs and repeat.
Thanks for joining us for this stretch session. Your legs will thank you, too. These postures help you recover after a day on the slopes and improve your mobility for next time (and the next time, and the next time).
Drink water, ski safely, and think snow.