When choosing an extreme winter sport, snowboarding is the easy winner. But it can also be pretty rigorous! Avoid injury by limbering up before heading out.
Here are 11 of the best stretches for snowboarding:
- Hamstring stretch
- Gluteus stretch
- Shoulder stretch
- Lower back stretch
- Standing calf stretch
- Clock face stretch
- Hip flexor stretch
- Piriformis stretch
- Overhead shoulder stretch
- Cat stretch
- Quadricep stretch
Let’s take a closer look at these stretches and their benefits!
1. Hamstring Stretch
The hamstrings, located in the thigh between the hip and knee, are crucial in daily activities such as walking, running… and snowboarding!
However, they are also prone to injury, especially among athletes.
Stretching your hamstrings in preparation for snowboarding will reduce the risk of injury and increase flexibility, balance, and stamina.
There are many ways to stretch your hamstrings. The below shows one of the easiest ways.
2. Gluteus Stretch
The gluteal muscles are a group of three muscles that make up the buttocks. They serve an essential role in the body’s mobility, as one of their primary functions is the external rotation of the hip joint.
Stretching your glutes can relieve pain in the hips and lower back, increase mobility, and decrease the risk of injury associated with snowboarding and other athletic activities.
This makes them one of the best stretches for snowboarding.
Common stretches used to strengthen the glutes are squats, lunges, and hip thrusts. Other physical activities, such as aerobic exercise, weight training, and cycling can also aid in strengthening and stretching the gluteal muscles.
3. Shoulder Stretch
The shoulder consists of multiple, large muscles that can easily be strained or injured during physical activity. It is one of the most mobile joints in the human body, making it crucial for motion. However, it is known for its instability.
Shoulder stretches lessen tension, increase mobility, and decrease the risk of injury.
This one’s easy, slowly stretch one arm across your body while gentling holding it in place with the other arm. No need to push too far, just enough to feel a stretch.
4. Lower Back Stretch
The lower back, also known as the lumbar region, is an essential aspect of strength and mobility in snowboarding. However, it is also prone to pain and injury.
Many simple stretches and physical activities benefit the hips and lower back, such as abdominal stretches, pilates, and yoga.
My favorite for this one is to stand up, gently lean forward with your legs straight and touch your feet (or the floor if you’re flexible enough). This stretches the lower back and as a bonus, also stretches the hamstring.
5. Calf Stretch
The calves and their muscles are essential in any leg-requiring physical activity. They are also the location of the Achilles tendon, a key place of potential injury.
Stretching the calves before snowboarding will increase mobility and strength and prevent injury to the Achilles tendon. The most recommended calf stretch is the standing calf stretch.
Simply follow the picture above. Ease into this one gently as it’s easy to overstretch! Do each leg separately.
6. Thoracic Clock Face Stretch
A more specific stretch for snowboarders is the thoracic clock face stretch. This increases flexibility and relieves any lower back tension caused by snowboarding.
To see how this stretch is properly executed, check out this quick YouTube video:
7. Hip Flexor Stretch
The hip flexors, located in front of the hips towards the upper thigh, allow movement in the hips and knees. As with most muscles, physical or athletic activity can easily strain the hip flexors.
According to the Hospital for Special Surgery, stretching the hip flexors relieves tightness and increases flexibility and movement.
This is definitely one of the best stretches for snowboarding! For those with ageing knees (myself included) I recommend placing a pillow under your knee. The position is then basically a lunge with the knee placed on the floor. Gently push your hips forward until you feel a stretch.
8. Piriformis Stretch
The piriformis, one of the muscles in the lateral rotator group, is located in the gluteal region. As one of the hip’s lateral rotators, it is crucial for movement and flexibility and plays and contributes significantly to walking ability.
Due to its importance in the process of movement, performing piriformis stretches will strengthen the hips, increasing their range of motion and relieving tension.
9. Overhead Shoulder Stretch
Though we have already discussed the importance of shoulder stretches, the overhead shoulder stretch is worth mentioning.
The overhead shoulder stretch benefits various muscles in the neck, arms, chest, back, and shoulders. This stretch increases mobility, strength, and flexibility, crucial aspects of physical and athletic activity, making it beneficial for snowboarders.
10. Cat Stretch
One of the most well-known yoga poses is the cat stretch. It is a straightforward and calming stretch with a heavy focus on strength, relaxation, and slow, controlled breathing and movements.
The cat stretch significantly affects the back, improving circulation in the spine’s discs and relieving tension. It is also beneficial in tightening the abdominal muscles, causing an increase in stability and balance, which are both crucial aspects of snowboarding.
11. Quadricep Stretch
The last stretch we will be looking at is the quadricep stretch. An old classic!
The quadriceps are a large muscle group containing four muscles located in the front of the thigh. As the sole extensor muscle of the knee, their existence is crucial in any activity. This is especially the case with athletic activity that requires knee movement.
Due to the heavy stress they endure, the quadriceps are prone to injury. Stretching the quadriceps before and after snowboarding will increase their mobility, strength, and flexibility. This decreases the risk of injury.
These are the best stretches for snowboarding. However, there are plenty more stretches you might want to add in.
Which one is your favorite?
Then when you’re ready, head over to our other snowboard blogs!