Stretching is not optional: stretching exercises mean better recovery after a physical effort and a proper warm-up before making your first runs. Stretch in the morning before you start skiing to prepare the muscles for the day’s physical effort. And after a day on the slopes, stretching will relax the muscles and help avoid cramps the next morning.
Each stretching exercise should take about 30 seconds working from the top towards the bottom of the body.
Wrists: warm up the wrists by joining your hands together and making circles first in one direction and then the other.
Torso: from a standing position, legs straight and shoulder-width apart, raise your arms over your head and gently bend to the right and then to the left. To be effective, hold the position for 10 seconds. Then from the same starting position, but this time with the legs still straight but spread further apart, place your hands on your hips and slowly rotate your upper body leading with the elbow. Repeat twice in both directions.
Knees. It is absolutely necessary to warm up the knees as they will be subjected to the greatest stress on the slopes: bending, rotation, twisting, and more. They get hit the hardest. From a standing position, feet together, arms alongside the body bend your knees towards your left foot then towards your right foot. Make a series of 10 to 15 movements at 1-2 minute intervals.
Legs. This exercises will stretch all the leg muscles: quadriceps, psoas, calves,... From a standing position, bend your right knee and place your right foot in your right hand towards the back. Balanced on your left leg, bring your right foot towards the buttocks while keeping the knee facing the ground. Hold this position for 20 seconds and repeat with the other leg. For the second exercise, keeping your legs straight, bend from the waist and touch your hands to the ground. Bend the right knee by rising on your toes while keeping the left leg straight. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
There are of course other exercises but the intention of the article is to present some basics so you can enjoy your skiing holiday. Remember to stretch daily after your training routine at home but also before going out on the slopes and, obviously, at the end of your ski day. With this series of stretching exercises, you will be in tip top shape, ready to face the cold and the series of turns in your downhill runs.
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