skiing, rollerskiing and other such activities, I end up falling on my face (and
other parts of my body) more than I would care to admit. I believe that some of
those falls would have resulted in more dire consequences if I didnít stretch on a regular basis. Being flexible allows me to land properly during a fall without overly straining my muscles.
Not only does developing your flexibility help you learn to fall better, but it has other benefits too. Injury prevention, and the reduction of muscle imbalances are two of the more commonly cited benefits.
I have compiled a short list of some of my favourite stretches that have definitely helped me in a wide variety of athletic pursuits. Not only are these exercises great for stretching, but some of these focus on core and balance as well. Always remember to warm-up well before these stretches! These are in no particular order.
1. Full Splits
Front and side splits target muscles in
your legs, including hamstrings, hip flexors, and adductors. All of which are
important in both skiing styles.To get started, put your hands and knees on the floor on the floor. Straighten your legs and spread them out as far as possible until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, and try to increase how far down you can go every time.
2. Standing Splits
Standing splits add the element of balance
to your basic splits. Raise one leg using your arm, then straighten. You can lean on a support, such as a wall for balance.
The bridge is the only way that I have
gotten through classic skiing and my sore back. This exercise also strengthens your legs and arms. Beginners can start by laying down on your back on the floor, and lifting yourself up by using your legs and arms. Start from standing if that's too easy.
4. Pancake Stretch
††††† The pancake stretch starts off from a centre split position, and you drop your body until your nose touches the ground. Hands can also reach in front to stretch out the shoulders. This one is also really good for hip flexibility.
5. Side kick
††† The side kick is more of a Taekwondo move than an actual stretch. It is an excellent way to work on the adductors and abductors, flexibility, balance, core strength, and arm power, if you add a punch while you're kicking. To start off, try to use a support for the kicking leg, and later on, hold on to something with your arms.