Fitness Trail: Five essential stretches for winter sports
The Fitness Trail
We are in the midst of our annual seven-week skiing/snowboarding preparation training program with many of our clients, and ensuring that they perform essential stretches is an integral component of the program. This is due to the fact that flexibility is one of the five components of physical fitness and may improve overall performance by enhancing your range of motion and fluidity of movement. When combined with a regularly performed myofascial release program, 2019 may be one of the best winter sports seasons you have ever experienced. Therefore, this week five essential stretches designed to enhance all sports, not just winter sports will be featured.
As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Perform these stretches following your exercise or winter sports activities. Hold all stretches statically to a point of tension, never pain, for 15-30 seconds. Repeat on both sides where applicable.
Supine Lumbar Spine/Hamstrings/Gluteus Maximus/Gastrocnemius Stretch
Begin lying supine on the floor with the head/neck in neutral, legs flexed at the knee joint, and knees pointing toward the ceiling, soles of the feet on the floor.
With both hands underneath the knee, draw the right knee toward the chest.
Extend the right leg toward the ceiling, keeping both hips on the floor, until the leg is straight (your point of comfort at the knee joint), driving the heel toward the ceiling.
Kneeling Hip Flexors/Hip Adductors/Pectoralis/Anterior Deltoids Stretch
Kneeling, bring the right leg forward, right foot on the floor, right knee over right heel, extend the left leg back (i.e. trailing) until the left hip is opened, left knee resting on the floor with the toes tucked under. *Think of creating a diagonal line from the right knee to the left knee.
With torso tall, interlace the fingers of both hands behind the back, pressing the knuckles toward the floor, opening the chest and the front of the shoulders.
Quadruped Cat/Cow – Cervical to Lumbar Spine/Torso Stretch
Kneeling, place the palms on the floor under the shoulders, knees under the hips, entire spine in neutral.
Hollow out the abdomen, pressing the back toward the ceiling like a cat arching its back, spreading the shoulder blades, tucking the tail bone under, allowing the head to suspend downward.
Then, release, with control, into a cow position with the head and tailbone up to your point of comfort in the lumbar spine.
Standing Quadriceps/Hip Flexors/Tibialis Anterior/Dorsal Foot Stretch
Begin standing next to a ballet barre, facing sideways, left side next to barre.
Place the body weight into the left foot as you bring the right foot toward your buttocks, holding onto the right foot with the right hand.
Thighs should be parallel to one another.
Press the pubic bone forward, keeping the torso upright, opening the chest with the knee cap facing the floor.
Avoid “pulling” on the foot, just push the foot into the hand.
Standing Hip Abductor/Lateral Torso Stretch
Begin in the same position as in the quadriceps stretch detailed above.
Cross the right leg over the left leg (outside leg over inside) and press the inside hip into the barre with the inside leg straight, knees relaxed.
Then, reach the right arm upward and over the head toward the barre, keeping the arm extended.
Jackie Wright is the owner/manager Mountain Life Fitness, LLC located in Granby. She may be reached at her website at http://www.mtnlifefitness.com, her email at email@example.com and her Facebook Page at Mountain Life Fitness.
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