Simple, yoga based stretches which focus on areas that are known to get a workout from snowboarding (that said, any of these would be beneficial to any activity).
Remember Yoga is all about breath and the stretches will be much more beneficial if you can breathe deeply and fully in each position. If you are holding your breath or squeezing yourself into a position, it’s unlikely to be doing you the good it is designed for!
Stay mindful during stretching and listen to your body, feeling the stretch and feeling a movement to be tough, but do-able is okay, feeling pain is NOT the goal.
I have included images of less and more intense versions of the stretch in some cases, but even if there is no picture of a less forceful stretch option, please do only what is within the limits of your body on any given day.
I am not a doctor, so please, if in doubt or you have a medical condition of any sort, don’t do these poses before consulting a medical professional. If you are pregnant, listen to your body and avoid anything that leans on or folds into your bump.
Happy stretching, Nicole
- Stand with your feet wide apart, toes facing forwards and cross your arms in front of you at shoulder height as in the first picture.
- On an out-breath, keeping your back straight and hips horizontal, bend one knee and dip deeply down towards that side.
- As you breathe in, come back to the middle and on your next exhalation dip to the opposite side.
- Repeat for a good few breaths as you feel the stretch.
- You can speed up the movement by speeding up your breath if you wish.
- Stretches your inner thighs and strengthens your glutes and thighs.
- Start on your hands and knees. Slide your right leg back a bit to make room for your left leg to move and bring your left leg across your body so your left knee is behind your left wrist, like in the photo.
- Gently and slowly slide your right knee back along the floor until you feel the stretch in your right hip.
- Try to keep your hips horizontally straight and not to lift one side as you sit deeper into the stretch.
- If your left knee can’t bend as much as in the picture, move your left ankle back to make your leg more vertical than horizontal to take the strain off your knee.
- Your back foot should be straight out behind you, in line with the hip.
- To deepen the stretch you can do some or all of the following:
- Sit up tall, then fold down onto your elbows and forearms, like the Sphinx!
- From the Sphinx position, turn your left forearm horizontally along your body, then lift your right hand up into the air, turning your chest so it faces the direction the toe of your bent leg is facing and your right shoulder and elbow are in line with each other. This will also stretch your back with a spinal twist.
- To get out of the pose, return to having both hands on the floor in front of you, tuck the toes of your right foot under and push yourself up with your arms into a plank so you can unfold your left leg.
- Return to your hands and knees and swap legs.
- You will feel the stretch in your bottom and the length of the thigh of the bent leg. This stretches your hip rotators and flexors.
- Get into the plank position – abs tight and legs engaged.
- Turn one hand around so the fingers are pointing towards your toes and push back gently into your heels so you stretch out the inside of your forearms and stretch the wrist.
- Swap to the other hand, coming out of the plank for a break if you need.
- This is perfect for those who are learning to snowboard and have spent time pushing themselves up from the ground, which can really tire out muscles you never even knew you had! This will stretch your forearms and strengthen your wrists.
- Lie on your back with your legs out straight and your arms by your side.
- Lift your right leg and cross it at the ankle over the left leg just above the knee. Your right knee will be pointing out towards the side.
- On an out-breath, bend your left leg up – taking the right foot with it – until your left knee is at a 90 degree angle from the floor.
- Breathe in and, putting your right arm though the gap made by your right leg and your left arm around the side, either take hold of your left shin or the back of the thigh, just above your knee.
- Breathe in again and on the slow out-breath use your arms to pull your left leg towards your chest until you feel the stretch.
- Relax your head and shoulders down onto the floor and either hold the position you are in to allow your body to relax into the stretch or on each in breath pull your arms a bit closer to your body to deepen the stretch.
- You will feel the stretch in your glutes and the top of your hamstring on the right side.
- Uncross your legs and stretch out flat on the floor again before doing the same on the reverse side.
- Start lying on the floor on your back with your palms on the floor.
- Bring your legs up to a 90 degree angle to the floor, then on an inhalation, use your abs to lift your back off the floor so you are resting on your shoulders and your legs are over your head, parallel to the ground.
- Your hands come up to support your lower back and brace you.
- With your shoulders in line with your hips – (to do this, engage your abs and push your hips up towards the sky) slowly straighten your legs as in the picture and flex your toes. This may be enough of a stretch for you.
- To go deeper if your body allows you to, slowly lower your legs until your toes are on the floor.
- If your toes touch easily, you can lower your hands onto the floor and even clasp your fingers together, keeping straight arms.
- Breathe deeply while in this position to feel the full stretch.
- If it hurts your upper back, make sure your body is lifted enough to be resting on the top of your shoulders.
- To release, always supporting your back, lower down slowly, one vertebrae at a time.
- This will stretch your spine and shoulders and the backs of your legs.
I recently had the best massage I have ever had in the Alps from Nicole – and I have had a few… She is highly skilled and tenacious in getting to the source of your issues. I can’t recommend her highly enough.