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Banner photograph ©Bruno Long, videos ©Anna Segal
Most of us already know that warming up before you dive into a strenuous activity is important, but for winter sports the necessity is amplified. Why?! Because it's cold outside! In addition to this, both skiing and snowboarding are high impact and warming up properly can drastically reduce your chance of injury. Warming up may look a little different for everyone, but generally you want to be doing a dynamic warm up rather than static stretches. A dynamic warm up is essentially moving while you stretch, rather than holding a stretch for a long period of time. This will increase the blood flow to your muscles, increase mobility and prepare your body for the activity at hand.
Before skiing I spend between 10 - 20 minutes at home warming up. To give you some ideas and guidance, I've included 10 great movements to help prep your body for an awesome day on the mountain. Pick and choose, or try doing all 10 before you hit the slopes.Leg Roll
Your normal yogi cat-cow, but lean back to your heels to get a quad and hip stretch in between. Keep your butt tucked underneath when you are leaning back. I finish this off with a few hip circles in each direction.
Make sure both legs are creating a 90 degrees angle then windshield wiper your knees from side to side. I like to do 8 each side. After this try windshield wipe to reach by placing a hand behind you and reaching up with opposite hand, to stretch up through your sides.
This will also open up the hips. Get into a low sumo squat position, aiming to get your heels on the ground. This routine is comprised of three movements;
Lower Leg Warm Up
25 x calf raises - using the wall. Create a nice straight line from the shoulders through to the ankles. Make sure the heels are just slightly elevated for the starting position. Do the raises with a quick tempo, but controlled.
25 x toe raises - back flat against a wall with feet planted on the ground out in front. The further your feet are away from you, the tougher these are. Pull your toes up towards you, then down again. Controlled but with quick temp to get the blood pumping through your lower legs.
World's Greatest Stretch
It’s tough to write a description of this one (watch the vid) but I’ll do my best.
Continue this sequence of movements 5 x each side.
Place something on the ground to hop over (I use my band). Hop 10 x each side.
Then set a timer for one minute - balance on the same hopping foot and take a ball (or small object and watch it while you pass it over head, from hand to hand. You can balance on a squishy surface to make it harder (I am using a foam pad), but start on a hard surface.
When the one minute of balancing is up, switch legs.
Feet hip width apart with a micro bend in your knees. Cactus your arms and hinge forward at the waist.
Lie flat on the ground and lift one leg up, while the other stays on the ground. Drop the raised leg to the opposite side, then back up straight again. Repeat on each side 8-10 times
Use a small theraband around your knees and get into a bridge position. With one foot planted, raise the other up, making sure to push your knees out against the band. Raise your hips up (so your body makes a straight line) then back down to the floor. Repeat 8-10 times each side.
...aaand you're ready to hit the slopes!
By Anna Segal. Anna is a professional freestyle skier and former Olympic athlete who makes her home in beautiful Pemberton, BC.