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Proper pre-skiing stretches

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I've been keeping with a fitness regiment during the off season fairly strictly.  On the other hand I find I do not know of many pre-skiing morning stretches and warm ups.  I was wondering if anybody had any suggestions.  I usually give myself 2-3 hours before I go out for the opening of the lifts, and would like to have a routine to do during the time.
post #2 of 10
I am sure many others can provide great pre-skiing exercise and stretching tips, I actually have a exercise that you can perform on the lift that I find keeps your legs loose during a time that might otherwise contribute to tightness.

The exercise is simply leg lifts.  When the lift has cleared the base area, alternate raising one leg at a time so that your ski is right in front of you, perpendicular to the ground.  Then slowly lower.  Repeat as often as possible without looking like a total idiot.  Often difficult to do on a crowded lift chair or get as many people to perform with you and you can do a ski wave.

But seriouslyI find that this works great.  A great indication of its utility are those days when I don't have the opportunity to do this, my legs are not as nimble.

Yup, I am that silly guy doing leg lifts on the lift...
post #3 of 10
Those leg lifts are fun to do on a boring chair lift ride, and I often do them on my first run up to get the blood flowing to my legs, but the problem is they only work out the quads. The best thing you can do for yourself is to do some dynamic stretches at the top of the mountain. Save the static stretches for increasing flexibility only at the END of the day. (Static stretching before exercise can actually make you more prone to injury, but done after exercise as a cool down can help improve overall flexibility.)

I do what I see a lot of racers do: using your poles to maintain balance, kick your left leg forward and back. Keep your leg straight and get it as high as you can both in the front and back. Keep your upper body upright...don't compress in order to make it seem like you're kicking higher than you actually are! Repeat for the right leg. Then do the same thing but kicking from side to side.

Jumping jacks and arm windmills can help get the blood flowing, too. To work on your core, do some high knee kicks, or jump as high as you can and quickly bring your knees to your chest (a sort of jump-squat. Run in place and do butt-kickers and high-knee steps. This kind of knee-to-chest movement will help fire those core muscles that you need to absorb changes in the terrain...especially useful in the bumps. Again, do NOT compress your upper body as you do these, but keep your spine nice and straight.

If evaino sees this thread, I'm sure she'll have some suggestions.

It's great that you're thinking about this...too many people (myself included, sometimes), start down the mountain absolutely cold. Could be asking for trouble!
post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by reducedfatoreo View Post

Those leg lifts are fun to do on a boring chair lift ride, and I often do them on my first run up to get the blood flowing to my legs, but the problem is they only work out the quads.
 

If you do them as a static tip grab, the stretch is in the calf.

You can also do a L & R straight-leg tip rotation for the hip (static).

You can also do plantar & dorsiflexion inside the boot, try to flex the boot with just your toes (dynamic).
 

. (Static stretching before exercise can actually make you more prone to injury, but done after exercise as a cool down can help improve overall flexibility.)
 

Static stretching before Last Run or Last Run -1 or Last Run -2 or even Last Run -5  immediately and noticeably improves my fun on those runs.

Apologies for the thread drift, back to your regularly scheduled pre-ski routine descriptions.
post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post

If you do them as a static tip grab, the stretch is in the calf.

You can also do a L & R straight-leg tip rotation for the hip (static).

You can also do plantar & dorsiflexion inside the boot, try to flex the boot with just your toes (dynamic).
 

True about the calf stretch, and good ideas with the tip rotation and boot flexing. Just don't hit anybody else on the chair while you're twisting your ski or they might push you over as you're getting off the lift
 
Static stretching before Last Run or Last Run -1 or Last Run -2 or even Last Run -5  immediately and noticeably improves my fun on those runs.

There's definitely conflicting research on dynamic vs. static, but more and more sports studies are showing that both types of stretches are good for you, just at different times. One of the theories being bounced around is that stretching the ligaments and tendons before use can cause them to weaken slightly, and make them more prone to injury. By no means whatsoever is this meant to say that static stretching is bad. It's extremely important to maintain flexibility, but if it's done post-exercise you lower your risk of injury as the tendons and ligaments have time to recover along with your muscles.

I'd hazard a guess that the static stretching helps your body and mind refocus in the middle of the day, or after a chair ride when you're not moving at all. If it works for you, definitely keep doing it. But I'm just curious if you'd perform a quick, unscientific test and do some dynamic stretches to see if they give you the same sort of "refocusing" benefits.

I personally have never stretched before my last runs, but I am going to start doing so now after your suggestion. Too many times have my last runs turned into dangerous situations as I push my body when it's in a weakened state. It's a smart thing to get yourself re-energized with some stretches!

/hijack
 

 

post #6 of 10
 reducedfat oreo has it right (although I'm not sure I agree with reduced fat oreos as a product :)  but that's neither here nor there). some great suggestions above.  

I put together a set of dynamic stretches and activations that target pretty much everything you want to "warm-up" prior to skiing in a youtube video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLOXjc05b0Q

Also agree with oreo on the static stretch point pre last couple of runs.  There are loads of studies that show reduced power output from static stretching, so while it might feel good, I'm not sure it's a great idea.  Maybe another round of dynamic stretches would get you that same feeling without the power loss?

Elsbeth
post #7 of 10

As I understand it, there may be no such thing as "proper pre-skiing stretches".

The advice to stretch, warm-up, and cool down to prevent exercise and sports related injuries and soreness has been the conventional wisdom for years: proponents have variously claimed that stretching increases soft-tissue circulation, improves athletic performance, decreases post-activity soreness, and/or reduces the risk of injury.

They may be wrong. Though there's a smattering of evidence suggesting that there might be some possible benefit to stretching or other peri-exercise rituals, the larger and better studies have found nothing of the sort.

AFAIK, Large scale studies have have found no discernible objective benefit to stretching, and specifically no reduction in injury rates or improved athletic performance has been demonstrated in prospective, well-controlled trials. Other studies looking at the impact of stretching on muscle soreness have been similarly disappointing.

In the laboratory, perfusion studies have found that stretching only minimally increases blood flow through muscle tissue and has no significant impact on tendon or ligament blood flow, which seems to refute much of the speculation underlying the purported benefits of stretching.

There is even some evidence that stretching can be harmful. Stretching may actually increase the risk of certain types of ligament injuries, possibly owing to increased tendon laxity arising from stretching. There is an emerging body of evidence indicating that static stretching acutely and adversely affects muscle performance. The preponderance of studies to date have found acute decreases in strength following stretching, possibly related to inhibitory central nervous system feedback upon muscles your body "perceives" as having just been injured from the stretch.

As others have alluded to in this thread,
ballistic or dynamic stretching, as bouncing stretches are called, may increase tendon elasticity without adversely impacting muscle strength. But even so, neither this type of stretching nor any other has been shown to consistently provide benefit, decrease the risk of injury, or decrease muscle soreness.

Some caveats: there is insufficient data as of yet to conclusively determine the impact stretching and warm-up routines may have on sports performance. It's possible that stretching may confer some benefits upon specific activities that have not been well-studied. Finally, there is a relative paucity of data on women and stretching, as most of the larger trials were conducted on men (military recruits, in particular).

But for now, imho there is little scientific data to support a general recommendation for stretching either before or after skiing.

post #8 of 10
Stretching before you ski is basically useless.  Leg lifts on the chair - get an Ipod or a friend to talk to.

Best ski exercise to prepare you for skiing is Go Ski, take a warm up run or two, run at 50-70 % and warm up your legs, timing, rythmn and overall outlook for the day.  After you've warmed up - go rip it.
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Rick View Post

As I understand it, there may be no such thing as "proper pre-skiing stretches".

The advice to stretch, warm-up, and cool down to prevent exercise and sports related injuries and soreness has been the conventional wisdom for years: proponents have variously claimed that stretching increases soft-tissue circulation, improves athletic performance, decreases post-activity soreness, and/or reduces the risk of injury.

They may be wrong. Though there's a smattering of evidence suggesting that there might be some possible benefit to stretching or other peri-exercise rituals, the larger and better studies have found nothing of the sort.

AFAIK, Large scale studies have have found no discernible objective benefit to stretching, and specifically no reduction in injury rates or improved athletic performance has been demonstrated in prospective, well-controlled trials. Other studies looking at the impact of stretching on muscle soreness have been similarly disappointing.

In the laboratory, perfusion studies have found that stretching only minimally increases blood flow through muscle tissue and has no significant impact on tendon or ligament blood flow, which seems to refute much of the speculation underlying the purported benefits of stretching.

There is even some evidence that stretching can be harmful. Stretching may actually increase the risk of certain types of ligament injuries, possibly owing to increased tendon laxity arising from stretching. There is an emerging body of evidence indicating that static stretching acutely and adversely affects muscle performance. The preponderance of studies to date have found acute decreases in strength following stretching, possibly related to inhibitory central nervous system feedback upon muscles your body "perceives" as having just been injured from the stretch.

As others have alluded to in this thread,
ballistic or dynamic stretching, as bouncing stretches are called, may increase tendon elasticity without adversely impacting muscle strength. But even so, neither this type of stretching nor any other has been shown to consistently provide benefit, decrease the risk of injury, or decrease muscle soreness.

Some caveats: there is insufficient data as of yet to conclusively determine the impact stretching and warm-up routines may have on sports performance. It's possible that stretching may confer some benefits upon specific activities that have not been well-studied. Finally, there is a relative paucity of data on women and stretching, as most of the larger trials were conducted on men (military recruits, in particular).

But for now, imho there is little scientific data to support a general recommendation for stretching either before or after skiing.


Good points about static stretching - not great for pre-activity.  I want to correct you on one thing though - dynamic stretching and ballistic stretching are not the same thing. Dynamic warmups sometimes contain ballistic stretches although it's rare.  Typically it's movements where the hold is in the 1-10second range (1-3 seconds for stretches; 5 to 10 seconds for activations)

But there are in fact studies that show dynamic stretching is a different thing entirely. There are studies that show improved performance after dynamic stretching, there are others that show no difference.  

In terms of scientific data about the effectiveness of dynamic stretching, it would be nearly impossible to set up an appropriate testing setup.  Partly because there are too many variables.  The primary benefit of dynamic stretching prior to activity is for long term injury reduction - not acute injury reduction.  So you'd need a long term study.  And you'd need to find two groups that otherwise do everything the same.  You wouldn't be able to use pro or college athletes, because you'd never be able to find a strength coach who was willing to have their athletes perform without doing a dynamic warmup.  That says something: all of the top coaches have  their athletes do dynamic warmups.  

But even for the athletes, the dynamic warmup is only part of what they do. Their main preparation is really the time they spend in the gym - the dynamic warmup is a small part of the overall injury reduction solution.  But it is a part.

Elsbeth
post #10 of 10
during my fist run usually stretch while moving  Keep one leg straight and let the ski of the other leg arc away. I do a couple on each side then usually grab my tuck and keep it low to get the legs warmed up a bit.
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