The 3 Best Stretches for Snow Skiing
Improve your snow skiing and minimize injuries with 3 of the best snow skiing stretches.
by Brad Walker | First Published May 8, 2010 | Updated March 26, 2019
Types of skiing include Alpine skiing, Nordic Skiing, Nordic jumping, free style skiing, telemark skiing, and backcountry skiing. Although not a contact sport, high speeds, high impact collisions, awkward landings and great forces at work on the knee joints make it injury prone.
Muscles used in Snow Skiing
Skiing is a high speed sport that requires strength, endurance, balance, skill, and co-ordination. The major muscles involved are the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, abdominal’s and those of the lower back and shoulders.
Of particular interest are the joints of the lower limbs, which bear the brunt of the forces passing through the body while skiing. The knee joint is the most important joint in skiing, with the ankle joint, the wrist, thumb and shoulder girdle being the other joints of importance.
Improvement in skiing boots and bindings protect the foot, ankle and the tibia from injury. However, this results in the ground forces being transmitted to the semi-flexed knee.
Most Common Snow Skiing Injuries
Skiing is generally considered to be a sport with a high injury risk, although recent advances in design of equipment, as well as technique, have resulted in a drastic reduction of risk.
Injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee, and spinal injuries, continue to occur at an alarming rate. Thumb injuries are also a common occurrence. While head, neck and spinal injuries are associated with graver outcomes.
Other common snow skiing injuries include:
- Knee injuries, including damage to the meniscus, the anterior cruciate ligament and the medial collateral ligament;
- Tibial and ankle injuries, including fractures and sprains;
- Upper limb injuries, including rotator cuff tears and separated shoulder; and
- Collar bone injuries, and head, neck and spinal injuries.
Injury Prevention Strategies
- Select proper ski equipment, boots and difficulty of slope according to skier ability.
- Protect the eyes from glare, prevent laceration or abrasions due to exposure of skin, and use layered clothing suitable for a particular condition.
- Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
- Recreational skiers on a skiing holiday should follow the rule of three: after two days of skiing, the muscles of the lower limb are fatigued and therefore less able to protect against injuries. The rule of three recommends a stop before 3 pm each day, skiing for not more than 3,000m each day and taking the third day off.
- Undergo physical conditioning for improved muscular strength, endurance, co-ordination and reflexes.
- Include a proper warm up and cool down, with specific stretches for snow skiing.
The 3 Best Snow Skiing Stretches
Snow skiing stretches are one of the most under-utilized techniques for improving athletic performance, preventing sports injury and properly rehabilitating sprain and strain injury. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that something as simple as stretching won’t be effective.
Below are 3 of the best stretches for snow skiing; obviously there are a lot more, but these are a great place to start. Please make special note of the instructions with each stretch, and if you currently have any chronic or recurring muscle or joint pain please take extra care when performing the stretches below, or consult with your physician or physical therapist before performing any of the following stretches.
Instructions: Slowly move into the stretch position until you feel a tension of about 7 out of 10. If you feel pain or discomfort you’ve pushed the stretch too far; back out of the stretch immediately. Hold the stretch position for 20 to 30 seconds while relaxing and breathing deeply. Come out of the stretch carefully and perform the stretch on the opposite side if necessary. Repeat 2 or 3 times.
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Research and References
- Walker, B. (2011). The Anatomy of Stretching, 2nd Edition (ISBN: 978-1583943717)
- Wikipedia contributors. (2019, April 2). Skiing, In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
- Hansom, D. Sutherland, A. (2010). Injury prevention strategies in skiers and snowboarders. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 9(3), 169-175.
- Hébert-Losier, K. Holmberg, H. (2013). What are the exercise-based injury prevention recommendations for recreational alpine skiing and snowboarding? Sports Medicine, 43(5), 355-366.
- Warda, L. Yanchar, N. Canadian Paediatric Society. Injury Prevention Committee. (2012). Skiing and snowboarding injury prevention. Paediatrics & Child Health, 17(1), 35-36.
- Ackery, A. Hagel, B. Provvidenza, C. Tator, C. (2007). An international review of head and spinal cord injuries in alpine skiing and snowboarding. Injury Prevention, 13(6), 368-375.
- Kokkonen, J. Nelson, A. Eldredge, C. Winchester, J. (2007) Chronic Static Stretching Improves Exercise Performance. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 39(10), 1825-1831.
- Shellock, F, Prentice, W. (1985) Warming-up and stretching for improved physical performance and prevention of sports-related injuries. Sports Medicine, 2(4):267-78.
- Fradkin, A. Zazryn, T. Smoliga, J. (2010) Effects of warming-up on physical performance: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24(1):140-8.
About the Author: Brad Walker is often referred to as the "Stretch Coach" and has even been called the Stretching Guru. Magazines such as Runners World, Bicycling, Triathlete, Swimming & Fitness, and Triathlon Sports have all featured his work. Amazon (author page) has listed his books on five Best-Seller lists. Google cites over 100,000 references to him and his work on the internet. And satisfied customers from 122 countries have sent 1,000's of verified customer reviews. If you want to know about stretching, flexibility or sports injury management, Brad Walker is the go-to-guy.
Disclaimer: The health and fitness information presented on this website is intended as an educational resource and is not intended as a substitute for proper medical advice. Please consult your physician or physical therapist before performing any of the exercises described on this website, particularly if you are pregnant, elderly or have any chronic or recurring muscle or joint pain.