The 3 Best Stretches for Snowboarding
Improve your snowboarding and minimize injuries with 3 of the best snowboarding stretches.
by Brad Walker | First Published November 21 , 2010 | Updated April 22, 2019
By the 1980’s, snowboarding competitions had spread across the United States and the world. Snowboarding was included in the Olympic Games in 1998.
Muscles used in Snowboarding
Unlike skiing, you only have your feet, knees and core to operate the board. The board is shaped to glide freely over snowy terrain and your feet and knees steer the board and handle the majority of the stress while riding. Requiring a solid stance, fantastic sense of balance, and strong ankles and knees, your core muscles and lower back are important for maintaining your balance, along with your arms.
The calf muscles provide the energy and power for making those radical movements on the board; flexing, pressing and turning the ankles to alter the angle of the board, downhill and uphill. While your hip flexors, gluteus (buttocks muscles), adductors (groin), hamstrings and quadriceps (thigh muscles), control the flexing of your knee during the ride.
The core muscles of the lower abdomen provide you with balance and an overall stability to your stance during the many tricks, turns and stunts of the sport. They also help to stabilize and support the movement of your hips while riding, and keeping your core muscles tight when falling will help to absorb some of the shock to protect your back muscles when you land.
Most Common Snowboarding Injuries
The most common injuries for participants of snowboarding are caused by falling, and include:
- Neck and spinal injuries;
- Muscle bruises and contusions;
- Sprained or fractured wrist;
- Elbow fracture and dislocation;
- Rotator cuff injuries;
- Broken clavicle (or collarbone);
- Bruised tailbone;
- Knee injuries, including anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sprain and meniscus tear; and
- Ankle sprain or fracture.
Injury Prevention Strategies
Even the strongest and most skilled snowboarders can get hurt, which is why new snowboarders need to learn all they can about safety before attempting to ride on their own. Here are some simple strategies that will help to lower the risk of injuries while snowboarding.
- Always warm-up properly prior to snowboarding, and allow an adequate cool-down period afterwards.
- Incorporate off-ice neuromuscular training for core stability, coordination and improved postural control.
- Add a thorough strength training program and practice balance, agility and proprioception drills to improve knee and ankle stability.
- Cardiovascular training is important to prevent the muscles from tiring while snowboarding and allowing breakdown of proper form.
- Increasing flexibility in the muscles and joints will reduce the stress on these areas during snowboarding.
- Use protective equipment, including helmets, wrist and ankle braces, knee pads and a tailbone pad whenever you snowboard.
- Learn how to fall correctly. This technique is taught in both skiing and snowboarding classes, and is essential to coming back from the slopes unhurt.
- Ensure you have had sufficient training and instructions in proper snowboarding technique, and are physically and mentally ready before you venture out on your own.
- Do not take on any run that you cannot manage safely.
- Stay aware of other skiers and boarders while riding.
- Do not go out alone and do not experiment alone, ever.
- Keep equipment in good condition and make sure you check it regularly.
The 3 Best Snowboarding Stretches
Snowboarding 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 snowboarding; 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 18). Snowboarding, In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
- Basques, B. Gardner, E. Samuel, A. Webb, M. Lukasiewicz, A. Bohl, D. Grauer, J. (2018). Injury patterns and risk factors for orthopaedic trauma from snowboarding and skiing: a national perspective. Knee surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy, 26(7), 1916-1926.
- 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.
- Hébert-Losier, K. Holmberg, H. (2015). Exercise prescription to prevent injuries during recreational alpine skiing and snowboarding. Physiotherapy, 101, e552.
- Tanyeri, L. Öncen, S. (2019). The Effects of Coordination Trainings on Different Surfaces on the Slalom Downhill Speed Velocity of Snowboarders. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 7(3), 215-221.
- 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.