7 Best Stretches for Snowboarding

Snowboarding is a graceful but demanding sport that requires strength, agility, and endurance. Flexibility is part of that equation, and you can maintain the range of motion needed for hitting the slopes. Here are seven simple stretches you can do to improve the flexibility of not only your hips and lower body but your upper body, as well. You can perform these outdoors and repeat the sequence several times if needed. 

Hip Flexors Stretch

woman doing standing lunge

Photo: Ben Goldstein / Model: Ana Alarcon

The hip flexors are one of the most important muscles use for snowboarding. They are responsible for bringing your legs and trunk together, whether by raising your leg towards your chest or bending your chest toward your leg.

One of the best stretches for this is the standing lunge. To do it:

  1. Stand with your legs parallel.
  2. Bend your knees and step your right leg back as far as it can go, resting on the ball of your foot.
  3. Balance yourself by holding your left knee.
  4. Straighten your back leg, but do not lock the knee.
  5. Increase the stretch without overextending.
  6. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
  7. Repeat on the opposite leg.

Standing Calf Stretch

woman doing standing calf stretch

Ben Goldstein / Model: Melissa Castro Schmidt

The gastrocnemius muscle at the back of your calf helps you point your toes and make explosive movements in jumping.

The standing calf stretch one of the simplest yet effective ways to warm up this muscle. To do this stretch:

  1. Face a wall or tree, standing 12 inches back.
  2. Extend the right leg behind you, keeping both feet flat on the floor and your rear knee straight.
  3. Lean toward the wall or tree until you feel a tension in the right calf.
  4. Hold for 10 seconds.
  5. Repeat with the opposite leg.

Hip and Lower Back Stretch

woman doing hip and lower back stretch

Photo: Ben Goldstein

This is an important stretch for snowboarding as it opens the hips while stretching the muscles of the hips, groin, and lower back. It also targets the hip flexors and psoas.

To do an integrated hip and lower back stretch:

  1. Begin in a forward lunge position with your right leg forward.
  2. Drop your left knee the ground.
  3. Place your right elbow on the inside of your right knee.
  4. As you press right elbow into your right knee, twist to the left.
  5. Now reach your left arm behind you until you feel a gentle stretch. Hold for about 20 to 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat with the opposite leg.

Standing Quads Stretch

woman doing standing quad stretch

Photo: Ben Goldstein

The quadriceps (quads) do the majority of the work while snowboarding. These are the muscles at the front of the thigh which extend your leg while straightening the knee.

Here is a simple yet effective quads stretch you can do while standing:

  1. Stand squarely on the ground holding a wall or tree for support.
  2. Bend your right knee and bring the heel behind you.
  3. Reach behind with your left hand and grab the right ankle
  4. Stand up straight and gently pull the right toward the buttocks being careful not to overextend.
  5. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat with the opposite leg.

Seated Hamstring Stretch

woman doing seated hamstring stretch

Photo: Ben Goldstein

This stretch can help maintain length in the hamstrings and lower back (both of which tend to get tight and short for snowboarders). The hamstrings are located at the back of the thigh and extend from your knee to your buttocks. They often work in opposition to the quads.

To perform a seated hamstring stretch:

  1. Find a place to sit on the ground with both of your legs out straight.
  2. Reach forward with both arms by bending at the waist.
  3. Now gently extend forward, keeping your knees straight.
  4. Hold for 30 to 40 seconds.

Standing Shoulder Stretch

woman doing standing shoulder stretch

Photo: Ben Goldstein

This basic shoulder stretch can help open the chest and upper body and keep you from rounding forward. Be sure to keep your head up and resist the urge to bend your neck forward. To begin:

  1. Place your right hand behind your head.
  2. Keeping your elbow pointed skyward, reach your right hand as far down your back as possible.
  3. Grab the right elbow with the left hand.
  4. Gently pull the elbow toward the head.
  5. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds.
  6. Repeat with the opposite arm.

IT Band Stretch

woman doing standing IT band stretch

Photo: Ben Goldstein

The iliotibial (IT) band are the tough fibers that run along the outside of your thigh that help stabilize the joints. Boarders need to keep these from tightening. To perform a standing IT band stretch:

  1. Stand upright.
  2. Cross your right leg behind the left leg.
  3. Lean toward the left leg, reaching up and over your head with your right arm.
  4. Now extend the right arm even further until you feel a stretch of the IT band.
  5. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat with the opposite leg.
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