The weather outside is epic! If you’re looking to get in shape for your winter snow-sports, read this article. Before you hit the slopes, take 15-20 minutes and perform this active warm-up to get the blood flowing, help improve your performance, and reduce the risk of injury.
The core/trunk is the best starting point for any warm-up (for more information on exercises 3-5 read this article.
- Cat-Camel Stretch: Begin on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Gently arch your back and hold for 5-10 seconds. Then allow your back to sag down, bringing your stomach towards the floor. Again, hold this for 5-10 seconds. Alternate these movements to enhance motion throughout your spine.
- Lower extremity rotation: Lie on your back with your knees up and feet flat. Make sure your low back rests flat onthe ground. Slowly let your legs fall to the right in a controlled motion, and return to midline. Then, repeat to the left. Keep this slow and repeat 10 x to each side.
- Single-leg bridges: Pick one leg up off of the ground. Use the other leg to lift your pelvis off of the ground until your body is in a straight line from your knee to your shoulders. Keep your back from arching too much. Repeat 10 times on each leg.
- Front plank: Hold for 1 minute. Make sure your low back isn’t “sagging”.
- Side plank: Hold for 30 seconds on each side. Make sure your body is in a straight line.
- Walking lunges: Walk forward, performing lunges as you do. Alternate legs. Go slow, focus on your balance,and keep your front knee from rotating inward. After 10 strides, turn around, and do 10 walking lunges pausing to rotate your trunk towards the direction of your lead leg. After 10 strides, do 10 walking lunges pausing to rotate your trunk towards the direction of your trail leg (go slow with this one). Lastly, do 10 walking lunges pausing to extend your spine at the bottom of each lunge (look up and back as much as you can, feeling the movement through your entire spine).
- Sumo squats: Stand with your feet about double shoulder-width apart and toes pointed out at about a 45 degree angle. Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground, and press back up to your starting position.
- Side-stepping/lateral squat walks: After moving forward in a straight line with all of those lunges, and integrating the hip stabilizers with the sumo squats, it is important to work on lateral/sideways movements as well. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and perform a partial squat. Holding this squat, take a step to the right, then slowly bring the left foot to the right. Repeat this 10x to the right and then 10x back to the left. Make sure to move slowly, keeping your shoulders and hips level as you move sideways.
Upper body warm-up
We already targeted the shoulders and arms during the trunk section, but try this one as well.
- Rotational push-ups: Perform a push-up, then immediately transition onto your right hand and the outer edge of your right foot. Stay balanced, and return to the starting push-up position. Perform another push-up, immediately transitioning onto your left hand and the outer edge of your left foot. Repeat 5x to each side.
Now, hit the slopes, knowing that you have integrated many of the muscles and motions that will be required as you ski or snowboard!