How to Warm Up and Warm Down for Snowboarding

Katie Blundell


2 years ago in News

As well as building your strength for snowboarding, warm up and warm down sessions are important to include in your daily snowboard routine. Not only do they get your body ready for the day on the mountain, they can improve you overall snowboard performance and exercise tolerance. Stretching also helps improve your flexibility and agility so you can do that Spaghetti Grab you’ve always wanted to do (back hand, through legs, around back of front leg to grab toe edge, front hand, grab nose…yeah, you need to be pretty flexible).

It can be hard to get motivated, especially warming down after snowboarding as there always seem to be other things to do (apres Ski, eat…or just sit down!). But IT’S A MUST and there are some real benefits: This is my guide to warming up and warming down for Snowboarding…

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The Benefits of Doing Warm Ups

1) Particularly important in the snow as it’s COLD!
2) Warms up and relaxes your muscles ready for riding and reduces muscle stiffness.
3) Helps prevent injuries.
4) Prepares you mentally and helps focus you on snowboarding.
5 ) Raises heart rate slowly for beginning exercise.
6) Increases blood flow and speeds up contraction of muscles.

The Benefits of Doing Warms Downs

1) Accelerates the recovery process and reduces the build up of lactic acid (makes your muscles feel sore).
2) Allows heart rate and body to return gradually to its resting state.
3) Reduces level of adrenaline in the blood.
4) Minimises chances of becoming dizzy or faint after exercise.

Where/ When?

The best times to do stretches are when your muscles are warm and relaxed. So you can either do the Warm Up at home before you leave to go riding (in the warmth and in comfy clothes). Wrapping your body up in all the snowboard layers immediately after and then the walk to the ski lift will maintain heat in the muscles. If the walk is longer than a 10 minute journey then you’ll need to do it again when you get there. Or you can do the warm up at the bottom/ top of the slope before you start riding. Don’t worry about looking silly out in public, if anything, it will make you look more professional! The Warm Down needs to be done immediately after riding before the muscles have a chance to seize up.

What to do:

Snowboarding is a dynamic sport, so you will need both dynamic and static Stretching. Dynamic stretches take you through a range of movement in preparation for snowboarding. Static stretches hold a position whilst slowly stretching the muscles. A combination of these for 10 minutes before/ after riding will make all the difference – trust me!

WARM UP:

This should take 10-15 mins and could include:

2-5 mins walking/ jogging/ up and down stairs/ jumping on spot – basically anything to get your heart rate going and blood pumping to the muscles

Lunges

A good way to warm up your quads, stretch your hamstring and loosen your groin, all at the same time. (Dynamic)

1) Stand up straight with your hands on your hips and feet shoulder width apart
2) Step forwards with your right leg and bend your knee, keeping your left toes on the floor behind you
3) Then step back up to the starting position
4) Repeat on other leg
5) Repeat it 10 times on each side

Lunges

Jump Squats

These will warm up your quads and are good for snowboard landings.(Dynamic)

1) Stand in your snowboard position, knees bent and arms in front of you ready to take off
2) Jump as high as you can into the air and straighten your legs
3) Land back down in original starting squat position
2) Repeat 20 times

Jumping Squats

Hops

Excellent for knees and working on the lateral movements involved in snowboarding.(Dynamic)

1) Stand on your left leg, right leg bent up underneath you
2) Hop forwards on a diagonal, then forwards again on the opposite diagonal
3) Do 10 hops!
4) Turn round, swap legs and 10 hops on the other leg

Hops

Trunk Twists

These will warm up your back and benefit the body rotations whilst snowboarding. (Dynamic)

1) Stand with feet in your snowboard position, legs slightly bent
2) Cross arms over your chest
3) Twist your body one-way, and then the other
4) Repeat 10 times on each side

Trunk Twists

Ankles/ Wrists

People often forget about warming the ankles and wrists, but these are just as important as the rest of your body. You will be using your wrist a lot to push yourself up from the snow and your ankles for absolutely everything! (Dynamic)

1) Rotate left wrist in slow circles for 30 seconds
2) Repeat with right wrist
3) Rotate left ankle in slow circles for 30 seconds
4) Repeat with right ankle

Neck

As well as loosening your neck up for snowboarding, this can help to prevent whiplash and jarring. (Dynamic)

1) Look left
2) Look right
3) Look up
4) Look down
5) Repeat all 4 directions 10 times

Neck

Shoulders

This stretch focuses on keeping the shoulder flexible in overhead movements and allows you too easily adjust arm positions for balance whilst snowboarding. (Static)

1) Stand up straight with your feet shoulder width apart
2) Grab your right elbow with your left hand behind your head
3) Gently pull your right elbow further behind your head
4) Hold for 30 seconds
5) Repeat on other side

Shoulders

Calf stretches

This muscle helps you to make explosive movements in jumping.(Static)

1) Find something to lean against (eg. a wall/ tree) and stand about an arm’s length from it
2) Lean forwards and place both hands on the wall shoulder width apart
3) Extend your right leg behind you keeping it straight and heel to the floor
4) Keep your left leg bent and lean into the wall
5) Hold for 30 seconds
6) Repeat on other side

Calf Stretch

Quad stretches

Especially good for all the powder riding! Can use something to balance on if needed. (Static)

1) Stand with your left leg on the floor and bend your right leg up behind you
2) Clasp your right ankle with your right hand and pull it towards your bottom
3) Hold for 30 seconds
4) Repeat on other side

Quad Stretch

Hamstrings

This can help maintain length in the hamstrings and lower back which is often tight and short in snowboarders. (Static)

1) Stand with your feet close together
2) Place your hands on the floor just in front of your feet
3) Try and put your nose on your knees!
4) Hold for 30 seconds

Hamstring Stretch

Groin

This will help with soreness after a lot of “one-footing”.(Static)

1) Sit on floor with legs bent outwards and soles of feet touching
2) Clasp feet and relax your legs out and press your knees towards the floor
3) Hold for 30 seconds

Groin Stretch

Hip External Rotators/ Glutes

This is called the Piriformis Stretch and it works on the lateral rotators of the hip.(Static)

1) Lie on your back and bend your knees up
2) Rest your left ankle on your right knee
3) Clasp your hands around your thigh of you right knee
4) Pull gently towards you
5) Hold for 30 seconds
6) Repeat on other side

Back/ Abs

Stretches out your abs and lower back and is great for relaxation and breathing techniques.(Static)

1) Lie on the floor
2) Place hands next to hips and push yourself up
3) Head back and breath
4) Hold for 30 seconds

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Katie Blundell – Season 2010/11 from Rich Jonas on Vimeo.

WARM DOWN

This should take 10 minutes and follow the below format:

Gradually decrease the intensity of your snowboarding (eg. the speed/ difficulty of run/ tricks).

Unstrap your snowboard and walk to “loosen off”, even just for a couple of minutes.

Work on the STATIC stretches from the Warm Ups mentioned above, including the neck, ankle and wrist stretches.

Then hot tub and massage (wishful thinking?!)