Stretch the Season

Exercises for injury prevention.

Winter sports take us to the ice, the slopes, and the snowy backcountry for continued recreation. Pond hockey, skiing, backcountry hiking, running, and navigating icy parking lots require core strength, trunk and pelvic stability, lower-extremity control, and bulletproof hips. Additionally, many of our wintertime outings require sustained tucked postures and different loads on our tissues as compared to their warmer-weather counterparts. A robust set of mobility drills and muscle-activation/strengthening exercises can help keep you in proper form for wherever your cold-weather exploits may lead.

Adductor Stretch
Get on the floor in hands-and-knees position, extending your right leg straight out to the side. Rock back toward your heel on the bent left leg, keeping your back flat. You should feel a slight stretch in the groin of the outstretched right leg. Hold the position for 3-5 seconds for 5-10 repetitions, then repeat on the other side.

Band Walk Circuit
Place a resistance loop around your ankles and sink into a partial-squat position. Maintaining the squat, walk sideways (lateral steps). Focus on a level pelvis, avoiding trunk sway, and avoiding inward knee collapse. Walk both directions, giving each leg a chance to lead. With the same semi-squat, walk forward and backward, maintaining a stance slightly wider than your hips (monster walk).

Half-Kneel Hip-Flexor Stretch
Bring one knee down to the floor while bringing the other foot forward and flat on the ground with your knee bent at 90 degrees. Squeeze the glute of your down side and bring your pelvis forward, increasing the stretch in the front of your hip. Try three 30-second holds on each side.

exercise, physical therapy, winter sports, injury prevention

Glute Bridge with March
Lie on your back with knees up and feet flat on the ground (or table). Squeeze your glutes, bringing your trunk off the surface you’re on. With your trunk up, shift your weight to one leg and pick up the opposite foot off the table. Focus on maintaining a level pelvis between weight shifts.

Multi-Directional Lunges
Stand on both feet in an athletic stance, waist and knees slightly bent. Take a step forward with one foot, then return to the start position. With the same foot, take a step out to the same side, then return to neutral. Lastly, with the same foot, take a step behind you, crossing the non-moving foot slightly. Return to neutral. Switch to the other leg and repeat.

Single-Arm Lat Stretch
Stand in the opening of a door or in front of a pole. With one hand, grab the door jam or pole and sit your weight back as if you were sitting in a chair, stretching the underside of your arm and shoulder.

High Plank with Weight Drag
Start in the plank position on hands and toes with a dumbbell or kettlebell to one side of you. Lifting one hand off the ground, reaching under and across your body, drag the weight over to the other side of you. Focus on maintaining a level pelvis and shoulders with minimal trunk rotation.

Maggy Burns is a physical therapist with Bridger Orthopedic