Photo: Unsplash

The Inertia

After a few days on the slopes or in the water after a string of good swell, we’re all typically a Jello-like wobbly mess. Even if you’re a seasoned skier, snowboarder, surfer or paddler, there are likely days when you have to peel yourself out of your car and stagger up the stairs, and the next day you’re still sore and tight all over. And if you’re a beginner at your sport it can be even more painful: the combination of the brain working overtime to try and learn a new movement pattern and then commit it to long-term memory, the nervous system stimulation of charging downhill on the muscular-skeletal system converge in a perfect cognitive and physical storm.

This wouldn’t be so bad if only you performed a little self-maintenance afterward, but In reality, that’s not very apres-like and most people’s concept of ideal recovery is a cold drink in a hot sauna. While we’re not against that, you should consider adding a minimum dose of mobility work into the mix to liberate those tight tissues and restore yourself to proper function. Spend just two to three minutes on the following exercises and you’ll be surprised how much better you feel and, if you’re going to be back on the lift or out in the water again tomorrow, how much extra performance juice you can squeeze out of yourself.

Gut and Oblique Smash

Smashing your gut doesn’t sound like much fun does it? Well, in all honesty, it’s not. But your core takes a pounding from trying to stabilize your spine and keep your trunk upright from all that twisting and turning. Now it’s time to undo some of the damage.

— Find any ball that’s baseball size or bigger

—Lie facedown on a yoga mat, rug or carpet

— Place the ball under your abs and sink into it

— Slowly roll back and forth across the ball

— Smashing just below and either side of your belly button will also feed slack into muscles that attach on the other side and can cause lower back pain. Smashing further down just above your pelvis (remember, stick to soft tissues, not bones) will also let your tight hip flexors loosen up


— You can also turn onto your side, prop yourself up on one elbow, and get after that gristly tissue on the side of your abs (aka your oblique’s)

Banded Hip Extension

—Speaking of hip flexors, you rely a lot on them and your hip extensors to stabilize you when you’re slaying pow or even popping up in the surf. So let’s work on those hips a little more:

— Attach one end of a medium resistance stretching band to the pole of a squat rack or a bedpost and loop the other end around the top of your left leg

— Take a big step backward with your left foot, so you end up in a lunge position

— Keeping your butt squeezed and torso upright, slowly lower your left knee towards the ground. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds, relax and repeat. Accumulate two to three minutes and then switch the band to the other side

— To add a different stimulus, try leaning back as you lower into the bottom position. Or when you step back go to the outside or inside to target your hips in a different way. No band? Then do the same movement without it.

QL Tack and Floss

If you’re getting any kind of air on your board, skis or surfboard, the muscles that run from the top of the back of your pelvis and attach to the bottom of your ribcage–the quadratus lomborum (QL)–take a pounding. Even if you’re not emulating Danny Davis or John John, the bumps on any non-static surface will still do a number on this area. Sort it out by:

—Lying on the floor with your feet up on a couch or chair

— Place a small ball like a lacrosse ball just above your pelvis in the middle of your lower back. Start slightly to the left of your spine.

— Slowly drop your left hip to the floor, sinking your soft tissues into the ball. Repeat 25 to 30 times and switch the ball to the other side.

— Repeat on both sides after moving the ball up an inch or so. You can keep moving it up until it’s just below the base of your ribcage.


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