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3 Stretches Every Skier Should Try

It's the winter, and that means it's time to hit the slopes. But if you feel those legs are a little rusty and not quite in skier shape, make sure to try these three stretches before and after you get out there.

1. Foam Rolling the Quads: The quads (or thigh) muscles get used quite a bit in skiing. And to prevent injury, it is important to keep those muscles flexible. Using a foam roller to roll out the quads is a great way to maintain flexibility, improve blood flow, and reduce lactic acid (the by-product of muscle injury) build up. To do this stretch, simply roll both thighs over a roller while on your forearms and elbows. You can complete this motion for 3 minutes.

2. Wall Hamstring Stretch: The hamstrings are on the back side of the leg and can also be used while skiing. These muscles also have an important function in protecting the ACL (a ligament inside the knee). So maintaining balance between the quads and the hamstring is important in injury prevention. An easy and safe way to stretch the hamstring is the Wall Hamstring stretch. To complete this exercise simply lay on your back near a wall. Place the legs, with knees straight, up on the wall. Keep the legs relaxed and slowly move closer to the wall after 20 seconds. Then rest the legs in this position for a few minutes.

3. Leg Over IT Band Stretch: The IT Band runs down the side of the leg and attaches to the hip muscles. It also has some function in bending the knee. It can become restrictive and tight if the hip muscles are weak or the knees are forced inward for a prolonged period of time. When the IT Band gets too tight, it can lead to hip and knee pain. So it is important to maintain the flexibility in this area. To stretch the IT Band try the Leg Over stretch. To complete this stretch, start by laying on your back. Bring one leg straight up and let it fall across your body resting on the floor. Keep the knee straight and feel the stretch in the side of the leg. Hold for 1 minute and repeat on the other side.

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