VIDEO: Basic Flexibility
Video TranscriptHello I'm Nicky Parsons from the specialist cross-country ski holiday company Nordic Challenge. I'm here on behalf of onsnow.co.uk to show you a few simple things that the novice skier can do to prepare themselves for their first cross-country ski holiday. In this video I'm going to be talking about flexibility.
Flexibility is important in your cross-country skiing for two main reasons, for those who are more advanced in their skiing, a more flexible skier performs better; they develop a very powerful style, but for the beginner flexibility prevents injury.
It is really important that you are flexible so when you fall, you do find your legs can get into all sorts of strange positions, of course your heel is not attached to your ski, which allows the two ski's to knit themselves together in spaghetti very cleverly and your legs get stretched all over the place. The flexible you are the less likely you are to pull a muscle or strain a ligament.
Somebody who can only extend their arm as far as their side won't get the full power out of this upper body powerhouse. So if you have been doing exercises working your shoulders and developing the strength in them it's a good time to give them a good stretch afterwards, to give them a good range of movement around that joint.
To stretch your shoulder joint after you have been working it, just bring your arm gently across your body, with your elbow at shoulder height, and gently resting your lower forearm into your hand and just stretch it gently across your body. When you feel the stretch just hold it there for about 20 seconds and then just relax that arm and shake it out and pretty soon you will find that you increase that range of movement to be able to use the full power of your arm in extension.
With regards to injury prevention flexibility is very important for the beginner especially in this area here, in your groin these ligaments, which are you hip flexor muscle ligaments. These are the ones that are most often pulled in your first week of skiing and can really wreck the time for you. At best they just make you skiing sore and unpleasant but at worse you might find yourself having to take a couple of days off and than can really spoil the enjoyment of the holiday for you.
Why does this happen? This is because when you transfer your weight onto your leg, if you haven't transferred it fully that leg can slip back away from you, pulling those ligaments. These ligaments have been working hard bringing your leg backwards and forwards and every time you stretch it back that's really going to hurt if you forcibly slipped and torn them.
So how can we prevent that happening? We can really stretch these ligaments before hand in amongst leading up to your holiday. You can do that after exercise when you're really nice and warm. So it can be when you have just got out of bed or when you have just got out of a nice long bath, but remember this is not a exercise to do when your are cold.
The way you do it is, if I am stretching the ligaments at the top of my right leg, I put my toe just underneath my body so my knee is directly underneath my hip. I then drop my knee down directly underneath my hip and I tuck my pelvis under so that I am making a bow from my knee to my shoulder, with this groin reign as the apex of the bow. As I increase that apex area by just gently tucking my bottom under and rounding the bow I'll feel that stretch in that hip reign. As soon as you feel the stretch just hold it, hold it for 20 seconds and release it.
If you stretch that every day in the months leading up to your holiday it will really help you prevent that nasty flex ligament strain. Continue the stretching at the end of each of your skiing days as well and will really help you feel good at the end of each week and prevent those nasty aches and pains.