Getting Fit with Forrest:Flexibility

Turns out, just lifting and running all fall won't get you entirely ready for ski season. You need to stretch to improve strength and flexibility. Pro skier Forrest Coots shows you how.
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In a lunge with your left leg resting on a Swiss ball, this gives a deep stretch for the quad.

In a lunge with your left leg resting on a Swiss ball, this gives a deep stretch for the quad.

Why is flexibility so important for your skiing? Well, stretching trains the muscles to perform at their normal, full range of motion. When muscles and joints can move freely, you’re actually using less energy. This translates to less stress on the joints, which reduces your chance of injury.

Dr. Tim Brown, who specializes in sports injuries and prevention, says that stretching is the first line of defense for preventing the two types of body traumas—micro trauma (the wear-and-tear injuries) and macro trauma (like a bone fracture, torn ligament, or muscle tear) caused by a single incident (think tomahawking down a face).

That said, I still have a difficult time keeping up on my stretching programs. It’s just tough to fit it in consistently. There’s really no wrong time to stretch. Stretch before you go to sleep, since stretching helps relax your muscles. Or if you’re going skiing, warm up your muscles before you head to the mountain.

Stretch in a quiet, warm, and comfortable environment where you can focus on your body.

Here are several of the stretching exercises that I do. It’s good to perform these three to five days a week and try to spend 15 to 60 minutes each session.

View Images of these exercises here.

Forrest Coots is a pro skier based in Mt. Shasta, California.

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