Mobility Duo: Stretching your knowledge
Meet Sarah and Mark: Mobility Duo! Creating the project in January 2020 with the sole purpose of educating snowboarders on the importance of yoga (Snoga) and stretching. 18 months later and with 300+ videos. These two have an infectious smile and vibe that makes them so fun to watch. Lighting up your screen with their important advice!
Teaching snowboarders the importance of stretching is no small task. Us snowboarders have a common relaxed vibe and she'll be right attitude!
NOT THIS TIME !
As you'll read below, Mark and Sarah mention how isn't just for pro boarders! We can all benefit from their tips and hopefully reading below we can all improve our recovery time, limit our recovery time and spend even more time riding!
We reached out to them to see if they could educate us on how to 'prepare yourself', 'recover faster', and 'prevent injuries' throughout the season. These FAQ's are designed to ask just that! So without further ado here are the wonderful insights from MOBILITY DUO.
How did you get started in teaching stretching and body tips for snowboarders?:
- Sarah: I started with performing headstands while on the mountain with the snowboard attached to my feet. My friends would constantly tell me that I should teach yoga to snowboarders and I got the idea of teaching Snoga. While yoga is a universal movement, it was quickly realized that many of the movements could be adapted specifically towards snowboarders for performance. I have an extensive history with massage therapy and yoga so it just made sense to combine my profession and passion. - Mark: Like Sarah states, snowboarding is our passion, and applying our expertise just made sense. An injury is an injury is an injury... You can apply snowboard-specific rehabilitation movements later on in the process but most acute injuries that occur on the mountain do not discriminate with the healing process.
What is the most common injury you see from snowboarders?:
- By far the most common injury we have seen through experience, read in research, or observed are upper extremity (shoulders, elbows, wrists) or head injuries. The unfortunate reality is many of these injuries can be prevented with proper equipment and training. Obviously, if you are to continue to grow you need to challenge yourself. I recently read a peer-reviewed research article that said aside from strengthening/ conditioning, helmets are by far the greatest deterrent to snow sports injuries. It is wild that when I started snowboarding (In the early 2000s) helmets were uncouth and uncool. Now I cannot ride anywhere without seeing a majority of riders with these! It's pretty awesome! Lastly, injuries occur when we get tired. If your body is not trained properly, fatigue is a recipe for injury.
How can snowboarders prepare for returning to the mountain after summer?:
In all honesty, preparation for the mountain occurs on the first day of spring/ summer when mountain riding ends. Many of the athletes I have worked with do not train in a way that will set them up for success. They may start the new season with a similar mentality from last season which is a delusion. Unfortunately, if you take a few months off and expect to be at the same level it just does not work like this. You need to consistently stress your body to adapt to those stressors so you can start the new season sprinting out of the gate. Mobility, flexibility, and strengthening are foundational to snowboarding. This is an extreme sport that requires work off the mountain if you ever want to improve your performance, injury prevention, endurance, etc. We just created a 12 week HIIT program for snow sport athletes that is a great transition into the new season.
What stretches should we be performing the morning before shredding?:
Evidence for sustained stretching with cold muscles is somewhat limited so I am a big advocate for dynamic stretching. For example, you may perform a lunge with rotation repeatedly for 15-20 times before moving on to the next stretch. You are actively warming up your muscles which will be more pliable when warm and preparing for the major stressors they are about to endure. In regards to specific stretches, it's going to be very important for rotational stretches to occur since there is a large separation from your torso and lower body. I would also say knees, glutes, hips, calves, core, and shoulders can benefit from getting warmed up. At the very least if you are just too excited to stretch, take a few laps prior to riding hard to warm the body up.
How important is your form while riding?:
This is a really controversial topic but we will provide our professional opinion. By no means are we snowboard professionals, just passionate healthcare professionals who happen to snowboard. In the sports and conditioning realm, I am not a stickler for 'perfect form' only because there is limited evidence to state that it is detrimental to your health. Correlation does not equal causation. I would argue that this applies to snowboarding as well. We are advocates for placing your stance, foot positioning and form towards what is most comfortable for you. If you are having knee pain while riding, maybe you need to adjust your stance or strengthen your body in a way that it can handle that sustained load. If you are riding a specific terrain, you may need to adjust your form or stance to handle it with confidence.
How to recover after a hard day of riding?:
Active rest by far. What this means is not sitting around on your couch or pounding your body with a Theragun, but staying relatively active with light exercise. This includes light yoga, hiking, light strengthening, walking, jogging, etc. Some may benefit from an ice bath to dampen down inflammation through the body but everyone responds differently. More than activity, I would say rest, proper nutrition, and reduced stress will do much more for you than anything else. Again, it comes back to proper strength and conditioning so your body does not need extended rest to handle those hard days of riding.
How do I know when I need a rest/day off? Can I send it all season?:
Listen to your body! It is so easy to say but so difficult to follow. Rest is arguably more important than any amount of exercise for our bodies to repair themselves. It comes back to the stress load our muscles/ tendons/ bones can endure before injuries occur. If you do not let your body repair properly, it is only a matter of time before an injury occurs. Truly, the best way to prevent injury while snowboarding is to not snowboard. It's all about risk reduction and rest is such an easy way to shift the pendulum in your favour. I would say if you are riding 2-3 hard days in a row, it is most likely time for an active rest day off the mountain or groomers. This is a blanket statement and we are all in a variety of shapes and sizes so I will return to my original statement, listen to your body! It will provide all the information you need whether you are sluggish, tired, jazzed, feeling great, etc.
I injured myself! Should I put ice or heat on the injury?:
The general rule of thumb: Heat is for tight/injured muscles (Increases blood flow), Ice is for acute injuries or inflammation. This is not a cold rule (Pun intended), do what feels best for you. These modalities are ancient and are just a band-aid for discomfort. If you want to fix it at the source, you need to be strengthening and stretching consistently.
Thanks guys! These tips have been amazing and I am sure they'll help a lot of boarders recover and finally start stretching before their next day on the mountain.