Stretches for Before and After Your Skate Session
We get it — skateboarding is supposed to be totally anti-mainstream, and stretching before you skateboard seems exactly that: mainstream. But here’s the thing: you may be as against-the-grain as they come, but that doesn’t make your body invincible. Whether you’re a rookie skater or you’ve grown up at the skatepark, stretching before and after a skate session is going to help prevent injuries, reduce stiffness and lessen soreness the next day.
Joint Rotations. Your board’s not going anywhere without slick, lubed-up bearings that spin fast. Your joints work the same way. If you attempt that ledge before giving your joints a chance to warm up, you’re going to end up with some nasty injuries. Spend some time simply rotating your ankles, knees and even your shoulders. Then stretch your toes out too by placing the ball of your foot on the ground with your ankle in the air and pushing forward until you can feel the stretch.
Cardio. Don’t take off just yet. We’re not asking you to do jumping jacks in the middle of the skatepark or put on some skimpy shorts and go running through the city (unless you want to). Skating itself can be enough to get your blood pumping, but skip the tricks for now. To start off, just push hard and pick up speed for 5 minutes or so before you start in on the big stuff. This helps prepare your muscles for the heavy lifting that tricks require.
Dynamic stretches. We’ll cut to the chase: don’t hold your stretches for longer than 15 seconds. Static stretching lowers your response time, so you’ll want to make sure you’re giving your muscles some consistent movement. Take those basic stretches you already know — like apple-pickers, quad stretches and hamstring stretches, and simply hold them for shorter periods of time and doing 12-15 repetitions for each stretch.
While static stretching is a no-go for before your session, it’s great as a cool-down after you’ve been skating. Since response time isn’t something you need to worry about anymore, take advantage of the slow, steady movement of static stretching and the feeling of taking a break after an insane workout (because really, that’s what skating is). The most important thing for post-session stretching is to move slowly and think of it as a relaxation period. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds, and take some deep breaths as you hold them.
As for what types of stretches you should be doing, those basic ones you learned in high school P.E. class should suffice just fine. But if you’re blanking on what you actually did in that class, no worries. Here’s a list of a few stretches that should help stretch your muscles out after some hard skating:
- Calf stretches
- Hamstring stretches
- Quad stretches
- Touch your toes
If finding your inner yogi in the middle of the park isn’t exactly something you’re looking forward to, that’s fine. Just push home and skate there. As long as you don’t wait hours before stretch at your muscles, you should still reap the benefits of a post-skate cool-down.
- Outdoors Staff