Skateboarding is our best friend, the love of our lives and the true soulmate we have. But come on, let’s face it. IT HURTS LIKE A BITCH! Especially when we bail and even when we don’t! Let me explain.
On top of all grazes, shiners, credit cards and all other bruises, sprains or fractures, our muscles get sour and stiff. Especially when we’re getting older, we feel like Grandpa way too early. Luckily there is a way to reduce those downsides… STRETCHING! You need to do it properly though.
The Harvard Medical School explains why it’s so important.
“Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.” (Harvard Medical School, 2013)
Notice the three bold words. Imagine what flexibility, strength and healthy muscles can do for your skills. Increased pop, better flicks, better balance and most of all less pain!
But stretching one or two times doesn’t ‘fix’ your body. You need to do it on a regular basis, 3 to 4 times a week at least. And especially before and after an intensive session. But there are some essentials you need to know.
Dynamic vs. static stretching.
The most common mistake is that people do some static stretching before they work out. In fact, BEFORE your session you need to dynamic stretch. Walking around, jumping jacks, arm rotations, hip rotations… So basically everything what gets your blood flowing. AFTER an intensive session you definitely should stretch your (lower) body! So here are the best stretch exercises for skateboarders! This picture summarizes it nicely.
Before you start shredding.
Loosen your muscles by doing jumping jacks, swinging your arms around, walk a bit, high knees, … there’s so much you can do. These are the four must do’s before you fire those hammers!
- Arms, shoulders and neck
Start with some arm rotations in both sides. Each side at least 10 seconds. Next you can do the arm swing stretch. The picture below tells you how to do those arm swings.
A painful neck can be very irritating. So don’t forget to also loosen up your neck. You should try to look over your shoulder, come back straight and get to the other side. You might do this as well by looking up and down. Repeat both ways for 10 times. But don’t forget to always come back to the center.
- Hips and knees
Do some hip and knee rotations will definitely improve your dancing skills in the club! But most of all your balance on your board today! Stand with your legs spread, so you have a good balance. Place your hands in your side and start making big circles with your hips. Do this for 10 seconds at least in both ways. For you kneed you can do the same but you need to hold your feet together. Karate kid shows you how. After the rotations, do at least 5 very deep squats so your knees are ready for impact.
The following video is the best dynamic calves stretch you can do!
Rotate, rotate, rotate and rotate some more! Next, find a curb or a stair and stand on it with your heel hanging over the edge. Lift your heel up and lower it down again. This is also a good exercise for your calves again. Last try to stand on one foot for 30 seconds. Searching for balance will stretch out the muscles of your ankle.
If you want to know some more check out this guy. He has a Three-Step-Guide that will boost every session!
When you are shredded
After an intensive session you should always stretch! Especially the lower body is important as a skateboarder. This part prevents you of getting so stiff the next day. Static stretch all your lower body muscles. These are the essentials!
If you want to know some more, definitely check out this expert in stretching and Pro Skateboarder Neen Williams! This routine will learn you everything you need to know to stretch properly in the future.
So I really hope you will stretch some more now! And make sure you do it after your session! Your body will be grateful the next day(s). Good luck y'all getting flexible! It will improve your life in so many ways.