Flexibility is such an important part of synchro! Not only is it helpful to improve certain skills such as field moves, but it can help you have more mobility and coordination on the ice. Maintaining flexibility also reduces the risk of injuries by increasing your range of motion and reducing stiffness.
Recently, we asked the OTM Community for helpful tips on improving flexibility and here’s what they had to say:
- Be consistent with your stretching routine! Being consistent allows your body to make steady progress in your flexibility.
- Think ahead! Instead of waiting until competition season and realizing your spiral free leg might be too low, start now.
- Think whole-body. Injuries can happen when we are tight and lose mobility, or when we are over-flexible in certain areas which then over-compensate for tighter areas. To avoid these injuries, don’t just stretch skating positions, or single movements; focus on your whole body!
- Learn about “reciprocal inhibition” and use this to help with your flexibility goals.
- Set goals! Think of where you want to be 3, 6, 9, and 12 months from now, and start working toward those goals today to avoid over-stretching and running into injuries later.
- Try foam rolling! Rolling can increase circulation and loosen tight areas.
- Keep up your muscle strength! In order to attain flexible positions on the ice and avoid injuries, you have to have the strength and core stability, not just the flexibility.
- Try yoga or pilates! Stretching doesn’t have to be done one certain way. Activities such as yoga and pilates are a great way to try something new, while also increasing your flexibility.
- Stay hydrated! Keeping hydrated improves your muscles’ response to your flexibility training.
- Work on your flexibility with a teammate or friend! Having someone else is a good way to stay accountable and motivated to stick to your plan.
BONUS TIP: Be mindful of the timing of your stretching! Focus on dynamic stretching before a training session, to activate your muscles. Avoid long, static-stretching before a training session, as it can reduce your power and increase the risk of injury. Instead, stick to static stretching at the end of a training session, or on an off-day, or even before bed!