photography: Roland Dittmer (@rofilesshots)
A proper warm-up in skateboarding is about as rare as a new clip of Gino. Most skateboarders warm up with a few tricks on flat, others with a coffee and a cigarette. Jaws warms up on 15 foot gaps. Amongst the skaters that do try to warm up properly, stretching is by far the most popular choice.
The two most common types of stretchers are the ones that warm up with static stretches (holding a stretch using your body weight or something else to hold you in place) and the ones that half-heartedly go through about 9 different stretches in 12 seconds. What most people don’t know is that warming up with the first type—static stretching—can have a negative impact on how you skate and is actually worse than doing nothing at all. This kind of stretching lowers the power, performance, and response time of your muscles, and can even increase your chances of getting injured.
For the second type of stretch… well, at least it only wastes 12 seconds of your valuable skate time. On the other hand, a proper warm-up, using the right type of stretching, has the opposite effect and can increase your power, strength, flexibility, joint range of motion, and improve your coordination and reaction time. Overall it could leave you feeling more energized and even greatly reduce the chance of injury.
So, what is a proper warm-up? Do I need a full body spandex suit? Will it make me a jock? Well, it’s actually quite simple and can be blasted out in as little as 10 minutes. There are three things to do as part of a warm-up: a few slow rotations of your joints to lube them up and get them moving freely; 5-10 minutes of some kind of cardio (depending on how cold the place you live is) to get your energy and blood pumping (pushing at high speed can be enough); and some stretches, not stretches like we discussed before but a type called “dynamic stretching” (stretching your body with movement) to prepare your muscles and enhance their ability to generate force.
Arguably the most important part of the warm-up (and usually the most neglected) is the second step—this is literally the warming up part which warms up your muscles preparing them for the dynamic stretches. Stretching a cold muscle doesn’t do much and when you are cold it’s easier to pull something. So don’t half-ass it; as you’re warming up, focus on trying to progressively build up energy and getting your whole body moving. Be aware of how your body feels and what needs more time to be loosened up and it will be much more beneficial.
P-Rod said in an interview that the biggest deterrent to skaters stretching and warming up is the worry that it will damage their image. Warming up properly is simple but if you want to get it on lock before you do it at the spot/skatepark and you live close to where you’re going to skate then do it at home just before you leave. You can warm up in the same way but just replace the second step with jogging around your house or jumping rope, and then skate fast to the spot when you’re finished popping ollies over drains or whatever on the way. This will leave you feeling even fresher.
For a complete warm-up program with a list of joint rotations and dynamic stretches head over to www.thedailypush.com/warming-up.