Getting in Shape for Snowboard Season
By. Steve Hartman
There are a lot of physical components to snowboarding so it’s wise to do a bit of training before hitting the mountain. Granted, you’ve probably been able to just strap the snowboard on and play but spending some time strengthening muscles and increasing stamina can do a lot of good when trying to keep up with your friends and combating fatigue..
One of the first things you’ll want to strengthen up is your core. Why all the talk about the core? What the core does is help decrease the likelihood of falling, improve your posture and increases your performance. Here are a few exercises to keep that core in peak shape.
Planks are one of the most famous (or infamous) core exercises and they are done by simply staying in the push up position. When performing this exercise keep your back very straight without sagging or lifting your butt or back. Suck in that belly and count to thirty.
The Superman is another good core exercise that works by laying face down on the floor with your arms and legs straight out. Lift your arms and legs off the ground and hold for about thirty seconds. This will increase strength in your back.
Finally, you’ll want to work on balance. A BOSU balance trainer which looks like a half-of-an-inflatable ball with a hard surface is excellent for this. By trying to remain balanced on an uneven, wobbly surface such as this will do wonders for coordination, balance and even strength.
For your upper body that are two main muscle groups to focus on but by doing these exercises you’ll be working more than just their specified targets as other muscles will be affected.
The Chest: Push ups are great to help with upper body strength. Whether you get down and do a full ten push ups or you can pop out more or less, the key is to start. To start out, try 2-3 sets of 10 reps. Your hand should be at shoulder width but wider push ups use a different set of chest muscles and narrower push ups work your triceps so feel free to mix it up.
The Triceps: Speaking of triceps, the dip is a great way to boost muscle. All it takes is a bench. Sit on the bench and place your hands on the edge of the bench. Drop your butt down towards the floor allowing for your elbows to bend to 90 degrees (anymore and you risk injury) ensuring that your legs are stretched out and you are on your heels. This exercise makes getting up off the snow much easier.
The best lower body exercises for snowboarding are the tried and true ones. You probably learned how to do them in elementary school gym class and they are none other than the squat and the lunge.
Squats: When doing a squat you should look like you’re sitting back into a chair. Your weight should be in your heels and you should not bend your knees past your toes.
Lunges: Take a step forward and drop your back knee slowly towards the floor. It’s okay for your knee to touch the ground. Stand back up and then do it on the opposite leg.
You can vary your cardio throughout the week but you should try to his it at least 3 times per week for 20-45 minutes. Whether you bike or jog, this will help increase your stamina when you’re on the mountain. Jumping jacks or just doing a set of jumps will help your performance in the park when you want to hit the rails.
There are tons of great stretching moves to increase your flexibility. Being flexible will help in all aspects of snowboarding from increasing your muscle strength and stamina to pulling off tricks more efficiently. I’d recommend researching a variety of stretches but here’s a few to get you going.
For your legs, grab your right forefoot with your right hand and stretch back. Hold for about 20-30 seconds then switch to the opposite foot. Feel free to use a wall for support.
For your hips, sit on the floor and put the soles of your feet together. Push down lightly on your knees. Don’t feel obligated to get your knees all the way to the ground. However, if you can, lean forward to increase the stretch.
For your calves, place your hands against the wall and step one foot back. Push your heel down while slightly bending the forward leg. You should be able to feel your calf stretch and, if you can’t get your heel all the way down, it’s okay. The more you stretch the better you will get.
Finally, put your feet at shoulder width apart. Cross your arms and bend downward at the waist. Hold this position for 30 seconds allowing your arms and head to dangle. This will increase the flexibility in your back.
Hope this helps to provide you with a more fun and longer snowboarding day. You spend a lot on those lift tickets, so why spend only half-a-day on the mountain and head in early because you’re tired?