So I just went boarding this past weekend. It was my first time out this season. Typical resorts in the part of the country where I live (Colorado) open up around 9 am and close at 4 pm. My brother and I were gonna hit the hill, but this was after he flew in late on Friday night.
We slept in, got breakfast, and took our time getting to the mountain. Our goal was to get to the hill and start riding by noon…we didn’t make that goal.
When it was all said and done, we were hitting our first run by 1:30 in the afternoon. (I can hear the gasp from most of you reading this now:) With a closing time of 4 pm, that left us with a measly 2.5 hours to ride.
Doesn’t seem like much time, and to be honest the time flew by and we’d wished we’d gotten there a little earlier…except for the fact that we were exhausted after this short stint on the mountain.
Had we been doing exercises meant for snowboarding leading up to our riding, we would have left the hill with more energy in the tank and wanting more runs under our belts.
Doing exercises for snowboarding is very important if you want to perform at your best, make it 8 hours on the slopes, get the most out of you time on the mountain, and survive to ride again on day 2 of a multi-day trip.
I’ll take you through some info here of why we do exercises, main areas of your body to work, specific exercises to do, and how to take your snow fitness to the next level!
Why do snowboard exercises?
You may be asking that exact question. And I’m going to tell you….right….now.
The first and I think the most important reason you want to do snowboard exercises is to prevent injuries. Having strong muscles where you need them and flexibility in those muscles could save you from a day in the lodge while your friends keep riding or even worse, a trip to the hospital after a nasty spill.
Second, you want strong muscles to be able to ride a full 8-hour day! It’s no fun getting to lunch and then not being able to move afterwards when you were planning on going all day.
Next, riding is more enjoyable when your legs, lungs, and core aren’t screaming at you cause they are in pain.
Lastly, you will perform at a higher level the better shape you are in. No matter if your goal is to rock the park, ride the pow, or just glide down buttery groomers, you will perform at a higher level and most likely enjoy your time more if your body can take the wonderfully fun beating you are about to give it.
Two main areas of your body to work
We will break down what types of exercises to do in the next section. First though, let’s talk about what main areas of the body need the most training and strengthening for optimal riding.
- This should be a no brainer, but the lower body is the most important part to work on for your snowboard riding. The lower body has some of the biggest muscles that are the most used while strapped in.
- Next is your core. Having good core strength is important in almost anything you’re doing and there is no exception in your snowboarding. You’ll have to use your abs and other core muscles to get up after falls, help you strap into your board after getting off the lift, and help with overall balance while riding over variable terrain.
What exercises to do?
These are options for the exercises you can do to gain strength, stability, and flexibility. Do 3 sets of each of these of 15 reps at least 3 times a week to start to build up your strength. Each of these exercises will strengthen both the lower body and core.
For lower body
- Front Squats – Just like a standard back squat, but with your arms out in front.
- Box Squats – A standard back squat, but with a much wider stance. (greater than shoulder width a part)
- Squats with behind the head reach – Standard back squat that includes a medicine ball. You do the squat and then raise your arms and the ball up slightly over your head when you stand up.
- Single leg squats – Lift one leg and put it either in front of you or behind you and do a squat using the other leg that is still planted on the ground.
- Bosu squats – Standard back squat done on an exercise BOSU ball either with or without additional weight (such as a medicine ball or dumbbell)
- Forward lunge – Have your feet together. Step forward with one of your feet and bend both knees. Don’t allow your back knee to touch the floor or your front knee to go too far over your front foot. Step your feet back together. Repeat using other foot.
- Side lunge – Like the forward lunge, this one starts with your feet together. You step one foot out to the side, bending the knee that is extended (but don’t go too far over the foot) while straightening the other leg and keeping both feet pointing forward. Then push back so your feet are side by side again and repeat with the other leg.
- Back lunge – Just as with the forward lunge, you are doing the same movement, but instead of stepping forward, you are stepping backward.
- Multi-directional lunges – These can be done in a number of ways. You just need to do them in any direction. Sideways, forwards, backwards, diagonally, or cross over.
- Lunges with rotation – This can be a standard forward or backward lunge, but you add a twist in the direction of your forward leg. This can be done with a medicine ball as well or dumbbell weights for added resistance.
For core strength
- Traditional plank – Start in a push up position either on your hands or elbows. Hold for a designated amount of time.
- Side plank – Start in a traditional plank position. Push up so your hips are stacked together and your top arm is straight up in the air.
Bring that arm back down and do the move again to the other side.
- Mountain climbers – Start in the push up position with hands about shoulder width apart. Pull one leg in to where your knee will almost touch your chest. Extend that leg back out and switch to the other leg. Repeat at least 20 times total.
- Plank jumps – Start in the push up position. Jump your legs in almost to your hands and jump them back out. Repeat 20 times.
- Traditional crunches – Lie on your back with your hands touching your ears. Lift up with your eyes staying on the ceiling until your lower back is up off the ground. Lower back down to the ground and repeat.
- Star fish crunches – Lie on your back with your hands and feet stretched out in the shape of a star. Raise your right arm and your left leg and touch them in the middle with your lower back elevated off the ground. Lower down and repeat using the other arm and leg.
What not to do
Don’t just focus on lifting weights. Since snowboarding is a dynamic sport with on the fly changes in balance and strength needed, going to the gym and just lifting heavy weights will not give you the same results as doing the moves we have talked about above.
Also, don’t forget to do your cardio! Your heart and lungs are muscles too…and pretty important ones at that and they need to be worked on as well for you to perform at your best out on the hill!
Let’s bump this up a notch!
This is not an all encompassing list of exercises. There are many other exercises you can do and variations you can add to any of these to make them more difficult as you progress in your fitness levels. Variations could include jump squats and jump lunges instead of regular ones.
An easy way to add difficulty as you get stronger and stronger is by adding in a medicine ball, bosu ball, or dumbbell weights to the exercises listed above.
Medicine balls and dumbbells will obviously add weight and a BOSU will add instability (which you will be finding all day out on the snowy surfaces of the mountain).
Do your exercises! Your body will thank you.
You will be so glad you worked on your fitness beforehand once you get out on the hill. I know I’ve had the most fun and best days when I can ride and ride and not get tired or sore, even after a full day.
You may be thinking you’ll just get in better shape from riding, and you’d be right. However, why wait for time on the hill to strengthen you when you can do some preparations off the hill?
That way when you go to ride you can go longer, harder, and faster without needing a few days to rev up. You will cut down on injuries and enjoy your time out on the mountain more!
Please let me know if you have any questions or comments below. Otherwise, I’ll see you out on the mountain!
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