Fitness for Snowboarding

Posted on Tuesday 2nd February, 2010 Times Viewed: 15886
Can you believe its snow time again! Many of you will have your season trips planned in already with snow leave granted from work (or maybe not but you're going anyway). Some of you may only be just starting to think about a mountain escape and checking out the snow forecasts. Whatever your plans may be, have you thought about preparing your body for the physical challenges ahead that days on end tearing around the slopes will present? Maybe not. I have put together an exercise program that, if applied, will go a long way to ensuring you get the most out of those all too short, but physically sharp, snowboarding holidays.
Snowboarding as a sport calls on many of the 7 components of fitness, primarily:
- aerobic
- muscular endurance
- muscular strength
- flexibility
- power

The program offers exercises to improve these components, focussing specifically on the muscle groups and movements that snowboarding uses. For maximum benefits, start this program 8 weeks before your first trip kicks off, however there will be benefits gained from starting even 4 weeks before.

Aerobic fitness
Although it may not seem that snowboarding requires a high level of cardiovascular fitness, a good level will ensure you tire less quickly, particularly in the thin air at altitude and will also provide a good base from which to work on some of the other fitness components. 45 minutes to an hour 3 times weekly building up to intervals of high intensity is an excellent start. If your aerobic fitness is at a lower level to begin with, concentrate on just this aerobic program for approx 4 weeks to give a good base, then maintain this while starting to incorporate exercises for the other components.

Key muscle groups and movements
Snowboarding relies heavily on some of the larger muscle groups, particularly quadriceps, hamstrings, lower leg (gastrocnemius and soleus) and core muscles in the abdomen and back. There are also different movements that will require differing uses of these muscle groups. For free riding around the slopes, the bent knee or half squatting position on the board will mean your quadriceps muscles are having to work hard in what is known as an isometric contraction - the hamstrings enable knee flexion but it is the opposing isometric force of the quadriceps muscles that hold that position. This stance will also mean your lower leg muscles and tendons (Achilles) will be on stretch much of the time so flexibility in this area will help you maintain correct stance and help prevent injury. Your sideways stance and constant repositioning as the board flows over the terrain beneath will mean your core trunk muscles are always working to stabilise your body around your centre of gravity. For park work, tricks and jumps, the body positioning is much the same, however you will now be demanding power generation out of those same muscle groups while moving at speed to give you the ability to gain height and rack up some nifty moves.

Exercise aims
- Strengthen specific muscle groups used in snowboarding
- Improve ability to stabilise body weight when on uneven surface
- Lengthening of specific muscles to aid snowboarding stance
- Improved power generation from major leg muscles groups

Always start with a warm-up of 7 to 10 minutes of light to medium intensity aerobic activity before beginning these exercises and maintain controlled, regular breathing throughout to ensure maximum oxygen intake.

1. Wall squats with swissball

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Place swissball in between your back and the wall so that it is resting against your lower and mid back. You should not feel as though it is pushing you forward or that your lower back is curling back over the ball. Feet shoulder width apart and knees in line with your toes pointing straight forwards. To start the movement, bend your knees using the swissball as support for your spine and keeping knees straight over 1st and 2nd toe. Squat down as far as you can to a maximum of 90 degree angle at your knees. Maintain a straight, upright upper body position throughout with your core engaged to support. Hold for 2 counts then push back up through your heels to the beginning, taking care not to lock out your knees. Complete 3 sets of 10 or 2 sets of 20 repetitions.

Progression
- Maintain the downward movement for a count of 3, upward movement for count of 1.
- Hold at bottom of downward movement and, alternating feet, raise heel off the ground for 12 repetitions.

2. Squats (unsupported)

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This is a progression from the first exercise described above as the wall and swissball support is now removed – progress to this after having mastered excellent technique in the above.
Start the movement from a neutral standing position, upright, shoulders back and knees loose. Squat down ensuring a straight back and upright upper body with arms crossed over your chest or hands on your hips. Continue downward movement slowly with knees staying in line with 1st and 2nd toe and bending at the hips to push your bottom out. Push up through heels to standing position, again without locking out the knees. Complete 3 sets of 10 or 2 sets of 20 repetitions.

Progression
As above for swissball squat.

3. One-legged squats

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Once you have mastered perfect squat technique without any support you are ready to move to yet another level. This one is tougher than you think and is only effective if good technique is maintained. If you form starts to fail, make the squat shallower or go back to previous exercises and work on those for a little longer until you are stronger and ready to progress.
This exercise needs a stable, raised surface such as a bench or platform or stair (the last stair as opposed to the middle of a flight of stairs!). Ideally do this exercise in front of a mirror to keep a close eye on your technique without having to look down.
Position yourself on the platform you are using so that your feet are on the edge but with the whole foot in contact with the platform. Place feet shoulder width apart, loose knees and I recommend placing hands on hips as it is good position to feel the movement of your pelvis to make sure it is not tilting to the side or forwards/backwards. Move your weight to one leg and place the other straight out in front of you over the edge of the platform in free space.
To initiate the movement, perform a squat on just the one leg holding all your weight using all the same squat techniques you have already mastered (knees over toes, neutral spine, high chest, pushing up through heels). Start very shallow to begin with until you can perform the movement while maintaining good technique and stability.
Complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions on each leg, progressing through to deeper squat movement and 20 repetitions.

A progression on this exercise is to add free weights – start with a low weight and work up to heavier weight.

4. Multi-plane lunge

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This is a take on the well-known lunge movement by performing the movement through multiple planes. Maintain good lunge technique throughout:

- Knees over 1st and 2nd toe
- Knees and toes pointing straight forward on the leading leg
- Neutral spine
- High chest, shoulders down and back
- Push up through heels

Begin with one leg leading and perform a traditional front lunge and immediately come back to standing position. Without a break, perform another lunge with the foot of the leading leg straight out to the side at a 90 degree angle to the front lunge line. Push back up through heel to standing position. Perform a 3rd lunge rotating around so that the foot of the leading leg is at 130 to 140 degree angle from front lunge line. Push back through heel to standing position. Repeat for alternate leg. Complete 10 repetitions on each leg.

If you find yourself tiring, ensure you maintain good technique and lessen the angle or stick to 2 planes of movement.
Now we move into some power exercises.

5. Squats with air and rotation

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For this exercise, you perform a normal squat and then on the upward movement, power up through your legs to create some air in which you can rotate 180 degrees and land balanced and feet in as straight a line as possible. If you can, perform this on a straight line in the ground. Practice until you can get as much air as possible and still execute a perfectly balanced landing.
Progress through to 360 degrees and utilise a BOSU under one then 2 legs to create an unstable surface.

6. Bosu squats with air

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Execute a squat with a Bosu ball under one foot, generate power on the upward movement to get air under both feet and create sideways movement to land with the other foot on Bosu ball. Cushion landing for your joints by keeping knees soft and bending on landing with feet and toes pointing straight ahead.

7. Power lunges with air

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Execute a front lunge and on the upward movement, power up through the legs and hips, create some air, swap the front with the back leg and land balanced. To gain the most power and momentum, don’t hesitate between the downward and upward movement.
All of the above will engage core stability muscles, however here are some additional exercises targeting core muscles specifically.

8. Swissball Russian twist

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Position yourself horizontally with the swissball underneath you supporting your neck and upper back. Ensure your knees, hips and upper body in a straight line using your gluteals and core to maintain this line. Legs are bent at the knees 90 degrees and feet hip width apart and remain flat on the floor throughout the exercise. Arms are straight up from the shoulders with fingers interlinked.
Start by lowering your straight arms to one side and letting your upper body follow and rotate through the core while rolling across the swissball on your upper back. Continue until you are at the limit of controlled rotation that will still enable you to use your core to bring you back to centre. Take the rotation to the other side. Repeat 8 times each side.
To progress to next stage, hold a medicine ball or a free weight between your hands.

9. Woodchop with swissball/medicine ball

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Start in a standing position, feet hip width apart. Hold a swissball with hands either side and extend arms up and to one side. From that position, keeping arms extended, bring the swissball across your body in front of you down to the opposite side at your feet but not touching the floor, executing a shallow squat towards the end of the movement. Maintain a straight spine and upright chest and head throughout the movement. From here, squat up through your heels and return to opposite side with arms extended. Repeat 8 times each side for 3 sets.
To progress to next stage, use a medicine instead of swissball.

10. Lunge with upper body rotation

Execute a front lunge with your arms raised out to the side extended, then at the end of the downward movement, rotate your upper body to the opposite side of your leading leg, bring the rotation back to a neutral position then push upwards through your heel out of the lunge and return back to standing. Repeat with alternate leg leading and rotating to the opposite side. Complete 8-10 on each side for 3 sets.
To progress to next stage, hold a medicine ball or a free weight in each hand with elbows bent upwards to 90 degrees.

11. Lying leg side raises

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Lie on your back with arms out to the side to stabilise, legs extended up from the hips, knees slightly bent (or if needed, increase bend to take weight off hip flexor muscles). Lower your legs to one side as far as you can while still keeping lower back on the ground. Use your core to bring your legs back to the middle in a fully controlled way then repeat for the other side. Complete 8-10 repetitions on each side.
Cool down and stretch.

Now for some stretching to work on your flexibility. Complete 5-10 minutes of cardio activity to rewarm the muscles. These stretches are also good to help your muscles recover after a hard day on the mountain. Use the chalet couch and a cushion instead of a swissball to stretch out quadriceps and hip flexors.

All of these stretches should be treated as developmental i.e. you are seeking to achieve flexibility gains. Hold each stretch for 3 x 10 seconds, taking the stretch a little further after each 10 second count.

1. Lower leg stretches for gastrocnemius and soleus

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2. Hamstring stretch

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3. Quad and hip flexor stretch

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4. Lower back stretch

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5. Oblique and quadratus lumborum stretch

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In addition to these, I recommend a gentle neck stretch by tilting head to one side and resting your hand on the side of your head to feel a good stretch, then repeat for the other side.

Summary
A pre-season training program such as the above will give you many benefits including better stamina for those days on the mountain, reduced chance of injury, decreased recovery time and reduction in muscle soreness heading into day 3 and 4 when the worst of it seems to hit.

These are just a selection of the fitness for snowboarding exercises, there are many more that can take you to even higher levels of pre-season fitness. Heres to many happy days on the mountain this season!

Laura Kelly – Second Nature Fitness
- Personal fitness
- Nutrition
- Sports Massage Therapy

Email: laura@secondnaturefitness.co.uk
Website: www.secondnaturefitness.co.uk
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Comments (3)  
  Page: 1 of 1     
 masbuloh (13/02/2014 @ 15:29)
Isabella "Bella" Marie Swan moves from sunny Phoenix, Arizona to rainy Forks, Washington to live with her father, Charlie, to allow her mother Renée to travel with her new husband, Phil Dwyer, who is a minor league baseball star. Even though Bella never had many friends in Phoenix, she quickly attracts attention at her new school in Forks, and is quickly befriended by several students. Much to her dismay, several boys in the school compete for shy Bella's attention.

T- Saving Bella
Edw
 masbuloh (13/02/2014 @ 15:29)
Isabella "Bella" Marie Swan moves from sunny Phoenix, Arizona to rainy Forks, Washington to live with her father, Charlie, to allow her mother Renée to travel with her new husband, Phil Dwyer, who is a minor league baseball star. Even though Bella never had many friends in Phoenix, she quickly attracts attention at her new school in Forks, and is quickly befriended by several students. Much to her dismay, several boys in the school compete for shy Bella's attention.

T- Saving Bella
Edw
 masbuloh (13/02/2014 @ 15:29)
Isabella "Bella" Marie Swan moves from sunny Phoenix, Arizona to rainy Forks, Washington to live with her father, Charlie, to allow her mother Renée to travel with her new husband, Phil Dwyer, who is a minor league baseball star. Even though Bella never had many friends in Phoenix, she quickly attracts attention at her new school in Forks, and is quickly befriended by several students. Much to her dismay, several boys in the school compete for shy Bella's attention.

T- Saving Bella
Edw
  Page: 1 of 1     
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