So.. believe it or not, I actually train a bit to keep myself in shape for when I hit the slopes. Despite its own Olympic background, it’s easy to think that boarding is just slipping and sliding. It’s not a real sport, right? And snowboarders themselves are not athletes, right? They simply jump off things, then call people gnarly. it’s not exactly marathon running.
Whether you are new to snowboarding or a seasoned expert (like moi), working on your own fitness off the slopes is pretty vital to having the ability to ride safely have a good time. Snowboarding demands endurance, flexibility, agility, balance, and quite a few other different abilities that I like to work on in the gym sometimes before venturing outside to play in the snow.
Weightlifting & Squats
There are plenty of good reasons for weightlifting but I find squats to be valuable for my leg strength. I can’t tell you the number of times I used to get tired legs when snowboarding before I worked out. In regards to building leg strength, improving energy, and enhancing performance, squats are about as good as it can get. To squat correctly for snowboarding you will want a decent pair of shoes. I usually go for high top weightlifting shoes like Chuck Taylors as they will really help me to balance better. Also, I find that this exercise improves my cardiovascular capacity, core power, glute strength, and having a decent posture. Additionally, squats are among the most functional and practical movements I found for this sport.
As I just mentioned, it’s highly recommended that you get the right footwear for the gym. You can start with some normal lunges to warm up. When you’ve done that and feel ready, place the barbell at the rack so that it’s at collarbone height or slightly lower. Position yourself so that the barbell rests on muscles at the top of your back. Stand to un-rack the bar and have a step or two back from the rack while holding the bar. Position your feet a comfortable width apart, ideally shoulder or hip width, and I point my toes slightly outwards. Just take a deep breath, which ought to turn into your cue to start the movement.
Look directly ahead, and maintaining your weight on your heels and mid-foot, commence the squat by pushing your butt back. Squat down until where your hips crease moves under your knee then stand back up, breathing out. Consider keeping your shins as perpendicular as you can and pushing out your knees so that your knees track consistently with your feet for the whole movement.
Although you are going to find the most benefit from doing a full squat movement all the way down (ass to grass), just doing the squat until your legs are at right angles is perfectly fine, particularly in the event that you have knee, hip or back problems.
After doing this for just a couple of weeks at the gym (just once a week) I didn’t have the weak feeling in my legs that I used to have after a few hours of snowboarding.
Another thing that I sometimes like to work on my balance. When your legs are locked and you hit a bump on the slope, if it goes wrong, it can be really hard to rescue it,. The result: a wipeout. I work on this with a Bosu Ball. Standing with bent knees on the ball and then maintain your balance. As soon as you master your balance simply standing, have a friend gently hit the cover of the ball while you try to stay on it. It’s fun!
Running up the stairs
I used to find that I was out of breath pretty quickly after walking the short distance uphill with my gear so it is not surprising that a day on the slopes requires a solid cardiovascular foundation. And while that may consist of lower-intensity and long duration exercise, you can just do this by climbing stairs as an easy method to improve your cardio and leg strength at home. Or you can just go for a jog.