I’m sure there are a lot of snowboarders out there who are just as out of shape as I am. Let’s not dance around it, there’s nothing worse than when you’re stoked for that first day of the season and after just a few runs your legs are shaking & throbbing. Let's try to avoid that this season, shall we?
Here are some great exercises that help when it comes to building strength and endurance for snowboarders.
Any good workout routine needs to include the squat, it just does so much. For snowboarding, this is going to strengthen your quads, hips, hamstrings, and butt. The more your squat the longer you’ll last on the slopes. To do a squat follow these basic rules:
Stand with your knees at shoulder-width apart
Push your hips back
Lower via bending your knees until quads are parallel to the floor (without your knees hanging over your toes)
Try this for this try to do 4 sets of 10 reps at bodyweight. If you can do this with proper form easily, try using either dumbbells or a barbell for an extra challenge. Take a 60-second rest between sets, if needed take longer so that you don’t begin to lose proper form.
The lunge works very similar muscle groups to the squat, but the real focus here is going to be on balance. For the lunge:
Start with your feet together
Raise your right foot and take a big step forward (shifting weight onto your right heel)
Bend your right knee until it forms a 90-degree angle
Step your right foot back to the starting position
Repeat with your left foot
If you want to switch this up and strengthen your balance even more, try stepping backwards instead of forwards, this really spices things up! Try for 4 sets of 20 reps (10 each leg), if you need an extra challenge, hold dumbbells.
Again, this works heavily on your balance - but this time we’re also going to add a lot of strength and control to your hamstrings.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with knees slightly bent
Without changing the bend in your knee, keep your back naturally arched and bend at your hips until your lower torso is almost parallel to the floor (extending one leg behind you)
Pause at the bottom and then squeeze your glutes, thrust hips forward, and raise your torso to a standing position while bringing your previously extended leg forward into an upward lunge (bring knee to roughly chest height)
Try to do this for 15 reps for one leg before switching legs. Try to do 2 sets of 15 reps per leg. For an added challenge, use dumbbells or kettlebells (if using weights, really focus on posture and control so that you do not place your back in an awkward position).
The wood chopper is a great exercise to hit your obliques while still using power from your glutes and legs! A cable machine is recommended for this machine but a resistance band can be used as well.
Secure the cable at about ankle height
Stand sideways to the cable machine with toes pointed out, grab the handle with both hands and ensure there is tension in the cable
Rotate your torso upward and to the direction opposite of the cable machine. Pivot your feet until they are facing away from the machine with arms held straight out in front of your body.
Return to the starting position
Focus on your core during this exercise, it’s where most of your power should be coming from; also keep your shoulders & hips squared. Try to do 4 sets of 10 reps for this exercise; adjust weight as needed.
Stick around next week for a Backcountry/Mountaineering-focused workout! For more snowboarding fitness tips and exercise programs, check out REI, Bodybuiling.com, or Pro Ride.
Gregory Louie, Doctor of Physical Therapy (aka @the_ski_pt on Insta) discusses some simple ski exercises and workouts you can do to help prevent knee injuries this season! Greg specializes in building ski-specific strength & conditioning programs and helping injured skiers with their rehab. His unique niche has given opportunities for him to work with the U.S. Ski Team as a volunteer medical provider.