The second in our mountain fitness blog series, this post discusses all the snowboarding exercises you’ll need to get board ready for the slopes. Last week we looked at ski fitness, and in this post we’ll be looking at the strength, endurance and balance required to snowboard well!
As we said last week, anyone can ski or snowboard without working out for half the year. But to board to the best of your ability, we think a little prior exercise for snowboarding goes a long way! Whether you’ve got a week or six until your trip, it’s never too late to do the odd lunge and work on that core strength.
So, give some of these simple snowboarding exercises a whirl, and we’ll see you on the slopes!
There’s no avoiding it, to snowboard around the mountain all day long with as little pain and cramping as possible, you’ll want to be strong. Your legs bear the brunt of the weight carrying, so it’s important to focus on them.
- Jump squats
Increase your leg strength and build explosive power with some jump squats. Start in a deep squat and jump up as high as you can, reaching with your hands. Return to your deep squat on the way down.
- Walking lunges
Build that thigh strength! Take a long step forward and lower your body to the ground, until your knee almost hits the floor. But remember to keep both knees at a 90 degree angle. Push your body up and repeat on the other side.
- Step ups
Jog up and down steps, either a one or two large ones, or several small ones. Practise slowly, and then build up the speed to feel the burn.
Snowboarding is one of the few holidays where you exercise all day, every day. Boarding up and down the mountain requires endurance, because no one wants to be the first one traipsing back to the chalet, or sitting the next one out in the mountain cafe (much as we love a vin chaud or two!).
- Ride a bike
Riding a bike is great for endurance. Riding a moving bike outdoors will help build your balance, but if it’s just a bit too chilly, using a static bike in the gym will train your heart and your legs just as well.
You might not have cracked out the skipping rope since your school days, but there’s a reason that top athletes like boxers use skipping to boost their cardio. And you don’t need any flashy equipment, just a skipping rope and you’re good to go. If you struggle to remain concentrated, why not skip in front of the TV? Also if you fall over in your own living room, people are less likely to notice/laugh.
As well as being therapeutic, swimming is a full body workout that helps build your cardio endurance. It also teaches you the importance of regulating your breathing, which will come in handy on the mountain.
Snowboarding is a little more challenging than just strapping your feet to a board and going. You need to strap your feed to a board and go, without falling over. Balance is a key part of snowboarding as the goal is to ensure that your weight is always on the board. Practise a few of these balance exercises before you go to get to grips with the key muscles you’ll be using on the board.
- Balance ball jack knife
Grab a balance ball and place your feet flat on it, with your hands flat on the floor in front of it, so you’re in a push-up position with elevated feet. Keep your back straight and lift your hips towards the ceiling. Keep your legs straight as you bring the ball towards you, until your toes are resting on the ball. Hold for a few seconds and then return to a flat position.
- Low side to side lunge
Start standing, with your feet hip-width apart. Lower your body over each leg, stretching out the opposite leg. Lower as far as you can go without needing to touch the floor with your hands and bounce to the other side.
- Step deck squat
Stand in front of a low step or box, feet hip width apart. Lower your body into a squat position, with your hands out in front of you. Control your descent until you’re seated on the box. Lower down until you’re lying on the box. Sit and stand up without using your hands to push yourself, and repeat. The importance of this exercise is that it trains you to be balanced as you lower your joints – just like you will on the board!
And as we said last week – have fun with these snowboarding exercises! It’s an exciting time, leading up to a snowboarding holiday, and with all this practise you’re putting in, you’ll be whizzing down the slopes in no time.
Disclaimer: Naturally, only do exercises that are suitable for you. Madame Vacances accepts no responsibility for accident or injury resulting from our advice.