Landscapes across North America are starting to get a little whiter, and snowboarders everywhere are beginning to feel the stoke. The snow blanketing the previously brown and green mountain peaks is the wake-up call keen shredders need to start preparing their bodies for the upcoming winter season.
The bad news is that opening day is still a little while away; the good news is that you have plenty of time to get conditioned. Incorporate the following exercises into your workout, and you’ll be good to go come opening day.
Strong thighs are a must for snowboarders of every level. Whether you’re cruising down groomers or popping off jumps, squats will give you the strength you need to keep that fluid, athletic stance all day long.
Stand hip-width apart and sit back into a squat. Ensure that you can see your toes past your knees. Aim to get your hips down to the same level as your knees. From your squatting position, jump up into the air and raise your arms above head. Land softly with a slight bend in your knees—just like when you land a jump in snowboarding, you doact.
Ah, the beloved plank. Like it or not, a strong and steady core is hugely important for snowboarding, particularly as you progress into more challenging terrain like tight trees, or into jumps and rotations.
For beggar’s plank, assume a plank position on your forearms. Ensure that your butt is in line with the rest of your body (many people tend to raise it in the air), and shift your weight forward so that you are up on your toes. Flip your right palm to face up as you move your right arm forward a few inches, then return to your plank position. Repeat with the other side.
Stair Calf Raises
Regular or goofy, we’re all going to experience those long toe-side traverses that burn up the calves. Save yourself from the burn with lots and lots of calf raises.
Stand with the balls of your feet on a stair, your heels hanging over the edge. Place your hands on your hips and slowly lower and raise your body by pushing onto the balls of your feet, like you’re going on tippy toes. Repeat on your left leg only and right leg only.
Hit the Trails
Planning on doing any hiking or touring this winter? Get in as many cardio workouts as possible. Trudging through deep snow at high altitudes is tough for even the fittest runners, and good cardio will give you the endurance you need to poach the best lines.
Trail running is one way to get your heart beating while getting up close and personal with nature. The elevation changes will keep you challenged, while the terrain features will test your dexterity and reflexes, which will come in handy on the slopes.
If you want to spend the day on your feet and not your backside, a strong sense of upright balance is a must. Tree pose is a great way to test your balance, with many variations to keep you challenged.
Start standing upright with your feet hip-width apart. Shift your weight slightly onto your left foot. Bend your right knee and raise your right leg up, keeping your weight evenly distributed into all four corners of your left foot. Reach down and grab your right ankle, and place your right foot either against your calf or along your upper inner thigh, with your knee rotated out (so you look like a 4). Avoid placing your foot right against your knee; keep it above or below. Your toes should point down towards the floor, and avoid lifting your right hip up high. Raise your arms straight up above your head. If you want an extra challenge, try leaning back, or try flickering your eyes open and closed. Repeat on the other side.
If you can get your hands on a balance board, you’re off to a good start. The board consists of a wooden plank resting atop a cylinder, and standing on the plank requires an extraordinary amount of balance. The movements required to keep the board balanced on the cylinder replicate the motion of snowboarding. Keep one in front of your TV to use while you watch your favorite snowboard movies.
Beginners, expect to spend a lot of time pushing yourself from sitting to standing position—easier said than down when there is a board strapped to your feet and you’re sitting in a pile of fluffy snow. Prep you triceps with dips.
Begin by sitting on a bench, with your hands down beside you holding the edge of the bench. With your legs straight out in front of you and your heels on the floor, lift your butt off the bench and drop it down towards the floor until your arms bend 90 degrees. In a controlled motion, come back up until your arms are straight. Repeat.