Fitness

Snowboarding: Improve Your Abilities

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There aren’t many workouts that compare to how I feel after a few days of snowboarding. It’s exhausting (but incredible nonetheless). This is widely due to the fact that snowboarding is a total body workout. You can burn 300-600 calories an hour depending on intensity. Aside from being considered cardiovascular exercise, it also works 5 big muscle groups including: the foot/ankle, calves/shins, quadriceps/hamstrings, hips/glutes, and of course your core musculature. Generally we have weak or strong and tight or flexible muscles. If we can strengthen our weaker muscles and stretch out our tighter muscles, we’ll have a better shot at picking up snowboarding quicker and be less sore the next day!

Main Muscle Groups at Work While Snowboarding

Foot and Ankle

During snowboarding, the main role your foot and ankle complex play is controlling your direction. Ankle injuries are the most common injury associated with snowboarding. Your foot contains more than 100 muscles, ligaments and tendons. Commonly forgotten, it is imperative that you stretch and strengthen your ankle/foot complex. You can do resisted dorsiflexion, resisted eversion, resisted inversion and resisted plantar flexion with a resistance band as seen below (in that order). Complete 3 sets of 15, per leg. Need a resistance band? Click HERE.

 

Shins and Calves

Your shin and calf control your ankle and are responsible for the angle and pressure of your board. Your calf muscle (gastrocnemius) is typically more dominant than the muscle of your shin (tibialis anterior) which over time can cause us to develop an imbalance. As we know, imbalances can lead to injury. Ensuring that we not only stretch the dominant muscles but also take some time to strengthen the weaker ones in the gym will lower the risk of injury associated with snowboarding.

Resisted dorsiflexion is great when it comes to strengthening your shin. Our calves are one of the most commonly tight muscles in our entire bodies. It’s vital that we stretch them at least once a day (but the more often the better!). You can strengthen your calves as well by practicing standing calf raises (with or without added weight)… just make sure you stretch them!

Quadriceps and Hamstrings

Your upper leg muscles are critical in getting yourself down the mountain. When you’re toe side, you’re utilizing your hamstrings. When you’re heel side you’re using your quadriceps. It is much more common for your quadriceps to be the dominant of the two muscle groups. Training your legs in the gym will help, but increased focus on your hamstrings can improve your snowboarding skills. Weak hamstrings can lead to hyper-extension of the knee which can be very painful.  This is when your knee joint is forced beyond it’s normal range of motion due to too much stress being placed on it. To strengthen your hamstrings, you can do single-leg deadlifts, traditional deadlifts, leg curls, or bridges. Squats are one of the best exercises that you can do for your lower body! Speaking of lower body exercises…

Hips and Glutes

We use these muscles to steer and carve our way down the mountain. When you snowboard, you try to stick to an S-pattern. This requires you to go from toe to heel continuously. You’re constantly in a cycle of hip flexion and extension. Keeping your knees and ankles flexed will help to protect your hips and glutes. Typically, the weakened muscle in this duo would be the glutes. Again, squats are the best exercise but you can also do hip thrusts, glute press, single-leg leg press (push through your heel PEOPLE), weighted step-ups and even glute kickbacks! It is crucial that you stretch your hip flexors. My favorite hip stretches are the pigeon and forward lunge stretch

Core Musculature

Last but certainly not least, is your core. This includes not just your abs but your middle and lower back as well. Balance is the main role of your core musculature (which is extremely important when it comes to snowboarding). A strong core can decrease your chance of injury substantially. When your core is weak, your pelvis tilts back putting your lower back at risk of injury. Maintaining a strong core will keep your pelvis neutral, abs engaged and give you better control over balance. You’d be surprised how much your core (especially your lower abdominal muscles) comes into play in regards to carving your way down the mountain. There’s no limit to the benefits of having a strong core. Ab exercises like planks, sit-ups, bicycle crunches, flutter kicks, etc… and back exercises like super-mans and back extensions will greatly improve your core strength.

Main Muscles to Strengthen

In recap, snowboarding’s three most common “weak” muscles are the Tibialis Anterior (shin), Hamstrings and Lower Abdominals. However, any lower body and core exercises will benefit you. I want to reiterate the importance of stretching as well, specifically your calves, quadriceps, and hip flexors. Strengthening your weakened muscles and stretching your dominant muscles will make snowboarding that much easier to pick up. When it comes down to it… the stronger and more in shape you are before you go snowboarding, the better! Snowboarding recruits several of our main muscle groups. It’s one heck of a workout and it’s SO MUCH FUN! When’s your next snowboarding trip?!

Need help with a training plan? Click HERE.

Until next time…

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I'm a 26 year old NASM certified personal trainer with a corrective exercise specialization! My love for fitness and nutrition blossomed several years ago. It has changed my life. Now it's my mission to help and encourage all of you through my blog as well! Feel free to contact me!

2 Comments

  1. David

    January 29, 2018 at 11:59 am

    Excellent post. Really good advice for many athletic activities…..thanks for all the great ideas!

    • Chinups_and_Cupcakes

      January 29, 2018 at 12:26 pm

      Thanks! My pleasure 🙂

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