When it comes to being the best snowboarder that you can possibly be, it’s going to call for a lot of hard work. When you see those amazing competitors at the Olympics and the X-Games, you already know that they’ve put a lot of hard work into their snowboarding fitness – but just how much work is needed?
Your physique is going to have a direct impact on how well you’re able to snowboard.
Now, you don’t have to be an Olympic-level athlete but it’s always going to be in your best interest to be physically fit for snowboarding. Anything you do is going to be more enjoyable when you’re in great shape, especially a physically demanding sport like snowboarding. That’s why if snowboarding is going to be a part of your lifestyle then so should fitness!
The 3 Simple Things You Need to Maintain Your Snowboarding Fitness Season After Season
As someone in their early 30’s who has been snowboarding since I was 12, my body has developed through early adolescence into adulthood while snowboarding. I have personal experience with how the body changes over time. Endurance, flexibility and recovery alter as you age.
This guide outlines 3 areas of snowboarding fitness that you can use to ensure you maximize your potential every time you ride.
Regardless if you’re an indestructible teen spending all your time in the terrain park or a later-aged shredder-dad taking your family on a snowboarding vacation. You’ll get the info you need to stay in shape and maintain your snowboarding ability.
The 3 areas of general snowboarding fitness are:
- Workout Exercises
- Diet and Nutrition
- Injury Prevention
If you understand these three areas and incorporate what you’re about to learn into your lifestyle, I guarantee you’ll experience improvement and progression in your snowboarding.
Snowboarding Workout Exercises
If you want to train like a life-long snowboarder, the first step is to commit to a fitness regiment in your lifestyle that utilizes workouts and exercise routines that will benefit your snowboarding.
Snowboarding is a full body sport. Sure, you use a lot of muscles in your legs. But you’re ability to steer and initiate turns comes from your shoulders. Not to mention, strengthening your core is key to balance and stability. Having a strong body and mind will help you develop your snowboarding progression faster and ensure your ability has longevity.
Muscles Used in Snowboarding
The muscles used in snowboarding can be grouped as legs, core and upper body.
There’s two ways you can develop exercise routines. You can focus on one of these muscle groups per workout and then alternate through each for every workout.
Or, combine movements from each muscle group into every workout you perform.
Using techniques such as the squat and lunge will allow you to build strength in your legs with ease. You can perform these types of workouts comfortably inside your home. You can perform them with or without weights.
Using different variations of the squat and lunge is a great way to add variety to your workouts, as a jumping lunge or weighted squat will help increase the workload of your exercises. These types of movements will help strengthen your calves, hamstrings and glutes. All these muscle groups in your legs are vital to your snowboarding.
You can use exercises such as the plank, hollow holds and superman holds to increase your core strength. Your core strength is going to allow you to contort your body easier both on snow and in the air. Developing your core also helps with balance which comes in handy when you move into preforming tricks in the terrain park.
Another great core exercise is the side plank, which will work out your obliques. By developing your side abs you’ll become more stable on your board and rotate more smoothly through turns.
Despite snowboarding being predominantly a lower body sport, the upper body should not be neglected. Most snowboard injuries are on the upper body, so the stronger your arms and shoulders the less likely you are to get injured.
Additionally, upper body movements require pillar strength, which refers to bracing your core to support your spine as you push and pull.
I recommend push-ups, (either the standard or diamond variation) to workout you triceps, shoulders and chest.
Performing unilateral (single-arm) exercises, like one arm dumbbell rows, further enhances the anti-rotational ability of your core. This will help build stronger obliques that will help you with your snowboard steering and rotations in the air.
Chair dips are great for triceps and biceps when you haven’t got weights to use, as you’ll use your body weight to replace the dumbbells. Almost any upper body workout that you come across is going to help you become a better snowboarder.
Snowboarding Fitness Diets
Your diet is going to play a role in how nourished you feel physically. This will translate into results on the snow.
If you’re serious about becoming the best snowboarder that you can be, you’ll want to pay attention to what you’re consuming.
You should aim to consume 400-900 carbohydrate-focused calories before hitting the slopes. Foods like bananas, low-sugar cereals such as Special K, energy bars like Powerbar or Clif bar, sourdough toast, berries and low-fat yogurt are all good.
You’ll also want to include a small amount of protein into your pre-slope meal. Things like egg, dairy, nuts/nut butter or lean meat will do the trick.
Hydration is Important for Snowboarding Fitness
It’s good practise to make sure you are hydrated before, during and after snowboarding. You don’t want to wait until you feel thirsty to start drinking fluids.
Keep in mind that the winter chill can alter your thirst sensation. Becoming dehydrated can actually affect your snowboarding performance as well as increase the risk of frostbite.
This is why fluids, especially water, are just as important in cold weather as in hot weather. Water is the best to drink, but milk, fruit juice or sports drinks can make for substitutes.
Injury Prevention Tips for Snowboarding
The best way to prevent injuries while snowboarding is to do warm up stretches and rotations. You can do them at the bottom of the slopes before you get on a chairlift or gondola.
Obviously you’ll want to stretch your legs, knees and hips. But since most injuries in snowboarding occur in the upper body, it’s also important to stretch your arms, shoulders and wrists. The idea here is to get your blood flowing so a light warm up where you twist and stretch is going to keep you nimble as your muscles compress and extend while snowboarding.
I go more in-depth about injury prevention tips here in this article.
Make sure you wear your protective gear, such as a helmet, as it will help prevent serious injuries as well. I have whole guides for men’s snowboard helmets and women’s snowboard helmets that you can read.
If you keep in mind these three area of snowboarding fitness (workouts, diet and injury preventing stretches) you’ll notice a performance improvement in your snowboarding. I also guarantee you’ll have more fun too!