Whether you’re new to snowboarding or a seasoned pro, working on your fitness off the slopes is essential to being able to ride safely and enjoyably. Snowboarding requires strength, endurance, flexibility, agility, balance, and a number of other skills you can hone at the gym before you head out to play in the snow. Make sure you give these five exercises a try, and understand why they’re ideal for snowboarders.

PHOTO CREDIT: Mammoth Mountain Ski Area

PHOTO CREDIT: Mammoth Mountain Ski Area

1. Barbell Back Squats

Squats_1

Why?

Though we covered squat variations in workout designed for skiers here and here, squats are universally valuable. With respect to building strength, power, and improving athletic performance, squats are as good as it gets. To squat properly, you need and will develop flexibility and strength in your ankles, hips, and hamstrings as well as cardiac capacity, core strength, quad strength, glute strength, and good posture. Plus, squats are one of the most practical and functional movements you’ll try.

How?

Start your routine with bodyweight squats or with an empty barbell to warm up. When you’re ready, position the barbell in the rack so it’s at collarbone height or lower. Position yourself so the barbell rests on your trapezius muscles. Stand up to un-rack the weight and take a step or two back away from the rack. Position your feet at a comfortable width, ideally hip or shoulder width, and turn your toes slightly outward. Take a deep breath in, which should become your cue to tighten up your back and core.

Look straight ahead, and keeping your weight in your heels and mid-foot, initiate the squat by pushing your hips back. Squat down until your hip crease passes below your knee, then stand up, breathing out. Try keeping your shins as vertical as possible and pushing your knees out so your knees track in line with your toes for the entire movement.

Though you’ll get the biggest benefit out of a full range of motion (below parallel) squat, use a range of motion that’s safe for you, especially if you have knee, hip, back, or overall flexibility issues. Click here for a video and more information.

Suggested rep scheme:

Work up to three sets of five reps at a challenging weight.

2. Banded Hip Circle Walks

Banded Walk_2

Why?

Snowboarding requires hip flexor and glute strength and endurance as well as knowing how to activate different muscles in your legs. Banded hip circle walks are a great way to get your legs warmed up if you’re about to lift, and overall, a great hip and glute activation exercise. There’s minimal equipment required and the exercise will teach you how to make sure you’ve got your hips and glutes turned on while you’re moving.

How?

Take a small resistance band like this, step into it, and position it right above your knees. Once you’re in position, take large, slow steps forward. When you step forward, bring your back foot across your midline, and then step out wide when you plant your foot. Be sure to keep pushing your knees out as you step forward. Even things out with a step using the other foot. You can also step side to side and backwards. You’ll feel the burn, trust me. Click here for a video.

Suggested rep scheme:

Ten steps forward, to the right, backward, and to the left. Rest 30 seconds. Repeat cycle four times. Can be used as a warmup exercise.

3. Squat Jumps (Weighted Optional)

Weighted Jump Squats_1

Why?

Barbell back squats can help you gain strength, flexibility, and muscular endurance, jump squats can help you do the same with an additional cardiovascular benefit. Squat jumps also improve explosive power, particularly with respect to hip extension. If you’re into trying tricks on your board, trying to get from point a to point b on a flat slope, or with any movement that requires you to turn your snowboard quickly, this is an exercise you’ll want to try.

How?

Focus on all of the same mechanics on a squat jumps as you will on a barbell back squat. Keep your feet hip width apart and toes turned slightly out. Your weight should be distributed over your heels and midfoot. Lower down as if you’re about to sit in a chair, and as soon as your hip crease passes below your knee, explode and jump as high as you can. When your feet hit the ground, pause and make sure you’re in the right position before you start your next rep, or rep them out as fast and explosively as you can. Keep your eyes up and your chest up at all times. Try using dumbbells, a barbell, or a weight vest for squat jumps, if you want to up your game, or stick with bodyweight jump squats instead.

Suggested rep scheme:

Four sets of ten reps if weighted, four sets of 20 reps if unweighted, 60 seconds rest in between each set. They can also be done Tabata-style (20 seconds of squat jumps, 10 seconds rest, eight rounds for a total of four minutes of work).

4. Ring Push-Ups

Ring Pushup_1

Ring Pushup_2

Why?

Though snowboarding primarily uses your lower body, we can’t forget the importance of core and upper body strength. When it comes to balance, and getting up on the off chance you take a spill, a solid upper body will make everything easier. Pushups are great for developing shoulder, chest, and tricep strength, but adding rings to the picture taxes your abs and the stabilizing muscles required for balance in an entirely new way.

How?

Set up gymnastics rings so they’re shoulder width apart. Get into the top of a pushup position with your hands directly underneath your shoulders, gripping the rings so your palms face inward. Get into a solid plank, pulling, lower down until your biceps touch the rings, then push back up. Click here for a video. The smaller the difference between the height of the rings and your feet, the harder they’ll be.

Suggested rep scheme:

Four sets of 10-15 reps with 60 seconds rest in between sets.

5. Seated Plate Twists

Plate Twists_1

Why?

With the amount of twisting, turning, and core strength snowboarding requires, any exercise that focuses on abdominal strength and endurance is a great addition to a snowboarding fitness program. You can also do this exercise just about anywhere depending on the equipment available.

How?

Lay down on the floor, then lift your legs and bend your knees so your hips and knees are at a 45-degree angle and your feet are off the floor. Try not to cross your legs. Sit halfway up. With a plate in your hand, rotate your upper body to the right and touch the floor with the plate. Bring the plate and your upper body back to the center, and repeat on the right side for one complete repetition. Don’t have a plate? Use a medicine ball or dumbbell instead. Click here for a video.

Suggested rep scheme:

Three sets of 30 repetitions with 60 seconds rest in between sets. Remember, you have to twist to both sides to complete one repetition.

Of course, all material in this article is for informational use only. It’s always a good idea to perform weightlifting movements with a partner and/or spotter. Any exercise you read about on this site are to be attempted at your own risk. Enjoy and have a great season!

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  • cmc

    Only a few weeks before I head out West to get the good freshies so this article couldnt have come out at a better time. Cant ride the pow unless you’re in shape!

    • Awesome! Stoked to hear how the exercises go for you.