The lifts haven’t hummed yet but you’re dreaming of your first snowboarding run of the season. Even if you’ve stayed fit throughout the year, you’ll want to get your body ready to ride longer and better. Snowboarding requires strong legs and ankles for steering, body rotation for turns and a balanced stance to keep you upright as you ride over bumps or uneven terrain.
The exercises in this plan focus on increasing power, endurance and balance so you have more control over your board to help you avoid common wrist and shoulder injuries as a result of falling.
Here’s a quick, general overview of how to train for snowboarding:
- Prep your body for movement. Start with mobility exercises to extend your range of motion.
- Build muscle power. Get stronger by working on lower body muscles you use most when snowboarding: glutes, quads, hamstrings, thighs and calves.
- Increase stamina. Tired legs and sore muscles make for sloppy riding. Build up your endurance so you can ride first lift to last.
- Work on balance. Balance is key to good riding because you spend so much of your time keeping your body stacked over your board.
- Get your heart rate up. Do cardiovascular workouts such as running, biking, swimming or other activities.
Before beginning any training plan, check in with your doctor or certified training professional.
Training Schedule for Snowboarding
Start training about six to eight weeks before you plan to snowboard. This will give you enough time to notice the benefits. Do these exercises two to three times a week.
In addition, you’ll want to alternate exercise days with cardio workouts. Increasing your heart rate and working your lungs will boost your overall fitness level. Pick a cardio activity that you enjoy doing, whether it’s running, biking or swimming. Aim for 30 minutes of cardio activity about two to three times a week.
Training Exercises for Snowboarding
Keep the following in mind as you train:
- Make these exercises fit your body, not the other way around.
- Don’t progress too fast too soon. You’ll want to build up your muscles over time, gradually adding resistance or repetitions.
- Train at a higher intensity level than you would be doing while engaging in your sport.
Before you begin these exercises, warm up with five to 10 minutes of easy cardio activity. This could be a short session on a treadmill or stationary bike, a quick jog or jumping jacks.
Here are a few guidelines for all exercises:
- Inhale during initial exertion, then exhale as you return to the starting position. Breathe normally during faster exercises.
- Be sure to rest for 60 to 90 seconds at the end of each exercise (unless otherwise noted). As you progress and want more of a challenge, you can rest for 30 to 45 seconds between each exercise.
- Complete all eight exercises, then take a break for two minutes. Repeat the full set one or two more times.
Hip Roll Exercise
Hip strength plays an important role in knee control. By strengthening the muscles of your hip, which include the glutes, this exercise aims to reduce the likelihood of knee pain.
Prop: Chair, if needed for balance.
- Stand on your left leg.
- Lean your body forward at your hips, keeping back straight, and lift your right leg back behind you, slightly off the ground.
- Rotate (roll) your hip away from your standing foot.
- Keep your body in a straight plane as you roll your hips back.
- Repeat 10-15 times on each side.
Tips and modifications: If it’s too hard to balance, hold on to the back of a chair or keep your toes on the ground.
Walking Lunge with Rotation Exercise
This exercise warms up your glutes, quads, hamstrings and abdominals. It preps your body to move in all directions.
- Stand with your feet slightly apart.
- Step one foot forward into a lunge. Your back knee should drop at a 90-degree angle to the ground. Your forward knee should also be at a 90-degree angle.
- As you step forward, rotate your body to the side in the direction of your lead knee. Have arms at chest height, slightly elevated from your sides.
- Drive up and through your forward leg to take the next lunge step. Your back knee should now be out front.
- Repeat 10 times each side for a total of 20.
Tips and modifications: If you don’t have enough space, you can stay in one spot and alternate your legs. Make it easier by keeping your back leg straight. Make sure that your knees do not go inward, and stay in a straight line with your foot and hip.
Squat Reverse Lunge Exercise
Snowboarding requires strong legs to stay balanced as you ride over moguls, hard surfaces and uneven terrain. The next two exercises get you into your riding stance and challenge your quads, glutes and hamstrings.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Squat like you’re sitting back into a chair.
- Stand up and step one leg back into a reverse lunge. Your knees should be at a 90-degree angle to the floor. Do not let your knees go inward; keep them in line with your feet.
- Return to the squat position and repeat on the other leg.
- Do 10 reps on each leg.
Tips and modifications: Avoid arching your back. To modify the exercise, you can touch your foot back rather than going all the way into a deep lunge.
Lateral Ski Jump Exercise
This power exercises works your quads, glutes and hamstrings.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent, balancing on one leg.
- Jump to the side, landing on the other leg. Think about landing softly with your knee slightly bent.
- Then jump to the other side, landing on the other leg.
- Swing your arms sideways across your body like a speed skater.
- Repeat 15 on each side for a total of 30.
Tips and modifications: If you find this exercise too challenging, make smaller jumps to the side, move slower or touch your toe to the ground rather than keeping it off the floor.
Plank Hold with Leg Movements Exercise
A strong core is as important as strong legs when it comes to balancing on a board and improving your stability. Build core and upper body strength, which you’ll put to the test when you fall and need to get up.
- Begin in a push-up position.
- Keeping your core stable, bring your knee to chest (flexion), then straight back (extension), and straight out to the side (abduction), all with the toe pointing down toward the ground. Don’t let your hips rotate or shift side to side.
- Switch legs and perform the same movements on the other side.
- Continue to alternate legs and perform for 30-60 seconds.
Tips and modifications: You can modify your plank using your hands and knees (easier) or forearms and toes (harder).
Squat with Heel/Toe Raise Exercise
This exercise strengthens your calves, shins and ankles, which you’ll use to get on your toeside and heelside edges.
- Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and then squat down like you are going to sit into a chair. Your thighs should aim to be parallel with the ground. Try to keep your back straight and look forward.
- Lift both heels off the ground at the same time and then lower them.
- Then lift both toes up at the same time and lower them.
- Alternate between heel and toe raises.
- Repeat 15 times (each heels-up to toes-up is one repetition).
Tips and modifications: To make this easier, do not squat down as low. Put your arms out in front of you if you find it hard to keep your balance.
This exercise improves your trunk rotation by targeting your core and obliques (the sides of your abdominals). You’re using power and strength from your glutes, quads and calves as you work with the resistance band.
Prop: Resistance band
- Use a resistance band that you can secure at about ankle height.
- Stand sideways to where the band is anchored, position yourself so that when you grab the end of the band with both hands, there is tension in the band.
- Rotate your torso upward to the right, pulling the end of the band at an upward angle across the front of your torso; let your feet pivot until you are facing in the opposite direction with your arms straight in front of your body. Straighten the leg closest to where the band is anchored while pushing up onto the toe of that foot.
- Return to the starting position while maintaining an even tension in the band.
- Through this entire motion, your core muscles should be powering the movement; your shoulders should stay square and your hips should remain aligned; your elbow and wrists should also remain as straight as possible.
- Do this 20 times; then do the same on the opposite side for 20 more reps.
Tips and modifications: Adjust band resistance level by shortening it to increase resistance or lengthening it to ease the resistance. (Close more of it in the door to shorten it; close less of it in the door to lengthen it.) Your goal is to feel fatigued at the end of your reps, but not so fatigued that you struggle to finish them.
Hip Clock Exercise
Practice stability to improve your overall ability to ride on hard surfaces, through deep powder or over bumps. This exercise works your glutes and hamstrings.
- Stand with your weight balanced on your left leg and that knee slightly bent.
- Keep your back straight and weight centered over the standing knee.
- Imagine that you’re at the center of a clock. Lift and extend your right leg, reaching forward toward 12 o’clock.
- Bring your leg back to the center.
- Repeat the movements toward the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions. As you reach for each position, stay balanced over the standing leg and don’t let your hips shift side to side.
- Do 5 to 8 sets on each leg.
Tips and modifications: Keep your hips level and push into the ground with your standing foot for balance. Make smaller leg movements if you feel off balance.
Improving your snowboarding technique is another key way to prevent injuries, ride more efficiently and avoid tired legs. Read more about proper riding techniques in these articles.