Check out the best snowboard training tips for staying fit and agile at home. Get prepped for the Winter in the best way!
We don’t need to tell you to stay fit; you’re probably bouncing off your chair daily to keep moving and active. But regular fitness isn’t enough. Notice that the first few days are challenging whenever you return to the mountains. Muscles that we completely neglect during summer will make you feel sorer than ever. Injuries are not uncommon in the first few days, so preparation for the season is key. Not just getting your new snowboarding jacket or snowboarding pants, which is important too, but actually prepping you for the slopes.
Guess what? We’re going to help you with just that! We’ll discuss some specific focus points essential for snowboarding and give you tips, tricks and some go-to snowboarding exercises for training during the offseason. It should be no surprise that snowboard training at home differs slightly from regular fitness training, making it fun and challenging. So let’s get started!
We defined six focus points to make the most of your snowboard training: strength, explosivity, balance, flexibility, muscle memory, and mental training.
We’ll dive deeper into why they are important and give you some tips and tricks that are specifically designed for each focus point. Instead of explaining every exercise piece by piece, we’ll give you a broad overview of what to look for. So you can create your routine based of snowboarding exercises on the things you want to work on. Some might require extra equipment, but we’ll always mention easy ones without any. So there is no excuse for you not to try!
The stronger your muscles, the better, especially your legs and core.
The first one you should include is strength training. The stronger your muscles, the better, especially your legs and core, are important to work on. You’re building your foundation so to say. You don’t want your muscles to get tired too quickly when you're riding the whole day. So you need your muscles to be strong to keep you going. Remember, snowboarding is like a non-stop squat; you'll feel the burn if you haven’t squatted in a while.
Luckily it’s easy to get started with strength training. Most snowboarding exercises can be done without any equipment. It’s more comfortable with a mat, but no stress if you don’t have one. Also, weights might be a good idea to add to your routine. But yet again, no stress; you can get the heaviest workouts by just using your body weight as resistance.
Each exercise's most important aspect is targeting a specific muscle group. Building strength in your legs will keep you going all day, while your core (and back) muscles will help you turn quicker and keep your body steady as you go down the steep slopes. We’ll not detail how to do these exercises; Google is your best friend here.
For the legs, start with squats, squats, and more squats. It also includes a lot of lunges, like forward lunges, reverse lunges, side lunges, and jumping lunges. Or any variation of both of these exercises. Include some short pulses, too and try to combine them with explosivity, so instead of just a normal squat, make it a jump squat or a jumping lunge.
For your core, think about V-sit ups, crunches, oblique twists (add extra weights), (side) plank, tap shoulders planks.
Other exercises that are great to add to your routine are push-ups – they also help to build your core and back muscles; calf raises – for those long traverses across the mountain; burpees (also very good for explosivity, as we’ll discuss later); mountain climbers.
Mark McMorris and his surfer girlfriend Coco Ho are focussing a lot on strength exercises. They give us an inside look at their driveway workout with a fun time-lapse. It's definitely worth checking out their Instagram accounts.
Try to find a workout buddy like Mark and Coco, this will motivate you to keep going, and you can help each other with the correct execution of the exercise. You can hurt yourself a lot if your technique is sloppy.
Cycling! It’s an excellent way to train your legs and get that cardio workout in simultaneously. So it’s a win-win!
Get your board higher up in the air!
Not only do you need strength to keep going, but also speed and explosiveness in your movements. Think about all those jumps, butters, small pops, and literally everything in the park; you need power to get your board in the air. A great way to practice this is with plyometric exercises, where you rapidly stretch your muscles. With explosive jumping and rebounding, you strengthen and tone your muscles and give them that extra power.
Like strength training, you barely need any equipment. But getting some extra weight to get the most out of your training can be useful. Especially weights that you can attach to your legs come in handy. Also, think about boxes, or any other surface you can jump on, and stairs.
It’s all about getting your heart rate up. Any High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) will do the trick. Find one that includes at least: jump squats, jumping lunges, box jumps, tuck jumps, and burpees. Any variation on these exercises works as long as you feel confident doing them.
Remember to rest in between sets. Getting that recovery time is important; you’re not jumping 20 times in a row on a rail, either.
As mentioned before, gymnastics! Besides the gym, gymnastics halls and/or trampoline parks are great places to go. A good example is Katie Ormerod, who does a lot of gymnastics training to practice her jumps and air awareness.
Keep your balance when riding uneven terrain!
Uneven terrain, trees, different snow layers, steepness, park features and jumps can all challenge your balance. And don’t forget other people riding the mountain! You have to be alert at all times. Falling on a snowboard isn’t uncommon, but we rather limit the number of times we end up on our butt. Or worse, on any other part that may cause an injury or break a bone.
Get yourself a (yoga) mat that is not slippery; even though you are training your balance, you don’t want to slip away. Also, find something with an unstable surface that could be a cushion you grabbed from the couch, or a balance board, Bosu ball or something similar.
Start simple, like standing on one leg or doing a single-leg hop forward. See if you can keep your balance. The next step would be to try it on an uneven surface. If this is still too easy, try it with your eyes closed. A great variation for this would be to do jumping lunges. Or can you think of other exercises to do?
For balance training, a personal favourite is the Bosu ball (also known as balance trainer). With the rubber dome facing up, you have an unstable surface to do all kinds of exercises, from lunges to crunches. With the other side up, you can simulate snowboarding movements. See if you can do your strength and plyometric exercises on the Bosu ball to get the best of both worlds!
A lot of stores sell balance boards in all shapes and sizes. They’re super fun and will challenge your balance for sure.
Yoga and pilates, of course! Good yoga practice includes a lot of balance and is especially combined with different types of movements.
Jamie Anderson is the queen of balance; she can take on any feature in the park and make it look effortless. She is very open about her yoga practice, so it is definitely worth looking into.
Prevent injuries by keeping your muscles flexible!
Why is flexibility not the same as balance training, you may ask? Well, you can be very good at jumping with your eyes closed; if you slip and have stiff muscles, chances are high, that you’ll tear a muscle. Being flexible means being able to bounce back. It also helps a ton if you want to add a grab to your jump. It looks very clumsy when you’re too stiff to reach down.
Same as the ones before. Find a good spot and a (yoga) mat, maybe some elastics, blocks and other props for those who are not that flexible… yet.
Most of this training will be around stretching. Especially the hamstrings, calves, core, and hips that we trained so hard need to be taken care of. Flexibility training and balance training can be easily combined in yoga practices. Many great stretching poses come from yoga, such as forward falls, down dogs, up dogs, triangle pose, child’s pose, happy baby and pigeon pose. Go through the yoga dictionary and find poses that you feel comfortable with.
With snowboarding, you’ll twist your body often while doing turns, spinning and other tricks. Try visualising a 180, 360 or even a shifty; how weirdly do you have to twist your body? It will help you a great deal if you get your twisting game on; think about poses like reclined twist, revolved triangle, revolved side angle, and half lord of the fishing pose (just take that one for the funky sound).
It’s easy to think these poses are static. But try not to do static stretches too much; go for more dynamic ones. Snowboarding isn’t static either, right? In yoga, find a vinyasa flow for example. Or try Gymnastico Natural, a new approach that is very popular in the surfing community. Or go for gymnastics, like our gal Katie Ormerod who flips, spins, twists, and tumbles around in her backyard.
Train your tricks before taking them to the mountain!
The more advanced you become, the weirder the tricks. From a 180s to a 360s, 720s, or even 1080s, frontside or backside, pretzels, lip slides, you name it, your body has to get used to these movements. Especially when you add grabs and flips to them as well, practising them upfront will help your muscles remember the movement, so you know what it feels like when you do them on the slopes. This is what they call muscle memory.
An open space to practice on, a pen and a piece of paper to write things down, and YouTube. If you want to go next level, find a trampoline, a training board (either your normal board, a trampoline/jib board, or a DIY skateboard turns training board), something that can mark a spot or line (to jump or jib on), but this could also be a balance bar or piece of wood. All set up? Alright, let’s get started!
First, you need to have a goal you’re working on. Let’s say you want to learn a backside 360 with a nose grab, and you’ve never done one before. There are many different parts to the trick, so break it down into smaller pieces and write it down somewhere so you can look at it again.
Find a YouTube video where someone does that trick (you probably have one in mind already cause this is most of the time where your inspiration comes from). And take a moment to observe the trick. What is the snowboarder doing with his arms, legs, head, and shoulders? Where is he looking at what time? Write that down.
Now take it to your practice. Start by mimicking the movements in slow-mo on flat ground (if possible) without your snowboard or training board. So for the 360, see if you can wind up your arms, look over your shoulder, twist your body, and jump a 180 to start with. Build your confidence up to a 360. Now practice the grab, first in slow motion to reach down to your nose. You’ll find that it’s only possible when you bend your front leg more and stretch out the back. So remember that when you take it to the mountain.
You can always level it up by strapping your snowboard or training board on flat ground or practising on a trampoline with or without a board.
For a lot of movements, you need momentum, of course, so they are a bit difficult to mimic statically. But you’ll see, even by practising where you look during the trick, it will help a lot with your spatial awareness. And more importantly, it will save you from many clumsy attempts on the mountain.
Make it more fun by practising your trick (or parts of it) with a similar type of sport like skateboarding, surfing, wakeboarding, or kitting. And, of course, watch a bunch of YouTube videos.
As mentioned, training or balance boards exist in different shapes and sizes. And while snowboard training is getting more and more advanced, some are specifically designed for snowboarding; hooray!
Snowboard Addiction, for example, has a snowboard training board and balance bar to simulate jumping and jibbing on a snowboard; it is so rad! Check out their Instagram account and YouTube channel to see Max Parrott and Katie Ormerod rocking the training set up. They also have lots of tutorials for jumping on a trampoline. And if you can’t afford one, there is always the option to make one yourself with a skateboard deck and a bit of duct tape. Easy does it.
Overcome fear and stay focused throughout the low season!
Snowboarding isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Unfortunately, snowboarders have to deal with a lot of setbacks, tricks that keep scaring the shit out of them, overcoming fear, injuries, and of course, a big part of the year without snowboarding. Being physically fit will help you move on your snowboard, and being mentally fit will help you achieve your goals. It’s just as important!
So, where do you begin? Let’s say you want to overcome your fear of doing a new trick. It helps to visualize the trick. Visualisation is a powerful tool professional athletes of all disciplines use to progress faster and prepare for their next game. If your imagination is not great, YouTube is your best friend. With all the GoPros these days, it’s full of videos from the snowboarder's POV (point of view). It’s almost as if you’re riding yourself.
Another great way to overcome a mental blockage is to break a trick into smaller pieces (like we’ve seen before when discussing muscle memory). If you’re confident doing smaller parts of the trick, the real trick no longer seems so bad. You know how to do the trick, right? And if you fall, then at least you can analyse what part went wrong.
The mind is a funny thing and works in a million different ways. Some snowboarders talk themselves into doing tricks; others have breathing exercises that help them calm down. It’s inspiring to see snowboarders recover from the heaviest injuries and flourish afterwards.
If anybody can tell you about setbacks and comebacks, it’s Max Parrott. His battle with cancer wasn’t a pretty one. After a long rehab, he got back on his board and back on top at the X-Games.
Mindfulness training! It might sound a bit woolly, but it’s super helpful in setting your mind in the right direction. Just give it a try.
We wanted to give you some guidelines to help you get started. Every person is different and has a different training setup with snowboarding exercises. That’s what makes your snowboarding style unique! So think about what works best for you.
Many focus points can be combined; one focus point per training doesn’t have to be one. On the contrary! Think about boxing, for example; it combines practices of strength, explosivity and balance. Or yoga, where balance, flexibility and mental training are perfectly aligned. Be creative, and don’t get bored with your routine cause that will make the offseason feel crazy long.
Whatever your routine is, training will help you prepare for the next winter season. You can finally work on small techniques and fine-tune them. You’ll see that it will motivate you when you work towards a goal! Make it fun, and you will see that time flies by. So have fun and enjoy what you do most, snowboarding!
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to head back to the mountains again and shred the hell out of it. Since we don’t know when that will be, the least we can do is be ready when we can.
Let us know how your snowboard training at home is going, your routine and snowboarding exercises, and what you are working on this low season. If you want to share any tips and tricks, please do @ridestore and #Dopesnow. Let’s keep the stoke high!
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