Fit To Ride: Shaping Up For The Season

This article goes out to all you riders who’ve been asking, “How do I get ready for the snowboard season sothose first few days aren’t such a pain in the ass!” News flash: snowboarding is a physical activity. Thatmeans your muscles are required to work. If you want to prevent soreness, injury, and just plain be in shapeso you don’t run out of gas halfway through your day, you have to put in some time before you strap in. Wetalked to two of the people the United States Snowboard Team loves to hate-their trainers-to gain someinsight into getting a jump on the snow season. Andy Walsh, director of sports science, is the head trainer forall of USSA (snowboarding and skiing), and Ned Heitz, the snowboard team’s strength and conditioningcoach, is an exercise physiologist by trade. They gave us the basics so you can keep those muscles trainedduring the off season.

The Mechanics According to Andy, snowboarders should concentrate onstrengthening their leg muscles-including hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves-and their midsection, includingboth abdominal and back muscles. “Snowboarders tend to have one leg that’s stronger than the otherbecause of their stance,” he warns. “It’s important to exercise both legs independently to get them equallystrong.” Ned also points out significance of shoulder strength: “It’s important keep those muscles strong tohelp prevent injury.”

But Walsh mentions the aesthetic appeal of keeping your upper body in good shape:”So you don’t look like a freak” with huge legs and weak arms. The Routine Approximately two to threemonths before you hit the snow, you’ll want to start thinking about how to get those core muscle groups inshape. The two trainers suggest leg exercises like front squats, lunges (both lateral and frontal), andhamstring curls.

Recommended for your midsection are crunches, side sit-ups, leg lowering, and backextensions (the “Superman”). A shoulder routine should include rotator-cuff exercises such as front andlateral raises for your shoulders. No one expects you to work out as often as world-class athletes. For therecreational rider who’s serious about staying in shape, both trainers helped compile the following workout:Aerobic Frequency: Four to six days a week for 30 minutes. Exercise: This can include anything frombiking to hopping on the Stairmaster; all we’re asking is that you get your heart rate up. Quads And HamsFrequency: Three days a week, three to four sets of fifteen to twenty. Exercise: Front and lateral lungesand hamstring curls-done either by standing and bringing first one foot up to your butt then the other. Orusing a Swiss ball or a chair, lay on your back, put your feet up on the ball or chair to make a 90-degreeangle with your legs, point toes toward the ceiling, and raise up with your hips while pushing down with yourheels (see photos).

Upper Body Frequency: Three reps of fifteen, at least one lift and one resistance.Exercise: This includes lifting arms with weights either straight up from your sides or straight out in front untilyour hands are even with your shoulders. Reverse the motion and add resistance with using rubber tubing ora partner’s hands pushing lightly against your arms. Abdominals Frequency: Sorry kids, you need to gountil you’re fatigued on these, but for the first three weeks, limit yourself to three sets of fifteen to twentyreps.

Exercise: Crunches work your upper abs only, so be sure to also include side sit-ups for your lateralobliques and a bicycle-leg-pump movement or leg drop (see photos) for lower abs. Back Frequency: Alsogo until you’re fatigued. Exercise: We suggest doing the Superman exercise (lay on your stomach and liftyour arms and legs while keeping your stomach pressed against the floor), or reverse sit-ups using a Swissball (see photos). Stretching Frequency: After every workout. Exercise: Calf stretch: Stand facingagainst a wall about arms length away. Put your hands against the wall, and place one foot at a time behindyou, pusshing your heel to the floor. Hamstring: Sit on the floor with your legs outstretched and reach towardyour toes.

Quad: Standing, grasp your foot and pull it up behind you, reaching your heel to your butt.Abductor stretch: Similar to a side lunge, except you put your hands on the floor and stretch your inner thigh.Do it yourself Design your own workout to include activities you enjoy. Keep in mind the muscle groupsyou’re trying to work and why they’re important. Other activities to include in your cross training-along withany aerobic activities like hiking, biking, or running-are sports that utilize your snowboard stance. Try surfing,skateboarding, wakeboarding, or windsurfing to retain that muscle memory. Most importantly, have fun!