We are in the heart of winter in Montana. Winter in Montana brings many opportunities to get outside and MOVE! Those opportunities may include cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, snowboarding, ice climbing, or snow shoeing. In one of our previous blog posts we discussed conditioning for skiing, let’s expand to the mobility and strength needed for snowboarding to keep you injury-free this season.
First, let’s discuss the mobility requirements of snowboarding. The snowboarding position is unique because both feet are fixed on the board and your body is positioned perpendicular to the slope (sideways) and your board is parallel. This position requires your hips to have good internal and external rotation because your feet are strapped to the board. It also requires you have adequate neck and upper back rotation to look down the mountain. For example, as right foot forward (goofy) rider, your right hip needs good internal rotation and left hip external rotation and adequate right neck/upper back rotation to look down the mountain. Good ankle dorsiflexion (ankle bending) is required to weight your board appropriately and turn using your edges. You must have good shoulder mobility reach back and push yourself up off the ground when you are strapping in or getting up from a fall. You also need good hip flexion and knee flexion to strap in and stand up from the ground, as well as good hamstring length.
In addition to flexibility, snowboarding requires strength in many areas of the body to ride faster, stronger, and safer. The legs are the most important area to focus on for strength. You want to be able to absorb shock with the legs and be able to weight shift from edge to edge making smooth turns. Snowboarding requires a large amount of core/trunk strength to move you forward and back from edge to edge. You also need strong core muscles to be able sit up from a fall and stand back up again. Ankle strength is crucial from riding on your toe edge to riding on your heel edge and creating those nice “S” curves down the mountain. Finally, snowboarding does require shoulder strength to push yourself back up after strapping in or push yourself up after falling.
The following video is a short program you can use to improve your mobility and strength for this snowboarding season. By developing the appropriate strength and flexibility, you will also decrease your risk of injury. I would recommend starting with 2 sets of 15 of each exercise and performing the program 2-3 times per week.
2. Lateral lunge with rotation
3. Posterior rotation lunge to anterior rotation lunge
4. Full Squat with 4-way ground taps
6. 3-way calf raises