5 Must-Do Exercises for Beginner Snowboarders

By Tamara Hinson Feb. 07, 2020
(Credit: Merkushev Vasiliy/Shutterstock)

So you’ve picked your ski resort, booked the hotel and splurged on the latest kit. But what about your fitness regime? Extra stress on certain bones and muscles can lead to sprains, ligament tears and fractures, which is why we’ve come to the rescue with five exercises to help you get in shape for your snowboarding vacation.

Tricep dips

When you’re learning to snowboard, you’ll inevitably spend more time sitting down, whether it’s to take a break or because you’ve fallen over. Having your feet strapped to a board means you’ll rely on your arms to push yourself back into a standing position, making tricep dips particularly beneficial. However, you don’t have to be a beginner to benefit, because tricep dips also strengthen the core, and a strong core aids stability, making this exercise ideal for all skill levels. 

Jumps

Whether it’s star jumps or skipping jumps, getting airborne is a great way to improve your balance, as well as your strength and coordination. “It’s important to include balance and coordination in your workouts – it’s no good getting strong without being balanced,” advised BBC Ski Sunday presenter and former Olympic skier Graham Bell, who recommends an exercise he refers to as the Super G jump. “Try leaping from one leg to the other in a diagonal direction and landing balanced but with one leg bent to 90 degrees.”

High lunge yoga pose

Now for something a little gentler. Former pro snowboarder Ed Leigh swears by his pre-winter yoga sessions. “Yoga works every part of the body so you’re physically strong, but it also strengthens the muscles, so if you crash, your body will bend, not break,” explained Leigh. One particularly suitable pose is the high lunge, which involves stepping forward with your right leg, keeping the left leg fully extended, then holding this position for around 30 seconds, before switching legs. This particular move stretches the groin and legs while strengthening the spine and lower body – all areas which are particularly vulnerable to injury on the slopes. 

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These exercises can help you become a better snowboarder (Credit: AerialVision_it/Shutterstock)

Planks

We’ve already talked about the importance of core strength, and planks (which are similar to press-ups but involve supporting the body with arms bent at the elbows) are hard to beat when it comes to this particular area. A strong core also aids flexibility – especially important if you’re a freestyle snowboarder who loves busting out a trick or two. Our top tip? When performing a plank, remember to keep an eye on your posture – whether you’re a total novice or a planking pro, it’s easy to slip into bad habits. Ensure your body forms a straight line from your heels to your head, and make sure your elbows are directly beneath your shoulders.

Squats

Squats are great for strengthening the legs, and can be tweaked to give certain areas, such as the arms, an additional workout. They’re also easy to perform – from a standing position, with your feet wide, you’ll simply lower your body into a sitting position, as if there’s an invisible chair behind you. “With skiing and snowboarding, the muscles under the most strain are the thighs, knees and abdominals,” pointed out Olivier Buloz, director of the Ecole Française de Ski (ESF) ski school in the French resort of Les Carroz. “And for targeted muscle building, nothing beats squats. You can also do jumping squats, raising your arms in the air as you jump, to increase the heart rate and to improve the cardiovascular system.”

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