Snowboarding is an increasingly popular winter sport that offers full-body conditioning and burns an average of 700 calories per hour. While it may look simple on first glance, snowboarding requires muscle strength, endurance and coordination. The best exercises to prepare you for this sport incorporate strength training for your muscles as well as aerobic and balance training to help you maneuver yourself down the hill with less risk of falling or injury.
Snowboarding is primarily a lower-body exercise. The main muscles used are your hamstrings and quadriceps in your upper legs, which keep you in the squatting position throughout your ride. Strong core muscles are also necessary since they are constantly engaged to keep you balanced while strengthened hip and glute muscles help you to steer and carve the board more easily. The other muscles used in snowboarding are more than 100 small muscles in your ankles and feet that stabilize you as you board.
You will spend much of the time you spend snowboarding in an isometric or static squat position. Incorporating wall squats or sits into your workout will help prepare you for this. Squat against a wall and stay there for periods of 30 seconds. Gradually increase the squat time until you can squat for one minute. Perform this two to three times in your workout. Squats and lunges will also increase your lower-body strength. Include at least two to three squat and lunge exercises in your workout, performing two to three sets of each exercise.
Your core muscles, including your abdominal and lower back muscles, are crucial for snowboarding. These muscles are also engaged in a static or isometric contraction. Performing planks, which also involve a static stance, prepares your core for snowboarding. Begin by performing 30-second planks and work your way up to more than a minute. Include two to three sets of planks in your workout. You can also perform side planks, abdominal crunches and bicycle crunches to target all of your abdominal muscles.
Snowboarding is essentially a cardiovascular exercise that can be challenging to your cardiovascular system. You need endurance training to prepare your cardiorespiratory and neuromuscular systems for the task. Regular cardio workouts will improve your body’s ability to deliver oxygen to your muscles, allowing you to snowboard longer without getting tired. Perform longer, steady-state cardio sessions such as jogging or swimming to help your body for longer rides downhill as well as interval training such as short-burst sprints to improve the way your body will be able to handle the quick changes in pace and direction you may face as you ride.
Snowboarding is a balancing act because your body is constantly fighting to stay upright as you ride downhill. Performing balancing exercises on unstable surfaces will decrease the risk of falling while riding and sustaining injuries. Begin by practicing shifting your weight from leg to leg, balancing on one leg. As you advance, try standing on unstable surfaces, such as balance discs or wobble boards and performing slow squats, which mimic the movements you would use in snowboarding.
Andrea Chrysanthou began writing professionally in 1993. Her work has been published internationally by "The Cyprus Mail," MochaSofa and My Favorite Trainer, among other magazines and websites. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Arts in journalism from Ryerson University. Chrysanthou is a certified fitness instructor and personal-training specialist with more than 10 years of experience in the fitness industry.