How can I improve my balance for snowboarding?

How can I improve my balance for snowboarding?
—The Editors Santa Fe, New Mexico

One thing you can do is improve your muscle balance by training your legs with unilateral movements--exercises that work your legs individually, such as split squats, lateral lunges, single-leg squats, and single-leg Romanian deadlifts. This strengthens each leg individually, but it also improves the overall strength of your legs together to give you better stability and control on the board.

That’s more of a big-picture strategy for improving balance with your training, but don’t forget to pay attention also to the finer points of your movement. When you’re riding or training, think about keeping your big toe down. I know this may seem like an insignificant detail, but your big toe actually has a major impact on your balance and performance. You want your weight balanced over the middle of your foot’s arch. When your big toe is down and engaged with the floor, it helps maintain your arch, which keeps your body balanced. Aligning yourself properly at the feet also has a positive effect that extends all the way up your body, ultimately making it easier for you to stay balanced when you ride.

--Craig Friedman, Performance Specialist, Athletes’ Performance

More from Core Performance:
How to Fuel for the Slopes
Balance Your Body
The Big Muscle Stimulus Plan

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