Snowboarding

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Q: How does conditioning for skiing and snowboarding differ?

How is weight training for snowboarding different from weight training for skiing? Anne Davis Boulder, Colorado

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A: You train for skiing with lots of squats. You train for snowboarding by bugging your Mom for more SoBe. (Does joking about snowboarders make me sound old? Because I am.)

Anyways, the key difference between the two sports is the lateral (side-to-side) shifting on skis and the sagittal (front-to-back) shifting on snowboards. Both require a strong core and quad-hip complex, so squatting and lunging reps will help for either sport.

But to get the snowboarding experience in the gym, start by thinking of lifts that emphasize fore-aft motions. The stiff-legged dead lift is good, especially if you keep your lower back stiff, start with no bar, move up to an empty bar, and build the weight slowly from there. A word of advice: Be sure to stretch your hamstrings first and avoid it entirely if you have a bad lower back. The Roman chair (reverse crunch) is another good exercise, though aim to come up short at the top of the movement, rather than risk getting near or past 180 degrees and hyperextending (i.e., compressing) your lower back.

Holding a boat pose will also help build hip control: For this, sit upright on the floor, lift your legs, extend your arms forward, and lean back to let your body form a V, all while keeping your lower back rigid. Calf presses will help build your forward-leaning strength.

Also, don't forget plyometrics. Paste a tape line on a carpeted floor, stand with your toes facing it, and, using both legs, do forward and back hops, five to a set, three sets. You can also train for snowboarding standing on Bongo and other balance boards.

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