Bodywork: Fitness for the Outside Athlete, November 1996
Don't be fooled by snowboarding's carefree image. It is a sport, and you should train for it. "When I first started boarding, my routine consisted of nothing more than lacing up my boots, and I paid for it," says Kevin Delaney, three-time world champion and founder of Delaney Adult Snowboarding Camps in Aspen. "There was many a Monday when I could hardly walk to school because my calves were so knotted from a weekend of riding."
Such painful fatigue is preventable if you focus preseason attention on the body parts that snowboarding stresses: feet, ankles, and calves. "Your feet absorb vibrations from riding over 'chatter,' " Delaney says. In addition, your ankles must constantly shift your weight from the board's nose to its tail and back, your shin muscles must work to get your board up on a heel-side turn, and your calf muscles strain to raise your edge on a toe-side turn. "If you don't develop those muscles," Delaney concludes, "you'll have less control on the slopes and a lot more pain off the slopes."
To develop the pertinent muscles, Delaney says, institute a regular routine of stretching followed by a regimen of four simple--if absurd-looking--variations of contorted walking. (Remember Monty Python's "Ministry of Silly Walks"?) Do the walks every day during the preseason, working up to three to five minutes per exercise. Once the season starts, Delaney says, you can drop the strength-training paces, but continue to stretch daily. These exercises are best undertaken barefoot on dry grass or low-pile carpet.
Filed To: Snow Sports