Fit to snowboard (applies to skiers too!)

22nd December 2009, by Chris Gill

You could try trampolining like Zoe Gillings ...   [(c) Z Gillings media photos]

You could try trampolining like Zoe Gillings ... [(c) Z Gillings media photos]

Preparing to go snowboarding? You don’t need to be as fit as an Olympic athlete to have an enjoyable holiday – but some training helps.

We bring you a few tips from Liz Sinton, the strength and conditioning coach behind Britain’s number one snowboarder, Zoe Gillings – in association with a campaign by Science: [So what? So everything]

Many snowboarders may prepare for their holiday by focusing on legwork. But according to Liz, hip & trunk stability are just as important for long days on the snow:

‘A key part of avoiding injury and maximising performance is ensuring the less dominant areas, such as glutes and hamstrings, are also conditioned & ready. Zoe has done a lot of strength and stability work so she is strong enough to control landings off kickers and other demands of the sport with ease.’

When a snowboarder takes a tumble every part of the body is at risk, so building stability on all joints will minimise the chances of injury.
When landing, the main areas at risk are the knees and back. Good hip stability and eccentric strength can control and soften the landings.

While the average holiday boarder is unlikely to devote as much time to training as Zoe does, here are a few key exercises that done regularly should have you in top form on the slopes:

Before you go

  • Hip function: work the hip extension with single leg or simple bridging movement. For example, lie on your back, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Contract the abdominals and glutes then raise your hips so that your feet and shoulders stay in touch with the floor. Most of your weight should be pushing through your heels. Repeat three sets x 20 reps.
  • Leg conditioning: working the quads with squat and mat jump work. Jump on a soft crash mat, working up to three sets x 60 reps non-stop. Hamstrings – leg kicks, swiss ball curls and arabesques.
  • Cardiovascular conditioning: try a rower, cross trainer or spin bike (mixing up intervals with endurance steady state efforts within your week).
  • Sessions focusing on body strength work

When you’re there

The training shouldn’t stop as soon as you arrive in resort. It is very important to warm-up the whole body before you start. Start with 10-20 minutes of cardio efforts (walk, jog, bike). OK hiking up the steps to the lift can count too but …

  • Do some squats, lunges and jumps to get the blood flowing and improve dynamic flexibility.
  • As you get warmer, you can increase your range of motion further and focus on specific areas of the body.
  • A few gentle stretches afterwards will help too.

With thanks to: Science: [So what? So everything]



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