Good balance is essential to improving your snowboarding skills and preventing injuries on the mountain. These simple balancing exercises can be performed daily to maintain your balance in the off-season and improve your turns, jumps, landings, and slides when snow is on the ground.
One-Leg Balance Exercise
Stand with a wall or training partner within arm’s reach and your feet close together. Raise one foot off the ground and hold the position as long as possible (close your eyes for added difficulty). Switch your legs and hold the same position on the opposite leg as long as you can. Repeat this exercise four times on each leg.
Bosu Ball Exercises
Perform your usual leg, core, and upper body snowboard workouts using a Bosu Ball. The Bosu Ball turns any typical exercise into a more difficult, balance-training workout. For instance, if you are performing one-leg lunges to strengthen your legs, rest your forward leg on the Bosu Ball and perform the very same lunge. The uneven surface of the ball forces you to balance much more than you normally would with the same exercise on flat land.
The Bosu Ball can be used with arm workouts as well -- if you’re performing bicep curls, simply place one foot on the Bosu Ball and try to maintain balance. The list of balancing exercises possible on the Bosu Ball is endless, so start incorporating one into your leg, upper-body, and core strength-training workouts today.
You may have performed leg swings as a stretching or warm-up exercise in the past, but when you remove the wall or person supporting you, they turn into a difficult balancing workout.
Simply stand on one leg with your other leg lifted a few inches off the ground. Keep your arms at your sides and swing the elevated leg back and forth. Keep your torso straight and try not to touch the ground with your swinging foot unless you need to. Try the same exercise with your opposite leg raised.
To mix up your leg swing exercises, try balancing on your right leg and raise your left leg a few inches into the air. Extend your right arm out to your side and swing your left leg to the left. Perform the same exercise with your left arm extended and your right leg swinging out the right.
One of the best forms of exercise to increase your balance in the off-season (or when you’re just off the mountain) is yoga. Yoga doesn’t just increase your flexibility, it helps in balance, stability and control as well. Sign up for yoga classes to learn from a professional or start out at home by following online instructionals.
Take a typical leg strength training exercise (squats) to the next level with this more difficult one-legged squat. Spread your feet shoulder-width apart, and lift one leg off the ground and straight out in front of your body. Lower your body as far toward the ground as you can while keeping your chest straight and your arms extended forward. Slowly extend back up to your starting position and switch legs.
Touch the heel of your lifted leg to the ground if you need help balancing throughout the exercise. Perform as many one-legged squats as possible -- most people can only perform a few, so don’t be discouraged.
Use a Balance Board
If there’s not a balance board at your local gym, and you’re serious about improving your balance as well as your riding, it’s not a bad idea to invest in one. Using a balance board for short intervals throughout the day will not only improve your balance, it’ll strengthen your legs, core and upper body too. Once you’ve mastered maintaining balance on your new balance board, you can advance to balancing on one foot, balancing with your eyes closed and a multitude of other drills.