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4 Equipment-Free Snowboarding Leg Exercises

Stay in top shape anytime, anywhere.

By

Pilates
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Snowboarding uses a lot of muscles that don't get used in normal day-to-day life. That's why you have such sore muscles after your first day on the hill after a long break. The main muscles that get worked while riding are the glutes, quads, calfs, and anterior tibialis. If you strengthen these muscles, you'll have more control, more stamina, and will generally have a more enjoyable experience on the hill.

You also won't feel like you got hit by a truck when you wake up in the morning after your first day of riding in the season.

Most people don't have gym memberships, and those who do aren't always able to go. A lack of facilities, though, should never be an excuse not to exercise. Here are four exercises that you can do pretty much anywhere to build strength and stamina in your legs that will translate directly into improved performance on the hill.

1. Deep Squat Jumps

Most of your time on a snowboard is spent with you knees bent. This puts a lot of stress on your quads (front thigh muscles) and glutes (butt muscles). Deep squat jumps will help you to strengthen them so you can snowboard longer more comfortably.

How to do them:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Keeping your back straight, bend your knees lowering your butt toward the ground.
  3. Reach toward the ground between your feet with your hands.
  4. Lower yourself until your palms touch the ground.
  5. From this crouching position, jump straight up while thrusting your hands straight up into the air over your head.
  6. Land and repeat.

2. Box Jumps

Box jumps are similar to squat jumps, but they use a different range of motion and focus more on the explosiveness of the jump, which is good training for taking and landing jumps on a snowboard. This exercise is commonly used in plyometric workout routines.

This one doesn't require equipment per se, but does require a raised surface of some kind. The surface should be anywhere from 12 - 48 inches high. The higher the surface, the better the workout. This can be done on a step, bench, sofa, or, obviously, a box. I included this as a no-equipment exercise since a raised surface can be found just about anywhere.

How to do them:

  1. Stand 12 to 24 inches in front of your raised surface with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and arms at your sides.
  2. Crouch down as far as feels natural while swinging your arms backwards.
  3. Explode upward to jump up onto the raised surface. Swing your arms upwards while jumping to increase your momentum.
  4. Land on the box with both feet at the same time. Pause a moment. Jump backwards off of it and land with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
  5. Repeat.

3. Calf Raises

Your calves take a real beating on the hill. Every time you have to carve on your toe edge you're working your calfs. When you have to traverse a long slope on your toe edge they can really start burning. This exercise will help to prepare you for that.

How to do them:

  1. Stand flat on the ground with your feet shoulder width apart. If necessary, you can place your hands on a wall for balance.
  2. Keeping your legs straight, lift your heels off the ground while keeping the balls of your feet on the floor.
  3. Lift your heels as high as you can, pause a moment, and then lower them again.

4. Toe Raises

Your anterior tibialis (the muscle on the front of your shinbone) is one of the muscles that people rarely exercise, but that is also very important for snowboarding. This muscle is essential for carving on your heel edge, and can often become exhausted when traversing long slopes that way. This exercise will help you prepare you for those situations.

How to do them:

  1. Stand with your back against a wall, your arms at your side, and your feet flat on the floor a few inches away from the wall.
  2. Lift your toes and the balls of your feet off the ground so that you're standing on your heels.
  3. Lift as high as you can, hold a moment, and then lower them back to the floor.
  4. Repeat.

How Many Should I Do?

Each exercise will vary from person to person. Generally speaking, you want to push yourself to do each exercise until it's nearly impossible to continue. If you feel your muscles burning, that means tiny tears are occurring in the muscle tissue. Those tears stimulate new muscle growth, which leads to improved performance.

I like to push myself to the point of burning by doing intervals. Intervals are exercise 'sprints' that quickly exhaust the muscles. To do an interval, choose an exercise and do it as fast as you can for thirty seconds. Then take a break for one minute and repeat. Complete three sets like that. If 30 seconds isn't enough to make your muscles burn, then try 40- or 50-second intervals. I can pretty much guarantee that you're not going to be able to go any longer than that before your muscles are on fire!

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