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Upper-Body Exercises for Snowboarders

Upper-body strength is an often neglected part of a snowboarders' training


Matt Gibson

After a long day of snowboarding, you may feel like your legs did most of the work -- especially when you feel all of the soreness in your calves, hamstrings, and other leg muscles you didn’t even know existed.

But you may feel a surprising soreness in your core and upper body too, and that’s because snowboarding is actually a full-body workout -- no matter what your legs are telling you.

To become a better snowboarder, whether your goal is to carve deeper turns or become a professional rider, it’s important to work out your legs, core, and upper body on and off the mountain. These upper body exercises will help improve your balance, muscle endurance, strength and flexibility, so you can focus on busting bigger airs and digging deeper turns.

Push Ups

Pushups are one of the most well-known and effective exercises out there. They require no equipment, can be done almost anywhere and will give you the upper body strength you need when riding (and sometimes falling).

Lay on the ground with your body straight, your hands placed palm-down near your shoulders (where they feel comfortable), and the balls of your feet on the ground. With your head looking straight down, and push your body up from ground until your elbows are nearly straight.

Then lower your body again. Stop before before your body touches the ground, and push yourself up again. Repeat as many times as you are comfortable with.

Inhale as you lower your body toward the ground and exhale as you raise back up. Try to do as many pushups as you can comfortably (and without hurting yourself) in one set. Then try to do that number for three sets. Finally, keep track of how many pushups you do in a set and try to gradually increase it over time.

Dumbbell Rows

As much as you need to work your shoulders and arms for upper-body strength, you need to strengthen your back to increase your body’s stability and symmetry.

Since you just finished pushing off the ground in the push up exercise, it’s important to do some pulling to strengthen and stretch your back muscles. Dumbbell rows will also strengthen your neck and aid in the prevention of many neck-related snowboarding injuries.

Hold a dumbbell (whichever weight feels comfortable) in your right hand and rest your left knee on a weightlifting bench. Lean forward and place your left hand on the bench for balance -- your back should be flat and approximately parallel to the bench. With your right arm, pull the dumbbell straight up until it’s even with your torso. Lower the weight back down toward the floor and repeat the exercise in three sets of 10 reps.

Turn around and place your opposite hand and knee on the bench and the dumbbell in your left hand. Repeat the exercise with your left arm for three repetitions of 10 rows.

Tricep Dips

This simple equipmentless exercise works the triceps, forearms, shoulders, and chest, and is an ideal exercise for beginners who often put a lot of pressure on their shoulders and wrists when falling.

Sit on a bench or chair and place your hands next your thighs. Keeping your arms in place, slowly slide forward off the chair and drop your backside just below the seat. Slide your legs out in front of your body, so you’re balancing solely on your hands and heels. Bend your elbows and lower your body toward the ground until your arms form a 90-degree angle. Use your arms to push you back up to chair level and repeat the exercise ten times. Work toward completing three repetitions of 10 dips, and continuing increasing the number of dips from there.

Power Pull Ups

Now that you’ve completed another arm, shoulder and chest exercise, it’s time to strengthen your back for stability again. Start by hanging on a pull up bar with your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart and your palms facing away from your body. Lift your body up as high as you can, then lower yourself back toward the ground without resting your feet on the floor. Perform this exercise as many times as you can.

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