Advanced Snowboard Exercises and Strength Programs for Pro Snowboarders
Snowboarding is a sport that requires a balance of physical strength, technical skill, and mental focus. Naturally, for a pro athlete, all of 3 of these skill sets must be optimized, along with nutrition, flexibility, and rest / recovery. A properly designed strength and conditioning program will provide any pro athlete with a major advantage in physical strength, AMPLITUDE, and STYLE over his / her competitors, while decreasing the risk of injury and increasing the penalties' score cards.
Physical strength is broken down into different qualities of strength: power, power endurance, absolute strength, speed strength, and strength endurance. What kind of strength is required varies depending on the kind event. Be warned, these are advanced programs, even a pro athlete must build up to them, especially if they have not done workouts like this before or have not been training hard in a gym for at least 2 years. Working with a partner or trainer is always advised to maintain safety when performing heavy lifts.
Half-Pipe / Snow Park
For a pro freestyle snowboarder in the half-pipe, power endurance is going to be very important; in particular, the ability to accelerate off the lip explosively, and decelerate rapidly when landing back into the pipe, over and over again. To train for power endurance, you should use heavy weights for low reps (2-5) doing compound movements like a barbell back squat and a slow temp (4 seconds down, no pause at the bottom, 2 seconds up, no pause at the top) coupled with incomplete rest. By managing, tracking, and gradually tweaking these acute training variables (rest, tempo, sets, reps), a pro-snowboarder can be assured that the program will allow them to keep pushing their limits on the snow and getting higher and higher out of the pipe. This workout should be coupled with an explosive / polymic workout that emphasizes Olympic lifts (snatch & clean & jerk), depth jumps and other plyometrics that require the body to decelerate its mass at a rapid rate.
There will be very similar strength requirement for the snow park. Increasing power endurance will help greatly in preventing injury and bumping amplitude. While the park / pipe is the best place to practice technical skills, like grabs, putting trick combos together, etc, the gym is by far the best place to intelligently push the limits of your strength and power.
For the quarter pipe, the most important strength quality is power. The PRO needs to be able to explode 2x's; once to get up, once to land, and then gets to rest for awhile in between attempts. Their program needs to include a pure power workout: heavy loads of 1-3 reps, 6-8 sets, only 1 or 2 exercises, including at least 1 Olympic lift. The athlete should rest at least 3 minutes in between sets to ensure maximal neurological recovery, which is necessary for maximum power development.
While grabs are obviously technical and are not going to be practiced in a gym (unless you have a huge trampoline set up), you can still push the boundaries and take your grabs to the next level with a balanced strength training program. Optimal strength can only be developed when the athlete has an optimal range of motion ie flexibility. Lack of flexibility is primarily due to WEEAKNESS, which the body responds to by developing tightness. So to get flexible, you have to get strong in a larger range of motion. A stretching program will help if you use gentle contraction while stretched to increase your strength in tight ranges. Hold the contract for 5 seconds, then release deeper into the stretch, and repeat 3 or 4 times. Developing strength in new ranges will allow the athlete more flexibility to TWEAK THEIR GRABS! You know the judges love it, a little extra tweak can make a big difference on their score card.
It is important to keep in mind that while there are a lot of cool exercises and workouts that will transfer to your abilities on the slopes, the only way to consistently make progress is to track your workouts and gradually manipulate the training variables (exercise selection, tempo, rest, sets, reps). With the industries explosive growth, athlete with the most talent, most commitment, and best programming are the once that are going to excel both on and off the slopes.