I should have titled this "Conditioning tips" but whatever.
So every year I see a bunch of posts here asking how to improve one's ability to snowboard during the offseason.
There are a few options:
1. Go to your opposite hemisphere and ride more.
2. Go to the gym.
3. Try a freebord.
#1 isn't an option for a lot of people.
#3 can be a very dangerous option. If you think ice is hard try catching an "edge" on pavement at 50mph.
#2 provides fantastic benefits to your riding as well as general health and overall well-being.
I have sprained my right MCL twice while snowboarding. In retrospect I think a big part of this injury was due to lack of conditioning. I was going through a real rough time and stopped going to the gym and I paid for it on the slopes.
These are the routines I have used. It's focused on the most important aspects of snowboarding: core and overall strength and flexibility. I'm going to list several versions, all very similar in concept, all of which are based on Mark Rippetoe's "Starting Strength"
. These routines are not bodybuilding routines, but strength routines. They are designed to increase athletic performance in all areas and form the core workout principles for many professional and world-class athletes. There is a big difference between "working out" or "body building" and strength training. I highly recommend you at least glance over the provided link before starting this routine.
In writing this I am assuming that you have read the link I provided and/or know at least the basics of routine planning and workout principles.
DISCLAIMER: BEFORE STARTING ANY FITNESS ROUTINE YOU SHOULD MAKE DAMNED SURE YOU ARE FIT AND READY TO DO SO. SEE YOUR DOCTOR FIRST!
ANOTHER DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A LICENSED, DEGREED OR CERTIFIED TRAINER.
For noobs to this kind of training.
1. Form is everything. Perfect your form with just the bar or extremely light weights before even thinking about going heavier.
2. Diet is second only to form. Eat plenty. If you don't have an excess of calories you won't get stronger, simple as that. Eat 1g-2g of quality protein per pound of body weight (soy doesn't count - it's absolutely the worst protein you can take in) every day. Make sure you get about 25%-35% of your calories from unsaturated, healthy fats (olive oil, for example). Healthy fat is a superior energy source to carbs by far. You just gotta use it up or the body stores it. These workouts will use it up if done properly. Taking in a lot of protein without fat will lead to protein poisoning. Drinking lots of milk is a great way to get strong fast. I use fat free, though lots of trainers recommend full fat. Fat free has the benefit of having a higher protein:calorie ratio.
3. Flexibility is key. You cannot do a proper squat without adequate flexibility. You cannot do a proper press without adequate flexibility. You cannot really do a proper anything in weight lifting without adequate flexibility. When I say adequate flexibility, I mean that you should be able to, at the very least, touch your toes with your legs straight. I recommend being able to put your hands flat on the floor before going heavy on any of these lifts.
4. Do very light cardio for 5-10 minutes before you start anything else. This gets your heart going, gets blood to your muscles and gets them ready to work.
5. After your cardio, STRETCH
. My stretching routine takes about 10 minutes and covers every muscle group in my body. I use mostly yoga poses. It's relaxing and helps prevent injury.
6. On every movement, do at least 2 warm up sets. For example, with squats, I'll do just the bar 1x10. This gets your form locked in and your balance centered. Then I'll do 50%-60% of the weight I plan to work with 1x6. This puts resistance on your muscles and helps prevent tearing and early fatigue. If I am not feeling as ready as I should I will do a third set of 1x5 at 75% of my planned work weight.
7. Did I mention that form is everything? If your form sucks you will get hurt. Period.
8. Don't watch douchebags in the gym and try to emulate them. If you need help with your form, find someone who knows how to train for strength to help you out.
9. FORM FORM FORM!
10. Get plenty of rest. 8 hours of good, deep sleep a night is required. If you don't sleep well your workouts will suffer.
Now, on to the routines.
Basic, core routine, almost verbatim from Rippetoe. Alternate workouts. For instance:
Monday - A, Wednesday - B, Friday - A, Monday - B, Wednesday - A, Friday -B
Bench Press, 3x5
Pendlay Row, 3x5
You can put light
cardio in on off days.
It doesn't sound like much but if you do this workout properly you will be toasted at the end of it.
This is a more advanced version that I have used to great effect. It especially helps with the muscles you use a lot when on the mountain. It's also designed to increase cardiovascular performance, which is so necessary to your stamina on the mountain.
Bench Press, 3x5
Deadlift, 2x5 (be careful with these - the muscles used to stabilize the body in this movement are some of the slowest in the body to recover)
Declined sit ups, weighted, 3x6-10
Dips, weighted, 3x8
Bike, 30-45 minutes. I keep my hearrate around 150. If it hits 160 I back off either the RPMs or the difficulty.
OFF. DO NOT DO ANY INTENSE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY OR YOU WILL
FUCK UP YOUR RECOVERY.
Pendlay Rows, 3x5
Pull Ups or Chin Ups, weighted, 3x8
Side bends, weighted, 3x6-10
Same as Tuesday.
Both of those workouts are good during the season. You can skip workouts that will fall within 72 hours of a mountain trip or other physical activity. This is especially true for the more advanced version.
Finally, to complete this, my offseason workout. This is what I use when I know I won't have to skip workouts. I change it up every 4 to 6 weeks, depending on how my body is reacting.
Bench Press, 3x5
Calf Raises, 3x5-8
Light cardio, usually the bike. Heartrate doesn't go over about 130-140.
Front squats, 3x5-8
Chin ups or pull ups, weighted, 3x6-8
Declined sit ups, weighted, 2x8-12
Dips, weighted, 3x6-8
Side bends, weighted, 2x6-10
Leg raises, 2xfailure (can weight these, and I would recommend doing so, but I can't with the equipment I have access to)
Same as Tuesday
Pendlay Rows (or bent over rows), 3x5-8
Good mornings or back extensions, (do these lightly or you will mess up your recovery and might slip a disc or something very traumatic), 2x8-12
Weekend off. I can hike and do all sorts of fun activities over the weekend without any trouble. The key to this workout is EATING A LOT. I consume 3000 calories a day during the week doing this and I should probably be eating more.
I've got other routines and methods I use that I'll be happy to share, but this is just a post for the basics.