In the year 2000, snowboarding was the fastest-growing sport in the United States, with boarders numbering just over 7.2 million.
According to GarkoFit founder, fitness expert & snowboarder Dariusz Garko “Proper conditioning before season will absolutely improve your skills, confidence level on the slope & prevent possible injuries. Snowboarding is an asymmetrical sport, this means that one leg is on the board in front of the other in a staggered stance which creates unique challenges in a training program because he/she must be very strong & balanced in this position but a failure can lead to muscular imbalances, inefficiencies, and eventually injuries. Compensation exercises should be included before & during the snowboard season to avoid injuries. It is a good idea to perform your stance work on both sides rather than focusing solely on your dominant side. Tight adductor of dominant leg for example can create muscular imbalances, which would cause pain in medial part of knee. This could lead to further, more serious injuries like Medial Collateral Ligament Injuries”. GarkoFit developed Progressive training approach for sport specific including snowboarding:
Sample Program 3-4 months before season:
Each kind of snowboarding slalom, halfpipe, slopestyle, boardercross has a unique set of challenges:
The giant slalom and slalom events are “carving” or “downhill” racing events whereby the athlete runs gates on a dual course. These events are run on longer boards with hard boots. While carving at high speeds, the boarder’s body always faces down the hill. A high degree of concentric, eccentric, and isometric strength is required to perform well at these events.
Freestyle (Halfpipe & Slopestyle) Snowboarders
The halfpipe & slopestyle events are more representative of “freestyle” with spinning, flipping, jumping, and landing. These events are often judged for difficulty and style. A well-rounded snowboarder should be able to carve turns of various radiuses on groomed slopes like a carver, while being able to adapt to varying terrain like a Boardercross rider. Steep and deep terrain will require a different set of skills, even as many of the basic principles remain the same.
Boardercross is a combination of Giant Slalom (speed) & elements of freestyle (jumping & landing). Concentric, eccentric, and isometric strength is nessesary as well as deceleration power (landings), acceleration power (jumping, rollers) & reaction time.
The primary muscle groups that are involved in snowboarding include the muscles of the core, adductors, abductors, hips, gluteals, quadriceps, hamstrings . These muscles should be trained in the most specific way possible. Another major focus should be to strengthen your body specifically to avoid the most common snowboard injuries. The most common injuries between snowboarders are ankle fractures due to excessive dorsiflexion, wrist fractures and sprains, shoulder injuries due to contusions from the impact of falls, and neck-whiplash injuries.
Although it is impossible to avoid falling from time to time, increased strength of the tendons and ligaments of the ankles, wrists, shoulders, and neck can increase the amount of force necessary to cause a severe injury. Hip flexors constitute the most common, unreported injuries to snow boarders, it’s is crucial to maintain flexibility in overactive muscles (adductors, quadriceps, tibiallis anterior, hip flexors).