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Off Season Training

By Miranda Yeary - October 4th, 2001

In order to successfully jump back into snowboarding for the winter, it is important to keep your body in good working order during the offseason. If not, you risk injury, soreness, and/or backtracking on the skill spectrum. So, spend some time doing things that keep you mentally and physically ready to snowboard again.

Board Sports
Practicing any board sports is a good way to cross train. Skate boarding keeps your lower body agile and well practiced. Its the same eye-foot coordination as snowboarding. Surfing, too, keeps that part of the brain functioning, but it offers more exercise than skateboarding. As far as a cardiovascular workout, surfing is one of the best. On the other hand, both of these sports are very challenging and can be dangerous. Wake boarding is perhaps the most user-friendly of the board sports. Water is even more forgiving than snow! If you haven't tried it, you simply must.

Stretching
Stretching will keep your body limber for maneuverability on the snow. Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi are all really fun ways to stay flexible. Not only that, but all of these disciplines (don't let that word scare you) help cultivate mental clarity which enhances your composure on the mountain. If you feel silly about going to a class, there are lots of books and videos at the public library you can check out. Then you can look silly in the privacy of your own home. The classes are really informative and mellow, though. Everyone should try one.

Strength Training
An option that can make a world of difference in your snowboarding fitness is strength training. The muscles around your knees, your thighs, ankles, and calves are extremely important for snowboarding. We all know about vacationers who head for the slopes without being fully fit and end up at the ski patrol clinic with a blown-out knee. You don't need to join a gym to train your legs, however. Doing squats, lunges and calf raises work just as well as the weights at the gym. You might just have to do more reps. It is a good idea to have a mirror around so you can check your form while you do these exercises.

Do It All
Running, mountain biking, rock climbing, kayaking, swimming, skipping, and throwing the Frisbee will all contribute to your physical fitness. Cross training is key. "For your body to function optimally, it needs variety. Mix it up!" says physical trainer Emily Etie. Do many sports that target different areas of your body. Use these warmer months to get out and try new sports. You will be snowboarding again before you know it.


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