SNOWBOARD INJURY PREVENTION + CONDITIONING
Snowboarding requires muscular endurance, flexibility, strength and balance. With a little program design specificity, riders can safely prepare for the slopes or the pipe.
A mix of eccentric and concentric movements is recommended. Riders need to maintain control when their body gets pulled off axis.
Exercises such as squats, deadlifts and hex bar deadlifts, multi-direction lunges, step ups, plyometrics, Olympic lifts and variations, pullups, pushups and exercises that train the torso to resist rotation or collapse accommodate forceful rotations. Exercise regimens should also incorporate balance and proprioception if possible to create a more dynamic environment.
Hip, gluteal and core strength is an essential strong foundation for riders. Be careful about neglecting the hips and glutes in favor of the quadriceps. Hip weakness may cause the knees to collapse toward the midline and increase the risk of ligament injuries.
Once a good foundation of strength is demonstrated through proper form, use dynamic movements that require you to create force or resist it rapidly. Build on basic exercises such as squats by adding velocity and complexity with high-speed repetitions, ball tosses and unstable surfaces.
A favorite is the Vew-Do® FLOW Balance Board, which has a patented track and rock design allowing for faster movement by creating more efficient transfer of rotation energy from the hips to the lower legs to the board. However, the exercises can be done on any balance board.
Try this Squat progression:
Balance Board Stance: Begin with feet hip-width apart and maintain a slight flex in the knees, torso upright. Find your center, stay steady and get confident on the board.
Balance Board Squat: Add a squat while balancing on the board. Three sets of 10 reps.
Balance Board Lateral Toss: Add a ball-toss while standing next to your training partner (encourages core rotation). Three sets of 10 reps per side.
Balance Board Grabs: Lower the squat beyond 90 degrees while maintaining an upright torso and practice gripping the board at different points (between the feet, on the diagonals, on the sides and behind).
Catherine A. Logan, MD, MBA, MSPT is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine in Denver, Colorado. She’s also part of the team physician pool for the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association and cares for these athletes when traveling nationally and internationally. Logan was a physical therapist and personal trainer for 7 years before attending medical school. She focuses her research on post-surgical rehabilitation protocols and return to play.