Off snow training to boost your snowboard skills

Typically many people consider that the only real way to improve their snowboarding is to snowboard more and in essence that certainly makes sense. However, the more I tailor my fitness regime the more I’ve noticed how my riding has benefitted.

It was an interesting example with Sian a few months back. She took 2 months off her snowboard. In that time she’d focused on her fitness with 2–3 parkour sessions a week. These sessions involved a combination of flexibility work, body weight conditioning and various gymnastics movement skills.

Typically, taking three months off a sport would have a negative effect. In fact the opposite was true. She had a clear focus on what she wanted to do. She was not intimidated by the features and ended up landing a trick she’d been working on for ages prior to having a break.

It’s interesting the see the results. Her off snow fitness regime had developed her strength, accuracy of body positioning and movement which ultimately developed her confidence and ability to perform at a much higher level than previously.

This had the same effect when I was in Les Deux Alpes during the summer. My training regime focused around parkour. Similar to Sian this involved various body strength exercises and gymnastics based agility and power tricks. In addition I did some basic flexibility training and foam rolling for recovery. As you can see below, there is nothing crazy about these moves.

However they did work a lot on my proprioception and required a certain amount of focus and strength to achieve these moves. This meant that when I was on my board I was better able to switch on the higher level skills with little or no longwinded warm up.

I was able to deliver basic tricks quicker with more accuracy plus focus my mind on a more successful mindset rather than doubting my abilities as I would have in previous years.

One example is last year I struggled to Nollie Handplant and grab my board. This year I could easily grab my board and I just had to focus on getting higher in the pipe rather than trying to achieve the basic move. Last year I was planting around 8ft high in the mini pipe. This year I was more than 16ft up in the quarter pipe without even trying this in between.

2017 Nollie Handplant

2017 Nollie Handplant

2016 Nollie Handplant

2016 Nollie Handplant

When you look at some of the best snowboard athletes like Billy Morgan you see this type of training forming a fundamental part of their fitness regime.

As you can notice there is a dramatic difference between the kind of moves I’m working on compared to Billy, but they still have the same positive outcomes. They focus the mind, build explosive fitness, flexibility and strength which has huge benefits for snowboarding.

You may not be wanting to do flips on your board, but you might want to be able to have the flexibility in your legs to allow you to ride for longer and absorb landings and terrain through your legs rather than your back.

You might want to be better prepared for the falls your going to have on your board. The more flexible and strong your body is the less likely you are to get injured when you fall over.

You could be planning to hit a rail or spin off a jump this winter. Being able to jump around and balance and know where you are when you are in the air with a stronger mindset will have a dramatic effect on your chances of success.

With all this in mind I’ve decided to partner to Paramount Parkour to run a series of fun and applicable freerunning classes from September. This will be a 4 class series over 6 weeks. I’ll be working with the team to develop a series of tricks and skills that will directly benefit snowboarders in the winter.

Session 1 — Sat 2nd Sept — 10am — 11.30am
Session 2 — Sat 16th Sept — 10am — 11.30am
Session 2 — Sat 30th Sept — 10am — 11.30am
Session 4 — Sat 14th Oct — 10am — 11.30am

The aim is to assist in preparing you for the winter by broadening your horizons beyond the standard in gym routines that many of us try and fail at every year.

To find out more and book follow this link.


James Streater is the head coach and owner of Maverix Snow Ltd, providing year round snowboard instruction, coaching and personal development. He is part of a select group of professionals who hold the worlds highest snowsport qualification ISTD. Follow him on Instagram @maverixsnow

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