Photos and article courtesy of Burton Girls
This week we’re sharing a post with you from Burton Girls that features our B4BC team rider Kimmy Fasani! Snow season is still in full force and they’re sharing some great tips to keep us as fit as possible during this time year, and all year for that matter!
The better you prepare your body for snowboarding, the harder you can ride all winter long. The B Project is a Carlsbad, CA-based gym that helps many professional snowboarders strength train. Kimmy Fasani put us in touch with the B Project to bring you a Burton Girls exclusive snowboarding fitness series, and this is the fifth article. Get more information and exercises from the other fitness articles in this series.
Balance. Try all you want, but simply doing single-leg exercises on a balance disc does not develop balance skills. Achieving balance requires a mastery of leg mechanics, using the ankle and hip as points of stability. Once you’ve mastered the foundations of balance, it’s time to change it up with a few unstable surfaces for extra challenge.
Single Modified Deadlift is a versatile, single-leg balance exercise where the knee and ankle are stabilized and the hip pivots. For this particular exercise, we’ll focus on transitioning from a deadlift to a high knee position, giving the lower body an opportunity to develop alignment and stabilization.
Foundation: The Single Modified Deadlift to High Knee helps coordinate and strengthen the muscles of the hip, knee, and ankle. With the focus on a single leg, the glutes and hamstrings work together to increase control and balance, operating together rather than separately.
Using a wall or other object as support, begin with by extending one leg behind you so it (and your torso) is parallel to the floor.
Initiate the glute muscles by squeezing them together as you transition the extended leg forward into a high knee position.
Keep your weight-bearing leg straight. If the weight-bearing leg begins to bend, back off the height of the high knee to help regain control. Complete 15 reps per leg before switching legs.
Progression: The Single Modified Deadlift/Resisted High Knee/Unstable mimics the Single Modified Deadlift to High Knee exercise, but it adds an element of resistance and instability for challenge. The key to this progressive exercise is to maintain the foundations that you learned above.
Adding a dumbbell adds resistance to the high knee transition, mimicking the effect of hiking or bootpacking over uneven terrain. Begin with the dumbbell at your side in the deadlift position. As you transition into the high knee position, rest the dumbbell on your knee and use the resistance to complete the high knee position.
In addition to (or in lieu of) a dumbbell, a BOSU trainer is another way to add instability. With the ball side down, center your foot on the BOSU platform to ensure you have a balanced and leveled surface. Proceed to complete the exercise using the foundation techniques above. Complete 15 reps per leg before switching legs.
Single Deadlift is single-leg balance exercise that targets the hip, knee, and ankle. It might look easy, but the trick is to synchronize the movement into one fluid motion, bending each of the three joints at the same rate. Although the knee is a key player here, the hips and ankle are responsible for the alignment and control of the knee.
Foundation: The Single Deadlift/Ball Touch to High Knee is all about working with gravity and learning to control your alignment. The ball touch provides an obstacle of reference to help you maintain balance and a limit of depth. It’s okay if you can’t touch the ball at first. Just remember that the initial goal is proper technique and alignment, not necessarily touching the ball.
With one leg bent at a 90-degree angle, bend your weight-bearing leg until it’s even with the tip of your toes, and touch the ball with your opposite arm. Take note if your torso, hips, knee or ankle is twisting or leaning in this position. If so, it could be a sign of flexibility or strength limitations. If it’s not painful, work through this slowly and progress until you achieve proper form.
Transition to the high knee, straightening out the weight-bearing leg and raising the opposite knee in one fluid motion. Complete 15 reps per before switching legs.
Progression: The Single Deadlift/Ball Drop/Unstable introduces speed, agility and reflexes into an exercise. Using a lightweight medicine ball, the goal is to catch the ball and end in a controlled, aligned position.
Begin in a tall, straight position with both feet on a BOSU trainer. Open your hands to let the ball drop. As you squat to catch the ball, enter into a single deadlift position, lifting one foot off the BOSU trainer and catching the ball while balanced on the weight-bearing leg.
Be aware, as with any ball drop exercise, controlling compensation is part of progression. Keeping things pivoting in the legs and not the trunk is easy to overlook with the addition of new equipment.
Most importantly, don’t rush this exercise. Wait until you’ve stabilized yourself before starting the next repetition. While the goal is to increase your reflexes and speed, it’s important to pause after catching the ball to ensure you’ve regained your stability.
Complete 15 reps per leg before switching legs.
Lateral Deadlifts were mentioned in the hip and torso sections, but adding instability gives this exercise new possibilities and challenges. Here, we introduce the Indoboard, a valuable piece of dry-land training equipment that replicates the feeling of balancing on a snowboard.
Foundation: The Lateral Deadlift/Unstable set up requires the balance board to be off-center toward the back leg, much like the stance you take when riding in powder.
Distribute your balance with slightly more weight over one leg, ensuring the balance board is always parallel to the ground.
With your core muscles engaged, perform a squat, checking to see that your shoulders are over your knees, but that your knees are not over your toes.
Return to the upright position before returning to the squat once again. Complete 15 reps before switching sides. (Alternatively, you could add a 5-second hold to each position. If so, reduce each set to 10 reps.)
Progression: The Lateral Deadlift/Ball Drop/Unstable incorporates more speed to the exercise and uses the same concept the Single Deadlift/Ball Drop. It’s goal is to increase your strength and rebound ability when, say, landing a jump and returning to a neutral stance.
With a ball in your hands, assume the same stance and position as the foundation exercise above, distributing your balance with slightly more weight over one leg.
Open your hands to let the ball drop, squatting to catch the ball before it drops. Once again, ensure that your shoulders are over your knees, but that your knees don’t extend past your toes.
Complete 15 reps before switching sides.
Source: Burton Girls