Today I would like to take the time to talk about one of the qualities that I believe is fundamental to snowboarders, acrobatics. This will be the second part of a series of posts where I discuss different trainable qualities that you might want to develop to be a better snowboarder. If you haven’t read part 1 of this series you can do that, or if you just want some training tips for acrobatics just keep reading.
“Can you do a backflip?” Yeah, you might have gotten this question if you’re hanging out in the park a lot. Flips and spins are cool and a big part of snowboarding, maybe the most relatable part to people outside of the sport. But before you do a backflip or a double cork in the park you might want to have had a bit of practice so you know that you will, at least, land on your feet. But how can you train these skills? I will try to give you a few tips below that you can try out during the summer and hopefully come well prepared to next season.
Can you practice snowboard tricks off snow? Well here we touch upon the specificity area, a topic all on it’s own which I plan on writing a text on soon. But to keep it short, you kind of can, but It’s unclear if there is a direct transfer to your sport. For example: people might be really good at snowboarding but really lousy at off snow-acrobatics, and there are gymnasts who are really great at their sport but can’t do a 360 on a snowboard. This ability to transfer tricks from a trampoline to a big jump is probably something that some people are better at than others. So it’s more of a “feeling”-type of thing. If you can feel the snowboard trick on a trampoline it probably can help you, some.
What’s the use of training off snow then? As I mentioned in the previous post training your acrobatic and air awareness skills could be a good way to stay injury free. If you, like cats, land on your feet when things go out of hand you should minimize the risks of trying out new tricks. This type of injury preventing training could be really basic acrobatic movements like different types of somersaults and other tumbling exercises. If you’ve been training Judo or Jujitsu you know the importance of training proper falling technique. Falling is inevitable so try to learn to fall as smoothly as possible.
I recorded a short video with some exercise tips that you could try out. Basically it’s just a lot of somersaults and some sort of agility course. Play around and have fun with it! I don’t mention this in the video but you should always do a proper warm up before these types of exercises, especially the neck and back so you don’t sprain yourself. Other than that you can do some of these movements before or after some other workout since it’s not that strenuous and if you’re looking to improve your acrobatic skills or your agility you should practice often.
I want to learn tricks, not learn how to fall! Alright cool man. I’ve already said that the transfer of skills between sports is somewhat hazy, but i do believe that you can benefit from practicing tricks off snow. If you feel like you can mimic the snowboard trick on a trampoline or off a diving tower, good for you. Otherwise I recommend you first analyzing the basic movements of the snowboard tricks you want to do and then try to mimic the same movement patterns. If you learn them well enough to automate them it should be easier to transfer them into your snowboarding. Here, filming yourself and analyzing your movements can be of huge help for you to break down what you’re actually up to when you’re spinning through the air.
If you, like me, have trouble doing doubles on a trampoline you can try to divide the trick into two separate tricks. For example: a backside double cork on a snowboard is kind of a backside 540 to a cab underflip. If you can do those two tricks after each other, without hesitation, you could get a feel for the whole rotation and then try it out on the trampoline or on your snowboard.
I don’t have a trampoline. There are plenty of other ways to train your acrobatic skills. The best way for snowboarding is of course to do it when you snowboard, but this post is about off snow training so we’ll keep to that. Gainers or other flips off a cliff or a diving tower is a great way to, quite safely, practice your acrobatic skills and impress your friends.
You can play around, parkour style. I know that it looks pretty geeky but find some friends you can try it out with and watch a bunch of youtube tutorials and get at it! As long as you’re having fun, what’s the problem?
These are summer activities you can do if you’re not lucky enough to go snowboarding this summer. Try it out and plan for next season and come back with a deeper trick bag!
I would like to take the time and talk about my views on training, how you become a well rounded snowboarder (or human) and what I think might be beneficial to focus on.
I want to start off by saying that, although I base my views on training and fitness on a foundation of science proven facts, these are my personal views and how I feel is the best way to implement what i know. I always strive to be better than I am and to gain new knowledge in this field so I am up for discussion and would very much like to hear any other aspects of the subjects I will bring up here.Since I work in snowboarding, this text will focus on training to snowboard and snowboard well, but if you’re just after some good workout tips you can keep reading anyways. Let’s begin.
In this part we’ll start off by establishing what the sport demands of us and what physical qualities we need to develop. And then look at what we should focus on when we’re not snowboarding to be better at snowboarding and to get to snowboard more.
Freestyle snowboarding has become a sport where the top athletes are highly dependent on their acrobatic skills. Nowadays they need to be able to perform not only double corks but triples, and in some cases quads. Wether you’re a top level snowboarder or just a happy weekend warrior, acrobatic skills will benefit you in more ways than one. You’ll be able to land more tricks, making your everyday riding more diverse. You will have more fun, feeling that you can take your riding to the next level and doing tricks and spins every way possible. You will feel safer trying tricks you’ve already done off snow. You will be safer, being able to save unsuccessful tries and do as cats do and land on your feet. From my experience riders with great acrobatic skills but poor strength can be less prone to injuries than really fit riders.
Squat ’til you drop. No doubt about it, you need strong legs to be able to withstand the forces of impact when you overshoot a jump or drop that parking garage to get the ender for your video part. Other than brute leg strength you will need a solid core, mainly to keep you on your feet for a whole day and to keep everything together but also to minimize the risks when you fall. Other than those two key muscle groups you need to be overall fit just to minimize the risk of minor (but sucky) injuries like shoulder dislocations and broken wrists.
A beautiful long distance run on top of a mountain.
How bad do you want the shot? In some cases you will be forced to keep going even though your body tells you to stop. It can be when you’re hiking to that sick line you’ve been eyeing for weeks, waiting for snow. It could be when you’re out battling a rail in the middle of the night, trying to get that last shot. Or it could just be trying to land a new trick and being fit enough to try one last time to get it. Either way, it’s always nice if you can ride all day without your legs giving out and you can hike that line and be fit enough at the top to make the run count.
Some people have it and some people don’t. Sometimes you see someone ripping so effortlessly and you just want to steal their board control and feel what they feel. Maybe some people are born with it but most people have to work really hard (consciously or not) to get there. Just like any other skill this is one that is highly trainable, but there are a few things to keep in mind when you practice it.
I believe these are the key elements to snowboarding. If you break it down into trainable qualities that is. And I know a lot of people don’t want to think about these things and just snowboard, and that is great! I love just riding with my friends and not thinking about anything else than what’s in front of me. But I also know that there are people who do think about these things and like to get nerdy about stuff they like. So I guess this post is for the latter type of people.
This was the first post in a series. I don’t know how long it will be but I do like to discuss these types of things (it’s my job, duh). So if you like something or don’t, let me know. Or just enjoy the read.
So, you want to be thinner, fitter, stronger or healthier? Big surprise. Who doesn’t, right? But what is the secret to obtaining your goal? What should you focus on and what should you avoid? In this short text I will try and answer your questions. And relax. This isn’t the “my exclusive training system”-promoting, diet mongering text that you might have feared for.
What is your goal? If it’s health and longevity or getting really good at something – good! If it’s just looking great – think again.
For me training should first and foremost be about health and feeling good about yourself. Both strength training and conditioning can have tremendous effects on your well being and life in general. But you have to keep doing it. It is not a quick fix to get you “beach ready” or whatever. For it to work you have to make it a part of your life and do it because it makes you feel good. If you follow the next tips here, the fitness should come as a bonus.
Find something you like, that you would like to get better at. May it be golf, powerlifting, jumping high or run a mile. To be better at something you have to put in the time and effort to make it happen, and you are much more likely to do so if it is something you enjoy doing and want to be better at. If your goal is to be better at something it is also much easier to set attainable, specific goals than it is if your goal is “just to look good”. It is much easier to know when you can squat 100kg than when you look good enough. If you’re really interested and get “nerdy” about your thing you will find alternative ways to get even better at it, and when you do you will find other things you want to get better at as well.
The strongest type of motivation is intrinsic motivation, the kind that comes from within yourself. Sure you can motivate yourself with extrinsic things like money or the attention you get from others, but when the going gets tough “you really gotta wanna”. This is why your goals should be set to satisfy yourself, it should make you feel good. Your goal shouldn’t make you anxious that you have a long way to get there. Every step on the way should be worth celebrating because you’re that much closer to your goal. So when you´re on your way to that squat PR or that new snowboarding trick: give yourself credit for the work you put in, you deserve it!
And as far as “fitness” goes: Focus on building the fitness needed to reach your goals. This means that your focus should be on what you are able to do with your body (or want to be able to do) rather than what your body should look like. We all start from different places, aiming for different goals and no one’s goals are better than anyone’s, but remember: The only goals that should matter to you are your own.
Me placing third at the Swedish Snowboarding Championships in Halfpipe 2015 and thus reaching a goal. Not to podium but to land the run that I had planned.