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Posted by Markus on

Pre-season gym program, for you!

Back to school, back to work. I’m excited for the passing of the seasons and that even this summer could come to an end. I look forward to a new season and plan on starting it by being fitter than ever. And I would like to share the training program with you so you can do the same.

So we’ve just started the preseason training here at the National Snowboard Academy, which includes strength training, acrobatics, coordination and cardio. As I wrote the strength program for the second graders (12th grade), I thought to myself: If I believe in this  program being one of the simplest ways to get my students stronger, why don’t I try it out for myself?

So I will. Starting today I will do the same strength program as my second graders and see where I end up in a couple of weeks. If you didn’t know it I’m a big fan of the KISS!-rule, which means Keep It Simple Stupid!, especially when strength training for sports. (You can read more about my views on strength training for snowboarding and sports here .) The program in itself is really simple and built up around two whole body sessions per week with quite moderate volume. This is because we do train a lot of other stuff during the weeks and adding extra volume in the gym would be detrimental for the quality of the other workouts. The aim for the program is getting stronger in the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift, so pretty standard powerlifting, just to keep it simple.

I started out by testing my max in the three lifts. I got a 135kg squat, a 95kg bench press and a 150kg deadlift. This is for evaluative purposes so I know if the program worked for me. You can start with a max if you want the opportunity to evaluate your progress. If you just want to try the program out you don’t have to.

If you are new to powerlifting you shouldn’t try to max out! This program is aimed towards intermediate lifters who know the proper technique. If you want to get proper technique, contact an educated trainer.

For the program, start out with weights around 70% of your max in the three powerlifting lifts and try to increase the weight a little each week. For the accessory lifts the percentage is less important, but you should be within 3-4 reps of failure. Try getting 48 hours of rest in between the two sessions and keep the quality of the sessions high. Good technique before adding weights.


The program:

(The set and reps are written in this manor: sets X reps)

Day one:                 

Warm up with open barbell

Overhead squats       3×5           (keep it light, this is for warmup and mobility)

Powerclean                 5×3           (light and fast, if you can’t clean you can do front squats)

Deadlift                       5×5            (main lift, keep it heavy)

Split squat                  4×5/per leg

Bench press                5×5             (main lift, keep it heavy)

Pull ups                        5×5            (add or remove weight so you can do 5×5)

Hanging legraises      3×10



Day two:

Warm up with open barbell

Overhead squats         3×5               (warm up and mobility, keep it light)

Powersnatch                5×3              (If you can’t snatch you can skip this, it’s for technique work)

Squat                             5×5               (main lift, keep it heavy)

Romanian deadlift      4×8

Bent over rows            3×8

Standing overhead press     3×8

Planche                         3×1 minute                    (superset with reverse planche)

Reverse planche (dry swimming) 3×1 minute      (superset with planche)



So, there you have it. A super simple strength training program that hopefully will get you stronger for the season. I’m not sure if there is enough volume in there if you are an experienced lifter. If so, you could probably do three sessions per week without being burnt out. I will try the original program out and see if I can hit my all time maxes later this autumn (Squat: 155kg, bench: 102,5kg, dead: 170kg).


Train hard, and take care.


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Posted by Markus on

Specificity – curse and key

We have all heard about the 10 000 hours principle (or myth, but that is a topic for a different post), that you will get really good at something by doing 10 000 hours of it. But does this mean that you only should do one thing, or can you be too specific?

One of the most fundamental facts when it comes to get better at something is the SAID-principle. SAID is short for the Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands, i.e. your body will be better at doing the things that you do often. This principle is quite easy to understand, everyone knows that to become really good at something you have to practice – a lot. This has implications when it comes to complex sports like snowboarding where the off snow-training doesn’t resemble snowboarding at all. So is it even beneficial to enter the gym if you want to get better at a complex sport? And should you try to make your gym training more “snowboard like”? I will try to answer these questions and give you my views on sport specific training and tell you why I think some coaches has gotten this wrong.

Do we need to go to the gym?

Some sports require less variation in training and you can focus on sport specific training. That is if you get enough variation within the sport to train all the qualities required of the sport, in a safe way.

In some sports you can easily monitor the compiled workload over time and adjust the training intensity so that you maximize performance and minimize injuries. These are closed sports, for example weight lifting or power lifting, where you always know the conditions beforehand and you easily can adjust the load on the bar, even between sets.

Some sports doesn’t put a lot of strain on structures in the body and can be done in higher volumes without increasing the risk of injury, for example swimming, cross country skiing or cycling.

The gym is a great place to go to if you want to get stronger with minimal risk of injuries. Contrary to popular beliefs lifting heavy isn’t linked to injury proneness if it’s done right, with good technique and proper programming you can get great results without risking your career. So if the sport you’re doing demands you to be stronger (for example to stick a landing) it’s safer and more beneficial to go to the gym and get stronger legs than it is to try to stick that landing until you’re strong enough.

The gym is also a great place to go to work on stuff that you don’t get to do in your sport specific training. For example if you’re a golfer you always swing in the same direction and therefore you get different training on both sides of your body, if you swing left you get twisted a bit to the left. To compensate for the golfing it can be beneficial to even out the strength in your body to be even on both sides, since too much discrepancy could lead to pain and injuries.

So, do snowboarders need to go to the gym?      -Yes and no.

If you can vary your training and workload on snow and progressively work your way up to bigger jumps and more intensity in your training both regular and goofy, in a structured way to minimize risk of injury. Sure, then you probably can do without the gym and any off snow training. But who rides like that?

So yes, you probably could do with some strength training before you hit the big jumps.

And here a lot of people point to skaters doing just skateboarding and being fine with it. And I have to claim that skateboarding is not snowboarding and that it isn’t as important for skaters to go to the gym as it is for snowboarders and here’s why: Skateboarding has a built in progression that snowboarding doesn’t because skateboarding is harder. In skateboarding you can’t go from ollieing a curb to ollieing eleven steps of stairs, hell, you probably can’t go from ollieing a curb to ollieing two steps of stairs without a lot of practice. So for each step you learn to ollie you have to do a lot of repetitions on the level you’re at, thus getting a lot of sport specific strength without overloading. And this is the key. In snowboarding, all you have to do to go from a small jump to a big jump is to get more speed, more or less. This means that you, in a matter of minutes, can expose your body to forces much higher than it ever has experienced and never gotten the time to get strong enough to handle. So yes, go to the gym snowboarder person.


What to do and what not to do, in the gym.

Getting back to the SAID-principle. If you want to get a little bit deeper into the implications of the SAID-principle it states that qualities aren’t always fluid in the way that getting better at one thing automatically makes you better at another. For example there is a correlation between leg strength and vertical jump height but just working on your squat max or leg press max doesn’t necessarily give you a better vertical jump. That’s because you haven’t been training on implementing your newly gained leg strength in the movement and speed that is a vertical jump. To get vertical jump gains you need to specifically work on the vertical jump movement and do so close to the speed that you will use when you tet your vertical jump.

With this in mind it’s easy to think that your strength training should aim to mimic the sport you’re training for as much as possible. And here is where I think some coaches takes specificity to unnecessary excess and makes strength training too complicated to get good gains.

In my mind we should, through knowing the sports demands, work on getting strong in movements necessary in the sport. We should also train our muscles in the contraction time most important to the sport. For example: Is it more important that your muscles have good endurance for repeated sprints or is it more important to be able to exert or withstand a maximal force in a minimal timeframe?

This doesn’t mean that we should get our snowboards in to the gym and start doing some circusy exercises that means you can’t put on any load due to instability. A lot of coaches uses balance balls and unstable materials to work on stability, first and foremost foot and knee stability. And they have their athletes standing on those until they are tired and learn to hold their balance. The problem is that when they really need that “stability” in their sport isn’t when you try to hold your balance on an unstable ground but in a change of direction or in a fall or in a battle with an opponent. And there you don’t have the time to find your balance and the forces are multitudes higher than those you will get on the balance ball. So maybe a better use of time would have been jumps, changes in direction, and squats with focus on speed to really strengthen the muscles instead of balancing like a circus elephant.

Don’t get me wrong, balance balls and their likes do have their place in sports, but then in rehab and not in sport preparatory strength training.

Specificity tips and tricks

The first thing to do is to analyze your sport. What forces do you face? Do you have to have endurance, stamina or maximal strength? What movements are key to the sport?

The second thing to do is to find your strengths and weaknesses within the sport. Do you have to be stronger, more agile, faster or have better stamina?

Once you have done this you can start to choose exercises to strengthen those specific qualities you want to work on.Off snow it’s a matter of good periodization and priority. Favor the training that trains the qualities you want to be better at and put the rest of your training on maintenance. If you want to get stronger legs, put an emphasis on a squat program and do less cardio. Remember the SAID principle, your body adapts to the demands it is presented with. You have to focus your effort where it matters.

When you have the opportunity to snowboard I of course think that you should snowboard as much as physically possible. This is the most sport specific training you could do and you have to train the qualities you want to better so…Furthermore if you try to stuff a lot of strength and endurance training in to the season when you snowboard the most, you probably will end upp either injured or exhausted due to overloading and lack of time for recovery. The training you do during the season should be aimed at either variety, recovery or light technique work.

Remember that you train to snowboard, not the other way around!





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Posted by Markus on

Barbell Warmup

Here’s a short clip of a warmup for snatching or squatting. You can also use it as a dynamic stretching exercise, especially if you aim for a better range of motion in your squat or snatch.

The warmup consists of:

3 sets of:

5 tall snatches, or muscle snatches whatever you prefer calling it.

5 overhead squats

5 snatch grip sots presses 

If you don’t know what this means you can check it out in the video!

Try it out and tell me what you think.

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Posted by Markus on

The snowboarder physique part 2, acrobatics

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!

Have a great summer!


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Posted by Markus on

Just starting out training? – This is what you should do

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.

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