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Posted by Markus on

My stance on stance

Your stance on your snowboard should be dictated by your body, your riding style and your personal preferences. However I believe that there are some misconceptions about stance that I will bring up here. 

The preferred stance of most snowboarders is as much a result of the current fashion in snowboarding as it is their own choice. For example: about ten years ago people thought that you looked like a geek if you didn’t ride the widest possible stance on your board. Some snowboarders couldn’t ride certain brands because their boards didn’t allow for a 64cm (25,2”) stance. Everyone claimed that particular stance to be their own choice and what felt best for them as well as being really good for allround riding. After the “wide stance era” the pendulum swung back the other way and suddenly everyone preferred a tight stance, making it nearly impossible to bend your knees, but it got you that tight pants rocker skater look. Of course everyone claimed that they had their own individual stance and that their choice wasn’t a consequence of trends or fashion. Besides, tight stance is a really allround stance that works for everything! Nowadays most snowboarders don’t go past 59cm (23”) and almost everyone thinks that Shaun White has too wide of a stance and that it looks weird.

Here is a video of me from 2008 with what, at the time, wasn’t considered a wide stance. I think I had another spare 5cm worth of stance on that board!
Looks pretty wide to me in today’s context.

The preferred binding angles also changes with fashion, although it seems like the space for personal preference seems to be a bit wider here. In the glory days of halfpipe riding, around 2000-2004, most riders adopted a square or slightly positive angle on the back foot, with the front foot being fairly forward pointing with angles of around 21-24 degrees. When rail riding and park riding became more popular and park boards became synonymous with “true twin” snowboards most people felt the urge to have a duck stance, in order to make their switch riding as good as their normal stance, of course. Even people who rarely rode switch needed a twin board with a twin stance, because that’s what everyone rode. The duck stance is to this day the most widely adopted stance with 15, -15 degrees being perhaps the most common set-up.

The case in favor of a duck stance

Standing about shoulder width apart, pointing your toes a bit outward and bending your knees, while keeping your weight distributed equally on both feet puts you in an “athletic position” or “athletic stance”. This stance is widely used and teached throughout a variety of sports. The point of this stance is putting you in a position where you are ready to react to changes in the game and move whichever way needed. For example: tennis players waiting for a serve or a basketball player in defense mode, or just how most people stand when performing a heavy squat. When we use the duck stance on a snowboard we are in a strong position biomechanically and are “ready” to ride both goofy and regular, without feeling that we are backing up when riding switch.

Great! Everyone should ride with duck stance right?

It’s not that simple unfortunately.

Most sports adopting this stance are sports that are performed on feet where a change of direction needs to be made in a split second. When snowboarding you seldom need to start riding switch all of a sudden. Most of the time it’s a choice made by you in order to make your riding more varied. Being able to keep riding the way you do is much more stable than switching around all of a sudden, even if it is good to be able to ride well both goofy and regular if a situation like that should occur.

Another thing that sets us boarders apart from other sports is that we perform our sport standing sideways. Most sports and games performed on feet are performed with your chest facing the way you want to go, with some exceptions of course. Pointing our bodies in the direction we perform our sport is harder with a duck stance since your back foot is always turned away from the direction you are riding. This makes us a bit less agile and smooth in our riding. 

A duck stance aren’t as good to carve with as a stance with positive angles on both feet. This is because you can’t use your hips as much to tilt your board and create pressure on the board’s edges. This problem is most evident on the heelside turn. This is why alpine snowboarders have positive degrees on both of their bindings, to make the toeside turn and the heelside turn more alike. What they sacrifice with their bindings  being pointed a lot forward is stability. 

In conclusion: Duck stance is stable and strong but less agile. It is a compromise to make it easier riding both ways. 

Why did you do that?

I have a feeling that the duck stance have become the standard, go-to,  stance for snowboarders even though they rarely ride switch or even have a board that is not made for riding switch. 

Pictures from

I like the trend in snowboarding that has been going on some years with manufacturers experimenting with different board shapes and sizes and are moving away from having twelve different park boards in their lineup. However when I see these boards ridden at resorts they often are set up with a standard 15, -15 stance. This makes no sense at all! Firstly, these boards aren’t even made to be ridden switch, some don’t even have a tail to speak of. And secondly, if you ride switch you do it a fraction of the time you spend riding, do you even need to compromise to make it feel better?
(Most people who think they ride a lot switch probably rides 80% their natural way)

Compromising means that you give up something to make something else a bit better. It won’t be ideal for anything but it also wont straight up suck for anything either. If you have a super directional board and put a twin stance on it, you compromise your ability to turn efficiently and wont’t get as much out of the board as you could have. If you buy a board to carve with or to ride pow with, why wouldn’t you put a stance on there that makes the board perform well when carving, or that makes you more agile while slashing between trees?

If you have a race car you don’t put mud tires on it “just in case”. 

Your stance isn’t perfect for you

Many snowboarders seem to think that the stance they have chosen is the one best suited for them in all conditions. This is simply not true. Yes, if you have ridden a stance for a long while it might feel odd to change it and you might feel really comfortable riding everything with it. But it isn’t perfect for anything if you have a symmetrical duck stance. It is as “perfect” for you as the 64cm stances was for everyone ten years back.

Think about it like this: If you have the ability to change your performance to the better in less than five minutes (the time it takes to change your stance set-up), why wouldn’t you do it?

When it has dumped a meter of snow, why wouldn’t you take your powder board? Or if you have one snowboard: Why wouldn’t you set back your bindnings and go with a more directional stance?

As snowboarders we have a really good opportunity to change our set-up on the fly. We can make it suit a more park-oriented riding style where we compromise some performance to be able to ride switch more comfortably, and we can change our set-up to make monster carves, just by doing a bit of screwing.

Experiment and become a better snowboarder

I understand that it is a hassle to change your stance all the time but I think you should do it at least once in a while to become more comfortable with different stances.  This will not only give you the opportunity to move in different ways on your snowboard, but it will also make it feel good switching stance for a given purpose. “Now it’s carving time, so I’ll bring out my carving stance”.

Be creative, not only with your riding, but also with your equipment and reap the benefits of being a more allround snowboarder.

Side note:
I read or heard an interview with Scotty Wittlake once where he talked about stance and why having a positive angle on the back foot gives you the ability to do better methods. I can’t find it, but if anyone knows which one it is, please point me in the right direction

Anyway, Scotty is right. Stiff boots and duck stance is not a perfect set-up for a method which is why a lot of snowboarders perform the method differently than their forefathers. If you want to get that old school Chris Roach style of “grasser” method with a straighter back leg you will struggle if you have stiff boots, and duck stance. If you want to tweak with ease, you’ll have to  either untie your boots or put your back binding a bit more forward pointing to be able to kick the back leg out more. Or just have a knee that bends sideways, that works too.

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Posted by Markus on

Intervju med Fat and Furious

Bröderna Abbe och Theo Hjellström bildar snowboardduon Fat and Furious som har skämt bort oss med kul och kreativa snowboardedits förra säsongen. I år är de tillbaka med ett nytt filmprojekt som kallas Full Party.

Både Abbe och Theo har åkt snowboard på skoltid under sina gymnasieår i Malung, Abbe på Freeridegymnasiet och Theo på Snowboardgymnasiet RIG. Jag tog ett snack med dem efter att de premiärvisat sin film för de nuvarande eleverna på Malungs gymnasieskola.

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Posted by Markus on

Quick Crossfit Inspired Workout

Here’s a workout I did yesterday inspired by crossfit videos on youtube.

It’s a quickie and will get your back and glutes fired up!

For time:

5 rounds of

10 kettlebell snatches

10 walking sandbag lunges

20 meter rope pull


Try it out if you can!


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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

This is the blog

I might be the last person on earth getting a blog.

So, here I am.

The reason I felt the need to start a blog is that I would like to have an outlet where I can post things that interest me, that I want to share with others, people like you. At the same time I felt like I would like to expand my business on the side of my “daytime job” and needed a website. So i decided to start this blog/website and se how it works out. This also lets me be more personal in my personal social media channels, and more business-y on here.

So I hope you will enjoy this blog. And if you don’t maybe you find something on here that leads you to a blog or a page you enjoy more.


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