Pilates for Snowboarding

Heidi Toelle snowboarding.jpg

You know what’s cool about a holistic health and fitness regimen? Realizing that what you’re doing in the Pilates studio and in the kitchen are fully translating over to other areas of your life. This snowboarding season, when you get on the slopes, you’ll think to yourself, “Wow—my Pilates practice really took me to the next level on my board, this year!” And every single word of it will be true.

As you well know, one doesn’t just up and decide to snowboard—your body has to be ready for the wild twists and turns this adventurous sport will bring. Success on the slopes means that your body, from top to bottom, must be strong and stable--and your mind has to be ready for a challenge, as well--if you’re going to stay upright and impress yourself by landing some new tricks. Let’s take a look at how putting in work in the Pilates studio can mean your best season ever. If you’re new to the sport, Pilates can be the difference between staying on your feet and becoming Insta-famous for epic face-plants.

1.     Agility—One of the coolest things about the sport of snowboarding is the way it looks! Who hasn’t watched one of these athletes do their thing and thought to themselves, “Man, it’d be awesome to do that!” The reason it looks so impressive is the massive amount of agility involved. When someone can navigate their way through the snow, knowing how and when to move to avoid any glitch that can take them down, especially while wearing all that gear, is all because of their level of agility. Pilates improves agility through its various lengthening movements, like Leg Circles and Double Straight-Leg Stretch.

2.     Core strength—If you plan on nailing those ollies and nollies--or just staying upright, for that matter--then your core better be on point. Your core is your powerhouse, and if it lacks strength, the time you spend on your board will involve much more work than pleasure. Because of all the rotating this activity involves, you’ll need a solid measure of core strength, endurance, and flexibility. The Hundred, Roll-Up, and Teaser II are all moves to give you just that.

3.     Stability and balance for posture-One of the biggest mistakes snowboarders make when starting out is not remaining diligent about their posture. Bad habits like bending at the waist and back instead of bending at the knees and hips, putting too much weight on one foot or the other, and lacking fluidity to adjust to the changing terrain will keep you on the beginner slopes much longer than you really need to be. To improve your posture, work on your stability and balance. Strength in these areas will give you the confidence you need to slice through the snow and ice almost effortlessly. Exercises like the Corkscrew, Side Plank, Standing Leg Extension will teach you to recruit the correct muscle groups to maintain your position as you snowboard.

4.     Lower body strength—If you’ve ever spent a day snowboarding, you know that if you’re not in shape, you spent the next day nursing your sore legs and butt. We know it’s obvious, but if you think you’re going to skip leg day because it’s not bikini season, you got another thing coming. Head on over to your studio and get your instructor recommended dosage of Bridges and Leg Raise variations, in order to hit those limbs from all angles. You’ll be glad you did.

Jessica Notman