Power and speed
Snowboarding can involve a lot of very explosive movements that have to be performed quickly, sometimes in complex sequences, so finding a way to develop this very specific type of fitness is important if you want to ride at your best.
Power is potentially the most functional type for fitness. If two people can both squat 100kg they are just as strong as each other but if one person takes 2 seconds to lift it and the other takes 4 seconds, the first person is twice as powerful. Jump higher, spin faster and stomp your landings by becoming more powerful.
So here are the basic rules:
Any exercise where you have to create a good amount of force very quickly is going to increase your power. For example a press up can be performed slowly to increase stability, endurance, hypertrophy or strength depending on intensity. A clap push takes a lot more power as you have to push yourself up quick enough to get in to the air and then when you land decelerate yourself quickly so you don’t hit the floor. This is a great power exercise but you can imagine how you can adapt many movements to specifically achieve power. Elastic resistance bands make ideal power tools because they are a lot more robust than cables when working at speed and can create resistance in any plane of movement.
Plyometrics are very important in power development. A pylometrics exercise incorporates the stretch shortening cycle (SSC) to increase muscle recruitment and firing speed.
A good example of how plyometrics work to develop power is with a squat jump. Hold a 90 degree static squat for 5 seconds, then jump as high as possible. Now jump off a step of about 12 inches and as soon as you land explode into a vertical jump as high as possible. You will jump higher when you jump off the step because you utilise your SSC. The effect plyometrics have is they speed up your muscle contractions. Obviously muscles that can contract faster will help you run faster, push harder, jump further and so on. This is why power training is so important in sport and normally why plyometrics play a large part in those programmes.
Power training involves high intensity and complex movements so the volume must be kept low. To start with your focus should be on quality over quantity. Make sure your movement is perfect as if it’s not you will slow down your results and limit how well you can do. You need to really concentrate when doing power exercises so if you are fatigued from a high volume of training then you have no chance of performing any good quality power exercise.
If you are looking to perform a single action of power, like a hundred meter run or a long jump then you can stick to high intensity low volume training with plenty of rest in between each set. If you need to be able to perform multiple sprints one after another, similar to what is required in snowboarding, then you need to first develop max power and then develop power endurance. Before getting someone good at running fast multiple times you have to get them good at running fast once. Start by training for max power and then move on to power endurance.
Complex training program
Complex training is popular amongst elite athletes because in minimal time it can help to develop strength, power and speed all at the same time. You can use most equipment to help make the exercises more interesting and achieve great results. The basic idea of complex training is to perform 5 reps with a heavy load to fire up loads of muscle and then perform 10 reps of the same movement pattern explosively. Do develop maximum strength and power you can lift massive weights for the 5 heavy reps, then perform the 10 explosive reps and have a good 1-2 minutes rest before your next set. If you want to develop power endurance then perform the first 5 reps with a bit less weight and perform all the exercises as a circuit with no rest. Follow this simple circuit and you will see some outstanding results which will transfer directly to your riding. Try to do between 5 and 6 sets of the circuit.
5 Reps x Press ups – 10 Reps x Clap press ups
5 Reps x Squats – 10 Reps x Squat jumps
5 Reps x Pull ups – 10 Reps x Inverted rows
5 Reps x Static lunges L+R – 10 Reps x Alternate lunge jump