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Snowboarding Injury Prevention: Key Exercises to Ride Safe This Season

Snowboarding Injury Prevention: Key Exercises to Ride Safe This Season

This winter, El Ninõ is expected to bring one of the better snowboarding seasons California has had. Shredding the fresh powder with friends can be exhilarating, but it can also be dangerous for your body. It requires strong core and lower body control, while maintaining an edge, which requires prolonged exertion of the ankle muscles. Also, the fact that your feet are tied down to the board can put you at a great risk for knee injuries if you take a tumble.

The following exercises are designed to improve your core and lower body strength and dynamic control to decrease the risk of snowboarding injuries.

Hip Flexor Stretch, Adductor Stretch, Piriformis Stretch, and Gap Stretch

Strength cannot be achieved without adequate flexibility. These stretches will not only improve your hip mobility but also improve activation and control of the core and gluteal muscles.

Hip Flexor Stretch

While kneeling, lean forward and bend your front knee until a stretch is felt along the front of the other hip.

Adductor Stretch

  1. Start in a standing position and feet spread wide apart. Next, slowly bend your knee to allow for a gentle stretch of the opposite leg.
  2. Maintain a straight knee on the target leg the entire time. You should feel a stretch on the inner thigh.

Piriformis Stretch

While lying on your back, hold your knee with your opposite hand and draw your knee up and over towards your opposite shoulder.

Gap Stretch

  1. Swing your top leg across your body while your other leg remains straight.
  2. The arm that is on the same side as your top leg moves in the opposite direction and your head follows.
  3. Hold stretch felt in lower back and top leg

Booty Busters

This is a series of functional closed-chain exercises. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps of each exercise.

Squat

  1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart, maintain ankles, knees and hips in line.
  2. Squat down with a straight spine, hinging at the hips.
  3. Do not let your knees pass your toes
  4. Squat down like you are about to sit down.

For more information on squats, check out our blog on the perfect squat HERE!

Stanky Leg

  1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart and ankles, knees, and hips in line.
  2. Gently bring one knee out to the side by rotating at the hip and let it return to the original position in a controlled manner, as if you’re doing the “stanky legs” dance move.
  3. This will focus on hip external rotators to prevent excessive dynamic valgus of the knee, which is often the cause of ACL/MCL tear.

Stationary Monster Walks

  1. Starting with feet shoulder width apart and ankles, knees, and hips in line, step one foot back diagonally in a 45 degree angle (back and to the side)
  2. Return to the original position.
  3. Repeat on the other side.
  4. Step forward and front diagonally at a 45 degree angle and return, then repeat on the other side.

This exercise again focuses on hip musculature to stabilize the lower extremities. Maintain core tightness.

Single Leg Dead Lifts

This is another functional exercise focusing on hip and knee control while the foot is on the ground. Focus on not letting your knee move inward and maintaining a stable core.

  1. While standing on one leg, bend forward towards touching the ground as you extend your leg behind you.
  2. Then return to the original position.
  3. Keep your legs straight and maintain your balance the entire time.

Bird Dogs

Focus on keeping the core tight while moving the legs and arms. This will work on your dynamic core stability and coordination.

  1. While in a crawling position, slowly draw your leg and opposite arm upwards.
  2. Your arm and leg should be straight and fully out-stretched.

Heel/Toe Walks

Maintaining an edge requires prolonged exertion of dorsiflexors and plantarflexors. Practice these walks to improve endurance and strength of these muscles.

Heel Walks

  1. Raise up your toes and walk on your heels.
  2. Take few steps forward and then a few steps backwards.

Toe Walks

  1. Raise up your heels and walk on your toes.
  2. Take few steps forward and then a few steps backwards.

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David Ha, PT, DPT
In David’s spare time, he enjoys working out, going to the beach, golfing, and snowboarding. He also tries to pick up his lacrosse stick and go out on the field to shoot when he can.