Snowboarding is a sport, so naturally you use muscles when riding.
And it’s clear that muscle characteristics affect your performance.
Human muscles are actually divided into 2 types.
Here, I’ll simply explain the difference between the two types.
These kinds of muscles are used in powerful bursts of strength.
However, because they use so much energy they can’t be used for extended periods of time.
They’re powerful, but they won’t last long.
And that is why during your normal daily life these aren’t used too much.
The muscles that you grow through training are these “Fast Muscles.”
These are the opposite, they can last a long time but can’t give large bursts of strength.
These “slow muscles” are used primarily in cardio, but they don’t actually grow any bigger when you work them out.
The number one example that comes to mind when thinking of a sport that requires these muscles is a marathon.
Surprisingly, not many people know about these.
On top of that, the ratio of how much you have of each varies from person to person.
You can probably tell by observing different kinds of sports.
For example, participants in marathons and sprints may both “run”, but their bodies are completely different.
In boxing there’s more variation than just lightweight and heavyweight classes, competitor’s performance styles are also completely different.
I had a time back when I was teaching students and measuring the differences in their performance, where I asked myself why some of them can and can’t do certain things.
I remember how hard it was being able to see why “This student can’t copy and do what that student is doing”, but not being able to logically explain it to them with words.
Of course there were some mental reasons preventing me, but there were other reasons why I couldn’t form a coherent explanation.
And while I continued to study them, I learned about the existence of “Fast and Slow Muscles.”
Just like the runners or the boxers I wrote about earlier, I noticed that what if I chose the best ways to bring out my students best performance?
For example, a lot of my students wanted to compete and many of them were the very image of a top athlete.
It was obvious that a triple cork 1620 would use fast muscles.
It would be very difficult for people with slow muscles to Takeoff and spin the board so fiercely while keeping and fine tuning their balance mid air.
Fast muscles work well with exercise that’s strong and fast.
People that have a lot of these could get close to top snowboarding athlete performance.
On the other hand, if you don’t have many of these muscles that means your road to having top athlete performance will be a long one.
Still, even if you don’t have many fast muscles you can do some cool snowboarding.
Snowboarding, unlike gymnastics, is a sport where you’re also evaluated by how cool and artistic your performance is.
For example, pro riders show videos of themselves doing 180 and 360 spins.
It’s because this trick is so simple that you have more time to show how cool it is.
But with the 1620 they’re spinning so fast that you don’t have the time to see how cool it is.
That’s why nowadays there’s a lot of doubt surrounding those tricks.
I’m sure you’ve already noticed but, this is a hint that performances that are not only effected by the difference of “Fast and Slow Muscles” that you have.
In other words, even if you have a low amount of fast muscles you, it’s a good idea to aim for taking things slowly and making your performance as artistic and cool as possible.
A lot of my students didn’t have very many fast muscles, but they still aimed at being top athletes.
But I couldn’t just tell them “You need to change your performance style because you don’t have enough fast muscles.”
I couldn’t say it because the process for aiming to be a top athlete is something where you need to exceed your own limits.
However when they started to learn what they’re really good at, that’s when I was able to tell them this.
I think that many of you are in the same situation as a lot of my students were, you feel like you’re making slow progress once you’ve hit the intermediate level.
To continue having fun with snowboarding it’s really important to continue to challenge yourself.
Because that feeling you get when you overcome something difficult is very important.
At the same time, try to start injecting a little “cool” factor into what you’re doing.
Even if you don’t have a lot of fast muscles you can still do high level snowboarding.
The respect you earn from being cool hasn’t changed in the snowboarding world.
The style of what’s cool may change every now and then, but something that stays constantly cool is how well your balance is and how well your movements flow during your performance.
Even if you do simple tricks, if you do them relaxed and cleanly then they’ll surely become “cool” tricks.
Even if you can’t do high spins or difficult butter tricks, there’s a lot of fun to be had in simple and slow snowboarding!
The Pros snowboard with stability.
They look like they never fall.
“How can I snowboard like that?”
How can intermediate snowboarders gain riding-sense close to that of the pros?
This time, let's think about the body's intuition from a mechanical stand point.
Pro-Snowboarding is stability.
You probably understand it as having good total balance right?
In order to maintain balance, you need to have a good base as the foundation.
Your “footing” is your base for the majority of the time you are snowboarding.
Strong footing makes up for a good portion of this total balance.
Having good balance will come when your centre of gravity is in alignment with something else.
Having bad balance is when your centre of gravity is out of alignment with something else.
What is this “something else” you ask?
The answer is “External Force.”
"What is the External force in Snowboarding?"
It's probably hard to understand right?
External force changes while you are snowboarding.
For example, if you are standing level, “gravity” is the external force.
If you are turning, then “centrifical force” contributes to the external force.
External force is not unidirectional, but is a combination of other external forces that change the direction and strength of the pressures being exerted on your centre of gravity.
Depending on either of these situations, your centre of gravity changes position with respect to this external force.
When your centre of gravity is even and straight with respect to these external forces, then, you can say that balance is good.
However, if your footing is unstable when adjusting your balance, then it is easy to lose balance.
So, in what circumstances can you say that you have strong footing?
"How can we get a Strong Footing?"
To start, in order to control your balance as the external forces change, you need your feet firmly planted on the ground to provide a strong base to push against.
Often times snowboarders will still continue to crouch down as the jump pushes them upwards
What happens if the jump forces the snowboarder up even though they are continuing to crouch?
In this situation the rider will not be properly opposing the external force created by gravity and the rising of the terrain.
This will cause the rider to be pushed downward as they ride off the lip causing a loss of balance and improper air trajectory.
Even at the very least, since gravitational force is always pulling us downward, we must resist it.
That is the reason why the lower half of the body must always be firmly planted.
No resistance is created beneath the feet when you move in the same direction as gravity.
However, when you move in the opposite direction of gravity, then pressure is created beneath the feet.
This pressure if used correctly will allow the rider to stay balanced.
While turning, continuing to get low only causes pulling by centrifugal force.
This doesn't cause resistance beneath the feet.
However, while turning, you resist centrifugal force by keeping your feet planted and centre of gravity leaning in opposition, thus force is created beneath the feet keeping the rider in a balanced upright position.
This is a very important key in order to have solid footing.
Be sure to remember this!
With regard to external force, even if you are able to ride with a good centre of gravity, if you don't fine tune your body's position to oppose external force, you won't be able to maintain your balance.
The parts of the body that handle the adjustment of this balance is the upper body, head, and knees.
Since the upper body is in a higher position than the lower body, when it receives shock, it sways more than the lower body.
When adjustments aren't made, balance is lost.
All of the impact that the upper-body takes is in waves.
If these waves are in agreement, the shock becomes greater, but it is possible to counteract them.
In the ocean, waves are constantly moving together and nullifying each other.
It's the same thing with snowboarding.
In order to counteract these waves, you have to move in a way that counteracts them.
Relaxing makes this possible.
If you relax your muscles your body will move more easily to counteract changes in external force
The image you should have in mind is each bone of the spine moving like a wave.
It's just like a concrete building in an earthquake or a bar.
If your upper-body is stiff and tense while riding, your body will easily be thrown off balance
These are some key points that have been said in Japanese martial arts and probably should be applied in other sports as well.
With these 3 points, you can gain riding sense similar to that of the pros that you haven't been able to feel up until now at the intermediate level.
1. Align your body's centre of gravity with external force
2. Keep your feet planted to gain strong footing
3. Relax your upper body to keep balanced
Standing, walking, running, rotating the body.
In your own private life, by being conscious of these things in all situations, you will be able to see results in even in your snowboarding, so be sure to put them into practice in your everyday simple movements.
This is Part 2 of my previous tutorial, “Do Freestyle Snowboarders Need Physical Training?”
This time, let's think about what kind of results we can derive from Running.
When I say, “derive,” I'm talking about the results you can get out of your heart and lung function.
When you strengthen your heart and lung function, what kind of benefits are there?
They can be found in the increased amount of blood that is pumped at one time from your heart. You could also say that it's the amount of oxygen that is pumped into your bloodstream.
It's probably easier to think of it as having trained your heart muscles.
Oxygen has a very important role in that it is converted to energy within the body.
Energy gained from oxygen is necessary for muscle strength, the brain's ability to concentrate, etc.
When your oxygen supply decreases, it's easier to get tired and your ability to sustain concentration decreases.
You can support all of this by merely doing aerobic exercise like running, etc.
Anaerobic exercise creates a situation in which the oxygen supply doesn't make it to the muscles in time. There are types of anaerobic exercise that involve running, but these fall under short-distance sprints, mid-distance sprints, and muscle training for example.
When it comes to snowboarding, long free-riding and powder-riding for example, fall under the category of a wall sit.
Explosive running, causes an anaerobic type of situation in which the oxygen supply doesn't make it to the muscles in time. Because of this, the body uses sugar and fat stored in the muscles and organs for energy. Since the oxygen can't make it in time, the body borrows these as an energy source.
"Anaerobic" or "Aerobic"?
I think that both aerobic and anaerobic exercise are both necessary components of snowboarding, but depending on the style of snowboarding, I would have to say that for the most part, it is aerobic exercise that is important.
However, being in love with turning and doing nothing but powder-riding and carving turns becomes mostly anaerobic exercise for the lower-body. For these types of snowboarders, explosive running and muscle training are probably effective.
If possible, anaerobic-type training is best done with a trainer around.
In free-style snowboarding, like park riding for example, there is not enough time for the body to go into an anaerobic state while riding. So, if these riders are going to exercise, it might be best for them to do a lot of aerobic exercise that will allow them to maintain the ability to concentrate. For example, it would be good if they could jog every day for 30 minutes to an hour at an intensity of 60 to 70 percent.
How can we train?
If you're able to, it's best to train in the off-season.
It is effective to train in the gym with a regular training regimen, but if you can, it would be preferable to have a regimen that is compatible with snowboarding exercises.
This is something that everyone who snowboards knows more-so than trainers.
When training in the gym with actual snowboarding moves, adding weight little-by-little and focusing on training a little faster and stronger than usual with good-balanced movement, you can be certain that you will see results out on the snow.
When training in the gym with actual snowboarding moves, you can try things like adding weight little by little and focus on training a little faster and harder than usual. While doing this, be sure to keep good-balanced movement in mind. If you do this, then you can be certain that you will see results out on the snow.
However, thought-out, snowboard-centered, physical training, is full of necessary components for improvement such as technique and balance, instinctive sense, and building a good mental game.
With specialized trainers, when you want to show off your best performance, they have a polished technique for building the optimal physical and mental state.
So, do we need Physical training?
In order to determine whether or not physical training is necessary, you won't know until you have tried and experienced it yourself.
It's for certain that even if you train recklessly, you won't see any results, so it's necessary to study hard on your own or try to consult with a specialist.
And more importantly, I must say that for people who aren't consistent with training, it's only a waste of time.
Actually, in order for us to verify whether or not top-athletes need physical training, the only thing we can do is to thoroughly analyze their movements. When we do this, we should analyze and understand: when and what kind of movement, how strong is it and what direction, and for that movement and intensity, is physical training necessary. Then, we can classify each aspect of their performance, apply the necessary training components, and categorize it. Lastly, we adjust the exercise load to match our own physical strength.
This is something that a sports trainer at the gym cannot do.
If you ask a trainer to make a training regimen for you, usually, you will end up with a training routine that is for your average athlete.
Because of this, there are many athletes who can't really utilize the muscle that they have built when it's time to perform.
So, what kind of training should you do specifically?
We'll talk about that in a different tutorial.
This is something that most snowboarders in the world contemplate over.
After all, it is an Olympic sport... Shouldn't you train for it just like any other competitive event?
Do the top athletes actually train?
I can't say for sure because I don't understand how much the pros actually train myself.
It's extremely hard to tell to how much physical training actually influences performance.
Some of my students belong to the Japanese National Team, and they continue to train hard.
On the other hand, some of my other students, who participate in the video world, don't train at all.
Personally, I would say that physical preparation equates to snowboarding on a better snowboard.
Again, when comparing snowboarding and physical training to a car, it's like building a car with better parts.
As for a simple trick in simple conditions, it's hard to tell whether or not a better snowboard could increase your performance.
However, the higher the level of performance and tougher the circumstances, the more that difference comes to the surface.
For example, what if athletes participating in the World Cup use a snowboard that was made for beginners?
What if cars that debut in today's F1 races were made from materials that were used to make race cars 50 years ago?
That being the case, if it's only for your ordinary snowboarder to have fun, then simple daily stretching, walking, etc. might just be plenty enough.
However, if even for a moment, your average snowboarder puts an effort into practicing, it is for certain that his or her limits will be tested and pushed quite a bit.
Even when training for just a little bit like this, your rate of improvement would be higher than normal.
The reason for this is that it's the same as “riding in a good car” right?
Skillful, intuitive, athletic sense can make up for a top-level world athlete's physical shortcomings.
An example of this would be like having a good driver, but not a good car to ride in.
Therefore, you might be able to say that there are athletes who think that they do not need special physical training.
Tadashi Fuse says with confidence that, “I put physical training into actual snowboarding.”
He puts those words into action by snowboarding hard every day (and not just your usual snowboarding).
Of course, this type of training is not something that your everyday snowboarder can imitate. It appears that even people that snowboard and associate with him regularly simply just cannot follow along.
People that train like this give off the impression that they work this hard even when doing live photography and filming sessions.
There's probably no better way to train than this right?
The necessary performance ability is gained during necessary exercise. There is no room for wasted effort in this kind of training.
However, this is not something that people who only snowboard once a week can do.
So, how can your serious or average snowboarder train effectively without any waste?
Actually, it's simple.
You merely do an exercise routine that is exactly the same as snowboarding itself. During exercise you apply a burden equivalent to that of your snowboard and use the same direction, same speed movements, and furthermore, maintain balance.
To put it simply, you include the same weight as your snowboard when training your tecnique
I'll introduce and explain this thoroughly in a different tutorial, so please have a look.
To speak more from a training standpoint, rather than being a sport that is influenced by physical strength, Freestyle Snowboarding is a sport of balance.
For that reason, increasing muscle size and mass are not always effective. Believe it or not, big muscle can cause a loss of speed and furthermore, changes the body's balance.
You don't particularly need a strong upper-body, but you need muscle that supports your joints which in turn, will prevent injury. You also need muscle that will allow you to move quickly.
As for the lower-body, it should be muscular enough to absorb the heavy impact of landings and takeoffs, however muscle strength that will allow you to move in a quick rhythm is preferable.
The core of the body is extremely strong and connects the upper and lower body, but needs muscle that has quick response, agility, and flexibility.
It may seem obvious, but the larger your range of movement, the easier it becomes to adjust balance. The more your range of balance increases, falls become fewer and your risk of injury also decreases. By stretching every day, you can expand the mobility of your joints and muscles.
It's also important to keep in mind that if you don't have the image of sliding on the slopes during training, you won't be able to fully utilize the muscle that you have trained inside the gym outside on the snow.
Therefore, be sure to execute your training with an actual image of riding on the slopes.
When it comes time to snowboard, even if you have incorporated snowboard movements into your training, you won't be able to fully utilize the muscles you trained in the gym without having the picture in your head of how your training will translate to the slopes.
This is a definite fact from my experience that has cultivated athletes for more than 10 years.
Next time, we'll think about what kind of results you can expect from running.
What kind of training should I do specifically? We'll talk about that in a different tutorial!
I’m going to answer some of the question you guys asked on my blog!
This time, how effective off season training is.
I’ve heard that skateboarding and the trampoline are good as off season practice but, which one do you think is better? I’d really like to know!
It’s a good question.
These two activities are well known for improving your snowboarding skills during the off season.
But why do these 2 in particular help you improve?
Knowing the reason will surely help you further improve.
Common points between skateboarding and snowboarding are:
Skateboarding helps out with your balance and movement control, which can translate to free riding and approaching to the jump in snowboarding.
In short, it helps you strengthen your base of support while you’re riding thanks to no bindings on skateboard. I think this is the biggest pay off you can get from skateboarding.
Doing an ollie while skateboarding certainly isn’t simple, but if you’re even an intermediate snowboarder you’ve probably already done them on the snow.
Jumping with both feet while snowboarding (called a pop) is good, but if you can do an ollie it’s possible to further improve your control.
Also if you’re advanced enough, your movement when you spin while skateboarding can be of tremendous help to your spin tricks when you’re snowboarding.
That being said, you don’t have to focus too much on it if you want to train off season.
Now then, what about the trampoline?
It’s pretty simple really.
Jumping on the trampoline helps you with control mid air.
Unlike skateboarding, when you use the trampoline your feet aren’t touching the ground much and you spend most of your time floating mid air.
This won’t help you with improving your base of support but it’s the best possible way to get more control mid air.
At a ski resort you may jump into the air about 10 times every five minutes or so, but with a trampoline you’ll be jumping upwards of 30 time every minute.
There’s no better way to jump into the air repeatedly in such a short amount of time.
You should practice on the trampoline even during winter!
I wish you all happy practice with no broken bones or anything! Practice tons and show the fruit of your labor in the winter!
Here is summery.
If you don’t have a trampoline around you and skateboarding with you, don’t worry, we can help you with other way to train.
Look into our YouTube channel and find more off season training tutorials.
Keep being fit until your first day snowboarding on the hill!!
Stimulate your muscle 4 days a week.
You don't have to work such hard.
But you can try working on lower body exercise such as 15 times squat x 3 sets.
Lower body and core are key to control your balance over the board!!