By Jennie Gall • Photos by Nathan Frye and Charlene Hoit
When I was 15, a friend took me snowboarding and I’ve been hooked ever since. These days it’s become my family’s favorite winter activity.
Unfortunately, it’s not the safest sport around, since falling happens on the regular. In fact, most of the injuries that occur while snowboarding are mostly due to falls, and they’re typically sustained to the wrists and upper extremities. In 2015, the first time we took my son Branden, now 18, snowboarding, he fell and broke his wrist on his first run.
To prepare the body for the powder, and to prevent falls from happening in the first place, I like to focus my attention on balance and on the core and legs. As a bonus, the hands and wrists end up strengthening indirectly, which helps when you (inevitably) wipe out …
A sneak peak of the exercises: (If you don’t have a Reformer, check out the mat versions for most of these movements.)
BRIDGING WITH BALL
WHY IT BENEFITS SNOWBOARDERS Adding the ball behind the knees ups the challenge, to work the glutes, hamstrings and back extensors while promoting balanced abdominal strength.
APPARATUS SETTING ½ to 2 springs
BREATH Breathe naturally throughout, or exhale on the exertion.
START Add 2 springs to the Reformer. Lie on the carriage with the arch (or the ball) of one foot on the footbar and your other leg in tabletop. Place a Pilates ball (or a rolled towel) behind your knee in tabletop.
MOVE Push through your foot on the footbar to roll up one vertebra at a time into Bridge. Slowly roll down. Do 5–6 reps.
TIP Keep your hips level—don’t allow them to shift.
ADVANCED At the top of the Bridge, add a toe tap to the footbar with your tabletop leg. Another fun option is to adduct/abduct that leg, opening your knee to the side and using your inner thigh to return it.
DO IT ON THE MAT
It’s the same exercise, but place your stabilizing leg on the mat, with your heel close to your sit bones, instead of on the footbar.