Snow Fever: How To Get Your Boarding Muscles Back, Fast

By Billy Polson

Snowboarding isn’t just fun—on fresh powder, it feels like surfing through the trees, an incomparable rush—it’s also an amazing workout. Last weekend, a friend and I boarded for six hours, with a 30-minute lunch break. My friend, Tom, was wearing a heart monitor, which registered over 4000 calories burned in that time. Do the math: that’s an average of 667 calories per hour. It’s an awesome burn from a great time.

But here’s the caveat: having just gone up to Tahoe for the first time this season, I can tell you that seven months off from the snow will definitely leave your legs out of boarding shape. You need special exercises to get you legged up for the snow. So, for those of you who live for the four months of great boarding we have each year, I’ve got a list of exercises to add into your current workouts to make sure your legs and body are ready for an all out day on the slopes.

Squat Sequence
Fit this sequence in between each of your regular workout sets on one of your splits (a chest day, for instance). Start by doing one set of 20 to 30 squat jumps on top of a BOSU or Reebok Coreboard. Follow this immediately with a set of low squat holds, rocking your weight from your toes to your heels for a set of 20 to 30 rocks front-and-back.
Dumbbell Sequence
For all of your standing dumbbell work (shoulder presses, lateral raises, bicep curls, standing rows), stand on the round side of a BOSU and after each rep do a squat on top of the ball.
Regular Stance Hold
At the end of the dumbbell set, put down the dumbbells and get back on the ball. Holding a low squat position, put your weight on your left leg and rotate your upper body left as if facing downhill. Hold for 30 seconds with minor toe-to-heel alternating leans.
Funky Stance Hold
Funky Stance: Then, still in your low squat, shift the majority of your weight to your right leg and rotate your upper body to the right as if facing downhill in this direction. Hold low for 30 seconds, again with minor toe-to-heel alternating leans. This combination of Regular and Funky will help prepare you for being switch-footed on the snow.
Front-Back Weight Shifts
Stand on the flat side of the BOSU ball with the round, blue side on floor. Caution: This can be very tough for a beginner, so be sure to do this using a wall or bar to hold on to for first few sets. Stand with your feet wide on the BOSU’s flat side, and drop into a full low squat. Then, shift your weight all the way front to your toes until the edge of the BOSU rests on floor (as if making a sharp turn in snow). Once the edge of the BOSU touches ground in front, stay low in the squat and shift your weight back so that the back edge touches the floor. Continue this pattern for as long as possible, starting with one minute and trying to work up to three minutes.
Leg Balance Taps
Lastly, to help with the single leg balance work of pushing your board across the snow with your back leg out of bindings: Guys who use a regular stance (see above) when boarding, place your left foot on the top of the center of the flat side of a BOSU. (Guys who board in the funky stance, place your right foot in the same position). Now, keeping your balance and weight on your top leg, try to tap your opposite toe down to the ground as wide as you can away from the BOSU, and then stand fully back up on your top leg only. Repeat this tap for 20 reps per set, and for 3 sets. For those of you who tend to switch your lead leg throughout the day, next try this exercise again with the opposite foot on top.
About Billy Polson: Billy Polson is co-founder of the award-winning Diakadi Body personal training gym and creators of RealJock's 12-week Workout Programs. Billy is a certified Exercise Coach through the Paul Chek Institute as well as a Certified Personal Trainer through The National Academy of Sports Medicine. Have burning questions about your fitness that you want Billy and Diakadi co-founder Mike Clausen to answer? Send an email to