Work It Out: 7 yoga strength postures for snowboarders | SummitDaily.com

Work It Out: 7 yoga strength postures for snowboarders

Pinna Gallant
Work It Out

Want more? Read on to find 7 yoga poses made for alpine skiers.

Snowboarders rejoice! With over 60 inches of snow so far this month (and more on the horizon), this might end up being one of the best seasons in a decade.

To ensure you're in top shape for the remainder of this epic season, take some tips from Breckenridge local Leslie Glenn, past winner of the Aspen/Snowmass Open and a former X Games athlete who now works as a snowboard coach and yoga instructor.

A snowboarder since 1993, Glenn traveled and competed professionally worldwide for over 10 years. After finding yoga in 1999 as a freshman at the University of Vermont, she found it was a strong compliment to snowboarding.

"In my experience, yoga can be a powerful tool to create balance, strength, stability and focus on the mountain," Glenn said. "Yoga provided me physical and mental balance to compete at my best."

What, then, is the key to Glenn's snowboard conditioning plan?

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"Core is really important, but so is joint stability," Glenn said. "The micro-adjustments made in balancing postures like Warrior 3 and tree strengthen tissues around the joints, giving you more agility and, ultimately, more power."

Glenn suggests the following seven postures to increase strength and stability in your feet, ankles, lower leg, thighs, hips and core.

AWKWARD POSE

Toeside and heelside turns require strength in the feet, ankles, calves and shins. Awkward pose targets those muscles, reducing cramps and fatigue while also targeting the powerful muscles of your thighs, hips and core.

Stand with feet apart, leaving a 6-inch gap between your knees.

Lift your heels off the floor and extend your arms in front of you with straight elbows.

Slowly lower your hips to a crouch so that your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep heels lifted as high as possible while balancing.

Hold for 10 breaths.

CHAIR POSE TO WARRIOR 3

"Chair to Warrior 3 is a nice combination because it works the large muscles of the thigh, hips and glutes, but once in Warrior 3, the smaller stabilizing muscles of the core and lower body fire as well," Glenn said of the transition between two poses. "The act of balancing on one foot — working to gain efficiency while transitioning and holding these challenging poses — builds mental stamina as well."

Stand with big toes touching and arms next to your ears, arms extended.

Bend your knees and lower your hips to sit into an imaginary chair.

Move hips down and back until your knees are over or just behind the toes.

Fire thighs and glutes, and lift the chest.

Pull your low belly in and sit deeper into the pose to prepare for the transition.

Warrior 3 transition:

Bring palms to touch in front of your chest.

With both knees bent, lift left heel to left buttock.

Straighten both legs, pushing your left heel toward the wall behind you while standing on the right leg.

Bring torso parallel to the floor and reach arms next to ears.

Transition again:

Bring palms to touch in front of your chest.

Bend both knees and bring left heel to left buttock.

Return to chair pose in a slow, controlled motion.

Repeat on opposite side.

Continue for 5 sets per side.

CRESCENT LUNGE

Crescent lunge combines a hip-opening movement with powder-building stability in the quadriceps and glutes. You'll also find that this pose improves balance and core awareness.

Stand with feet hip-width apart.

Take a big step back with your right foot, keeping the right heel lifted over the ball of the right foot.

Bend your front knee until it is directly over the ankle and bring your arms overhead, with palms facing each other.

Gently encourage the right hip forward, lengthen the tailbone down and draw the lower belly up.

Find a focal point for balance and hold for 10 breaths.

Switch sides.

TRIANGLE

Triangle posture opens the hips, releases hamstrings and strengthens your thighs.

Stand upright, with feet together.

Take a big step back with your right foot

Turn your right foot 90 degrees, keeping both legs straight.

Bring arms out parallel to the floor, with palms facing down and wrists over ankles.

Hinge at the hip and reach your left arm and torso forward (bringing your side body towards your left toes).

Rest your left hand on your left shin and reach your right hand overhead.

Hold for 10 breaths.

Switch sides.

FOREARM PLANK and FOREARM SIDE PLANK

"As a snowboarder, core stability is probably the most important thing, but you need more than traditional core exercises," Glenn said. "Stability comes from the transverse abdominus — core muscles which are deep in the torso. Forearm plank targets those muscles to enhance stability and increases efficiency and endurance, on and off the mountain."

Kneel on the floor.

Place your forearms on the floor in front of you parallel to each other, with palms facing down. Keep your elbows directly under your shoulders and palms directly in front of your elbows.

Step your feet back one at a time until your knees are straight and you are in a push-up position on your forearms.

Keep a straight line from heels to hips to shoulders by pulling your naval to your spine and pressing your heels back.

Rooted firmly into the floor with your forearms, lift the back of the heart and broaden your shoulder blades.

Fire your core, engaging your abdominal muscles as you lengthen your tailbone down to your heels.

Hold for 10 breaths.

Side plank transition:

From plank, bring big toes to touch.

Shift body weight to your right forearm and outside of your right foot.

Engage through the core to lift your left hip.

Hold for 5 breaths.

Switch sides.

Pinna Gallant is the owner of Peak Yoga, Dillon's only dedicated yoga studio. Designed to challenge both the body and the mind, Peak Yoga classes build muscular strength, physical endurance and emotional resilience. You can find out more about Peak Yoga at http://www.peakyogastudio.com.

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