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Nick Langelotti

Injury prevention for snowboard season from your PT with a snowboard problem
by: Nick Langelotti, PT, DPT


The air’s a little crisper, movie premieres are beginning to air, it’s sweater weather and my iced mocha has transitioned to regular mocha (judge), which can mean only one thing: Snowboard season is near!


Now it’s easy to watch the season just roll around, grab your gear out of the closet and go, but this makes you a little more susceptible to doing something I like to call <<OD’ing on Stoke>> How does one OD on stoke you might ask? Well it’s usually an early season injury.


Nick Langelotti


First day or two on the hill and you’re stoked. Back on the old steed, grippin’ and rippin’. Quickly remembering this is the most fun thing ever? The feelings are familiar, I know. It’s in this moment that you forget that you haven’t ridden in six months, haven’t worked out in potentially as long and let inhibition go to the wind—you’re in full send mode. The side hit coming up on the right is enticing and you go for it, only to come up short on the landing because you’re out of shape and that pop isn’t quite there yet. Boom, catch your edge, butt-check—whatever it may be—you slam. You have just OD’d on stoke. Now all you’re left with is an AC separation, torn ACL, clavicle fracture, wrist sprain or fracture, either way, your season is cut short—and maybe done. Don’t be that guy or girl.


Snowboard  falling


Below I’ve listed a few good exercises to help prevent the most common injuries seen in snowboarding so that you can enjoy the deep days, groomer days, and manky days all the way up until corn slashin’ in spring.


Lower body

No need for much explanation here. A stronger lower half will keep you chargin’ hard—once again Shakira’s onto something with the ‘hips don’t lie’ motto. Below are my favorite few exercises to get you prepped for the rigors of riding. Snowboarding requires an interesting combination of demands on your legs including eccentric loading (landing!), explosiveness (pop!), endurance (riding all day longggg) and motor control (riding out those funky landings scathe-free). Be ready for them all!


Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat:

Snowboarding requires independent leg movement and balance, so in addition to this being a favorite leg exercise it’s also very applicable to the demands of riding. With higher muscle activity readings for much of the posterior chain musculature (yo’ backside) as compared to the standard back squat, this is a more dynamic exercise which will better prepare you for riding. A couple key tips here: Make sure to keep knee stacked over ankle and sink hips down and back as you descend (think elevator not escalator). Also try to keep more weight through the working leg’s heel for glute engagement.



Lateral Squat (KB):

Another great exercise which directly applies to the movements of snowboarding. With both your legs strapped into your shred sled, working your legs individually with them both grounded is very transferable. Again make sure to initiate the movement by sticking your butt back, and try to maintain knee stacked over ankle without allowing it to dive in.



Anterior hop and stick:

I really like this exercise for snowboarding because it encompasses the dynamics of landing. Here we are performing rapid eccentric loading (muscle contraction with lengthening) with a focus on good control and reinforcing good movement patterns. Some helpful hints here: try to land with your butt back, keep knees over ankle and try to make your landing QUIET which will force your muscles to handle the load rather than your joints.



Upper Body

The most common injuries in snowboarding are from a FOOSH. What’s a FOOSH?! A FOOSH is a “fall on outstretched hand.” The problem with a FOOSH (ok, sorry I just think the word’s funny) is that it puts your arm and all its joints in a very vulnerable position. Common injuries here include shoulder, wrist and elbow injuries. As I mentioned in my previous article one of the best ways to avoid this is, well, to not do it. Learning to fall will go a long way in keeping you on the hill so always remember to bring those arms in when you’re going down. Often times, though, these falls happen quickly and you can’t think to do that. The exercises below are focused on weight bearing through your arms to gain strength, stability and motor control around your wrist, elbow, shoulder and scapula. By strengthening your rotator cuff muscles and scapular stabilizers we can help fortify your core, shoulders, and arms in order to maybe make a fall that would end your season into one that you can ride off or just take a short break after.



Low Plank (arms flexed):

Classsssssic exercise. I like this for snowboarding for a number of reasons. Here we are able to coordinate core engagement with weight bearing through the arms which requires good shoulder stabilization. Some helpful hints here are to make sure you're parallel with the ground (keep that butt down), don’t let your low back sink down (you’ll know if you are, it’ll be uncomfortable) and think about pushing your hands through the ground.


Shoulder Taps:

Building upon the plank with this one…performing shoulder taps in the plank position requires increased demand on the muscles around your shoulder blade and rotator cuff musculature. Usually when we fall, we fall on one arm so this is good preparation for that. To reiterate, really try to push through the ground to stabilize your shoulder with the arm bearing weight. You got it!





Gets you ready to reach your bindings, grab fakey, and any other spots on the hill that could get the hamtrings and calves into a bind.


T Push-Up:

Anddddd one more addition to the previous two. Push-up, push-through the arm bearing weight and rotate your body about that arm. Slow and controlled is key here.



Have fun! Snowboarding is fun, don't forget it! Any chance to strap in and ride is one to be thankful for. Yay Snowboarding! Any other questions or if you do find yourself getting hurt on the hill, feel free to give me a shout

check out my other Snowboard article on gear and setup (click here)



About the aurthor:

Nick Langelotti, PT, DPT
Snowboard Instructor, USSnowboard Medical Team, Physical Therapist

Check out Nick's Snowboard Page on Setup and Injury Prevention





Nick Langelotti

Zach Doleac


zach Doleac


Zach Doleac


Nick Langelotti




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Zach Doleac
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