Being physically fit and strong is very important for me as Snowboardcross is a physically tough sport. You need to be able to absorb the terrain and power yourself around the track for approximately 90 seconds, so a lot of explosive strength and endurance is required. I will train both in the UK and in the Alps where possible, to prepare myself for competitions and training.
Where I Train
My main base for gym training is the Heriot-Watt University Centre for Sports and Exercise. I have a Sports Scholarship here and I’ve received some great support from the university’s scholarship programme whilst being a student. The gym has dedicated CV, freeweights and isolated weights rooms, it also holds a number of exercise classes in its sports halls and has the National Squash centre with 9 courts. The sports halls allow for many sports to be played including; Basketball, Badminton, Climbing and Netball.
The Sports Academy holds the Golf Academy and Sports Active Treatment & Rehabilitation Centre, which I try to avoid as much as possible personally! However I’ve made use of the Sports Physios and Podiatrists before when I’ve been injured or in need of help and they are some of the best in the country. The Sports Academy is the training base for the Hearts Of Midlothian Football Club, showing the calibre of the CSE and Sports Academy.
I’m lucky enough to have free free access to most of these facilities and services, however the student and non-student Memberships are very reasonable and the facilities are superb.
There are three main forms of training I require for my fitness are; Cardio, freeweights and circuit. In a typical week of off-snow training will consist of me training 6 times a week. There will be:
Cardio – 1 or 2 days
Freeweights – 2 or 3 days
Circuits – 2 days
I will alternate between the three to ensure I’m not overworking certain muscle groups, with one day off a week to rest.
It’s important to have a good level of cardiovascular fitness for snowboardcross, as on a race day and for training you are often riding for long periods of time. Becoming breathless/tired quickly harms performance significantly, so I maintain a high level of cardiovascular fitness.
When I’m in the gym and focusing on Cardio I perform pyramid interval training, which is basically interval training, pushing as hard as you can for a period of time, have a short break, then push hard for even longer, then a longer break. It works on being explosive which is very important for snowboardcross. I will do this either on an exercise bike or cross trainer.
I do try to avoid running on a treadmill to avoid joint damage, however in the mountains often running outside is the one of the few forms of cardio you can do, so being used to running does help.
When doing 3 days a week of freeweights I will do two body sessions and one shoulders session, with a week of 2 days of freeweights I will cut one of the body sessions.
The body sessions are mainly squat based and working upon my explosive power, which is valuable for snowsports. Being able to absorb rollers, jumps and technical sections require your legs to work fast and hard.
Shoulders session are important particularly for upper body strength which you need plenty of to pull out of the gates and throw your weight down to absorb rollers, jumps etc. Shoulder Exercises include; curls, presses and pull ups.
I initially found the gym very boring, I’m an outdoorsy person and would rather be outside playing sports than being stuck inside in a gym. However by making my training in the gym come across as directly relevant through snowboardcross specific circuits I’ve made training a lot more interesting. I’ve set up a circuit which emulates a snowboardcross track run, which includes; step ups, squats, the use of medicine balls, press ups and jumping on boxes. It lasts 1minute 45 seconds again to emulate the time length my muscles will have to be performing for. I’ll complete this circuit a number of times to emulate a day of racing, and over time I will increase weights and intensity of the circuit as I improve/progress. It’s relatively quick to do and tiring, so I enjoy it!
Other than the gym and snowboarding itself I bike a lot. I cycle around Edinburgh, to work and university on a single speed bicycle, mine’s a mango bike and it’s a beauty! See here (Picture). Check Mango Bikes out, their affordable fully customisable single gear bikes to get you from A to B, nothing too fancy and they look ace! If you fancy buying one, mention my name in the ‘extra information box’
As Edinburgh’s hilly and my bikes a single speed, my legs get worked hard, so it’s a good source of cardio fitness. It’s also less boring/monotonous as a gym, so it means I don’t have to spend as long in there if I’m cycling plenty!
I also swim at work too regularly at The Royal Commonwealth Pool where I lifeguard, this is almost always for training purposes, thankfully not rescuing!