There is more to skating than just wheels. To a non-skater, riding a board may appear as an effortless recreational activity. However, anyone who has ever tried pushing a skateboard will know what a tedious task it is, to make the board go. In fact, sports scientists have confirmed that skateboarding is a complete workout in itself. It not only works the cardiovascular system but also builds muscular strength.
The core of a skateboarder plays a very crucial role. The group of muscles in the abdominal region, the obliques and part of the back, play a pivotal role in skateboarding performance. Since the sport requires moving over unstable surfaces, the core provides the strength to stabilise the body and balance it. The core also supports related musculature in other parts of the body, which is engaged while skateboarding. For instance, muscles such as hip flexors and quadriceps that are strained while performing tricks such as an ‘ollie’, transfer a part of the pressure to the core muscles.
Core is where the strength rests. It serves as a connection between the upper and lower body. While the hands are extended and moved to balance, the legs guide the board into tricks and movement. However, the core muscles are the ones responsible for the coordination between hands and legs, and for propelling the body and the board. A skateboarder should lay special emphasis on the training of abs, obliques and latissimus dorsi, to improve his game. Lat pulls, crunches and planks are some basic exercises that should be part of every skateboarder’s routine.
In relation to skateboarding training, it is helpful to adopt ‘static contraction training’. Since the activity does not use the strength in the full range of motion, it is quite useless to train in a fashion that works on the entire range. Rather, strength training should be performed by working out a muscle in a very specific range of motion. This can be done, simply by holding the muscles contracted for a few seconds (burdened with weights), while performing strength building workouts. One should workout with enough weight that puts pressure on the muscles while being statically held. Core training should be short and explosive to closely mimic actual skateboarding movement and effort. Improved strength in the core will definitely up your game way above your current level.