Keeping my body in good health is one of the most important things to me.
– Guy Mariano
fundamental training principles.
Training for skateboarding isn't as free and nonrestrictive as skateboarding itself. You have to at least roughly keep in mind certain fundamental principles if you want to train effectively, keep progressing, and avoid injury. I'm going to be doing a lot more videos and articles on exercises for skateboarding that will improve how you skate, improve your pop, how you feel when you skate, etc., but I wanted to get these principles out there first so you can apply them to these future videos. And if you're thinking, "mate... I'm never gunna do your exercises", well, all of the principles can also be applied to skating in some way as well, so I'm sure you'll still get some insight into how you can improve your skating through this one.
First off you need to understand how specific the body is in the way it adapts to what you do. In general the more similar an exercise is to the thing that you’re trying to improve, the greater the influence it will have on improving that ability. For example jogging for an hour isn’t going to improve your pop, and trying to jump as high as you can three times isn’t going to increase your endurance. Your body adapts very specifically to what you’re doing so it can get better at what you’re making it do. According to Andy Galpin (a master in the realms of exercise) in general there are 6 main adaptations that you can train for:
and the way you train each one varies. You could train each one of those adaptations with, for example a squat, but it’s the way you do it that causes the adaptation in the direction you want. So first figure out what adaptation you want and train for that.
It's also essential to specify your training for you personally. Just because something's worked for someone else doesn't mean it's necessarily going to be what you need.
The way exercises cause changes in your body is by essentially pushing your body past what it’s used to, which makes it think “shit, this was hard, I need to get better at this”. Overload is simply doing something that stresses your body past what it’s used to. If you want to pop higher, trying to pop up a curb won't help. If you want to have energy to skate for 2 hours, skating for 30 mins at the same intensity isn’t going to be your best option.
Overloading your body doesn’t mean you have to push yourself as hard as you can every time, and in fact that’s actually not a good idea, and going full on all the time has been shown to slow adaptations and will probably result in injury. Imagine only skating massive gaps every time you go skate, you’re gunna be destroyed in a week or two.
Some examples of ways to overload your body are: skating with a bag full of bean tins on your back, or increasing weight, reps, sets, varying speed, decreasing rest time, etc.
With training, it’s all about slowly progressing, little by little, based on your current level. Challenge yourself too much and you either stop progressing or you get injured, and challenge yourself too little and you won't adapt either, you have to balance the progression. It’s the same with skating, you’re not going to go from kickflips on flat one day, to trying them down a 15 the next, you have to work your way up; try flip a 5, then a 7, etc. But on the other hand if you don’t ever skate stairs you’ll never work up to flipping that 15. Progressing little by little, week by week will give you the best results in the long term.
Even if you’ve got the best training plan in the world, continuing it forever without making any changes is not only ineffective, but doing the same exercises for months on end can also result in injury and even losses of strength and performance. It’s like with skating, if you always do your go to tricks every time you go skate and never try anything new, and try to push yourself you don’t progress. You don’t have to vary what you’re doing every day and you don’t have to vary by a lot, especially if you’re a beginner, but keep it in mind that adding variety is important. You can vary anything; exercises, reps, sets, speed, etc.
This is probably the most neglected principle in the skate world, but recovering properly from skating and from training is arguably as important as the actual skating itself or training itself. If you keep pushing your body without letting it recover you’ll just drill it into the ground and you’ll stop progressing, probably get injured, and ultimately end up skating less.
Good form basically refers to doing things with good alignment and doing the exercise how it’s supposed to be done. The idea of “good form” doesn’t really exist in the skate world but it should. Good form allows your body to generate maximal force - if you imagine going to pop a trick and your back completely rounds over and your knee bends in, you’re going to be leaking energy through these bad mechanics which you could be using on your pop. Doing exercises with bad form or skating with bad form can also lead to pain and injuries, and will only do you over in the long run. On the other hand doing exercises with good form can teach you how to skate with better mechanics, allowing you to spend more energy on tricks, and reduce the throbbing.
Reversibility just means that you lose what you don't use. Think back to a time you were injured and you didn't skate for a month or two months, when you got back on your board skating took more effort right, maybe you had less energy, maybe you felt less power, etc. This is because overtime your body reverts back to how it was before it adapted; before you started skating or training.