Training Room: Strength, Power and Stability Workouts With Pro Skater Josh Borden

If you’re a professional athlete these days, you have to train – no matter what the discipline.

That is true for professional park and vert skateboarder Josh Borden. The Southern California native, who reps major brands Vans, Santa Cruz and Pro-Tec to name a few, trains in Costa Mesa at athlete-focused gym Surf Ready Fitness.

We caught up with gym owner and personal trainer Paul Norris to dive into three key training circuits he’s created for Borden, allowing the pro to take his skating to the next level.

4-Move Strength Circuit

Tail Slides

“This exercise teaches single-leg strength as well as strengthening the adductors,” Norris tells ASN. “It places a lot of demand on the core as well as the leg you’re balancing on.

“Skateboarders are constantly pushing off one leg and transferring weight between the two and this movement teaches the body to maintain control with one leg.”

Single-Leg Squat

“I’m a huge fan of single-leg strength movements for surfers and skateboarders. Rarely are they pushing off both legs with an equal amount of force. So this movement helps brings strength and balance between the two appendages. It also forces the core to work harder and helps with balance, which all skaters need.”

Windshield Wipers

“I love this movement because it targets the core as well as the adductors. It also helps stretch the lower back and increase mobility in the hips. Core strength and mobility is crucial to athletes and with all of the dynamic movements that skaters put their bodies through, this exercise helps strengthen the midsection.”

Push-Up Complex

“This is definitely not Josh’s favorite exercise,” laughs Norris. “Skating doesn’t require a lot of strict upper-body strength but I truly believe that an athlete’s body needs to be balanced. I love this exercise because it’s a lot of movements built into one, and multi-jointed exercises train the central nervous system.

“This exercise strengthens the core, shoulders and chest. Linking multiple exercises together is similar to skaters linking multiple tricks together. The more we train the brain to handle multiple movements, the stronger our athletes become to handle multiple movements/tricks as well.”

Bungee Twist

“I love this exercise because it trains the core for rotation. Essentially we’re adding resistance to a typical skateboarding movement, which then strengthens that motor pattern. We call it the core because everything stems from it. Strong core equals stronger athlete.”

4-Move Stability Circuit

Indo Board Squats With Eyes Closed

“The more we can get our skaters on unstable surfaces, the better,” says Norris. “I don’t recommend power or strength training on stability equipment as it’s counterproductive. This exercise is designed to increase proprioception, which is your awareness in space.

“The more we practice balancing, the more efficient our proprioceptors get. Josh is an elite athlete so I had him close his eyes to make the exercise harder. Anytime I can push my athletes beyond their normal capacity, I will.”

Single-Leg RDL on Bosu

“This is a contralateral movement – which means opposite arm to opposite leg – and helps reinforce proper alignment with the spine,” Norris says. “It’s a great exercise for skaters because it helps with balance, core strength as well as strengthening the tendons and ligaments in the knee and ankle.

“We added the kettlebell to make the exercise harder for Josh. Skaters are prone to ankle, knee and hip injuries, so this is a great exercise to strengthen those joints.”

Single-Leg Bosu Balance with Tennis Ball Toss

“Again, another great balance exercise. It can be modified by standing on both legs but Josh is an elite athlete so single leg makes this exercise harder. We added the tennis ball to improve hand-eye coordination – again, when we have a lot going on, we also train the central nervous system.

Squat Jump Balance on Indo Board

“This one is not recommended for novices. I love this exercise for skaters because they’re constantly jumping and having to regain balance again on their boards. This exercise mimics skate-specific movements and creates muscle memory which in turn will improve their skating ability.

“The central nervous system has to adapt quickly to the unbalanced surface after the quick jump. The more we train the CNS for this movement, the stronger it gets.”

4-Move Power Circuit

Kettlebell Squat Jump

“At Surf Ready Fitness, when we talk about power exercises, we’re talking about being explosive,” explains Norris. “To get the most out of each exercise, we like to place more demand on the muscles. And one of the easiest ways to do that is by overloading those muscles with weights.

“When we do that, we’re asking the body to recruit more muscle fibers and fire harder than normal. Kettlebell (KB) squat jumps is a great exercise to get the lower body to recruit more muscle fibers. By adding the KB we’re overloading the body and muscles so they have to work harder. This helps skaters when having to push off the board or apply more force to ollie over higher obstacles.”

Medicine Ball Squat Jump With Rotation

“Again, this exercise is overloading the body because we’re holding a weight. By holding the weight out front, that makes the core work harder. It also forces the body to work harder to rotate because we’re fighting the force of the medicine ball weighing us down.

“Skaters are constantly doing varials and 180s amongst other crazy maneuvers. This exercise helps them better adapt to controlling their body in space.”

Box Jump to Single-Leg Balance

“Skaters are constantly shifting weight back and forth, and transferring energy from one area of the body to another. This exercise helps with body control and balance. By doing this we also train the neuromuscular system to accept energy and stabilize it.”

Slamball Toss With Rotation

“This exercise forces the core to expel energy and then accept it. When a skater does a maneuver that involves rotation, his core must activate to generate energy in the direction he wants to go. So this exercise helps strengthen that activity and fire the correct muscles needed.

“By adding the rotation, we mimic skate movements more specifically and make the core work harder when having to catch the ball while maintaining balance and control.”

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