Tips Monday: Stance width & binding angles
…would you stand like that if I got you to do some squats in the gym? …then why stand like that on your snowboard….?
One thing that we haven’t covered so far, during our Tips Mondays discussions on bindings and how tweaking them can improve / change our rinding, is stance width.
Now I realise that this post isn’t actually specific to adjusting parts of our bindings to improve our riding, but I wanted to touch on this before next week when I will be talking about toe and heel adjustments available to us.
What should our stance width and angles be set at?
I have read many articles and heard many views on this subject over the years so I want to keep this (fairly) short and clear some things up. Hears my views and recommendations on the subject.
When you ride you want your body to be in the best possible position, free moving, able make adjustments without any restrictions
With the above in mind, lets all imagine we are superheroes, with superpowers. These superpowers let us jump from great heights.
(now, of course I don’t recommend jumping from great heights, but bear with me on this one)
All that I ask is that when you land, land on both feet. Not hard considering we are all superheroes, right!
Next, consider the following:
- Look at how you landed, the stance width and angle of your feet. This is your body saying to you. I like this. This feels good. This works for me.
- Did you land with both feet out at the same angles? Or was one more turned out than the other?
- Did you land with feet shoulder width apart? Or narrower / wider than this?
- Everybody is made up differently, so your stance width and angles of feet will be different.
Let your body decide – not someone else
After reading the above point, listening to your body and setting your snowboard up with the same stance width and angles that you landed in would make sense, right?
You would think so, but it amazes me how so many people complain about sore legs, hips, feet , etc. I then take one look at their set-up and no wonder they are in pain.
I then ask them, ‘would you stand like that if I got you to do some squats in the gym’. The answer is no. Then why stand like that on your snowboard….?
They then reply saying, ‘well I read it somewhere, that if I want to ride freestyle I should have a stance width of … and angles of … and …’, or ‘my mate told me I should ride like this’. Finally and worse still – ‘..the guy in the shop set it up for me like this….’
So the guy in the shop knows exactly what angles your feet need to be at to allow your knees to flex over you toes without causing any pain or damage to your body……?!
You are essentially doing squats when you ride so listen to what your body is telling you, what feels good and what doesn’t. Let your body decide what angles and width you ride with.
We all want to riding into our late 80’s at least! So treat your body nicely and it will last.
On the subject of keeping your body healthy – check out a post I wrote last season explaining the benefits of yoga.
Get your body in shape this summer! read: Yoga for Snowboarders and Skiers
Find your ideal stance width
Here’s something to try out at home to help figure out stance width.
Find a floor surface that will allow your feet to slide out and rotate as you go into and out of a squatting motion. Perhaps the kitchen floor with some socks on – you know, the slidey floor that allows you to run and slide across it!
Place you snowboard out in front of you – stand behind it with shoulders hips and lower body parallel with one another.
If you have your bindings already on the board, then try to match this stance width – if not, just stand shoulder width apart for now.
Squats can help!
Next, do some squats – allow your feet to rotate under you and widen or shorten your stance until you feel comfortable moving up and down.
p.s remember to flex your ankles when you do this with knees moving over the toes – don’t just bend your legs and stick out you bum!
If find it hard to squat due to tight calf muscles then be sure to check out the following post Stretch the calf muscle & Improve your snowboarding to see what you’re missing out on.
Repeat 5-6 times insuring that there are no restrictions or pain when you move. Free flowing and unhindered.
Adjust your angles
Adjust your angles and stance width on your snowboard and do 5-6 squats again but this time standing with your feet in the bindings (still in you socks).
Repeat the process standing behind your board and adjust your equipment accordingly to match the stance width and angles.
Rotate the base plate
Rotate the base plate (so the slots for the screw holes run parallel with the boards edge). This enables you to fine tune your stance width – don’t worry if your bindings are not in the center (edge to edge) of your board.
I talk about this in the following article Toe & Heel cup binding adjustments.
Finally, consider the following when setting the stance width:
- For a true centered stance with matching tip and tail length – choose matching screw holes to start with and work BOTH bindings outwards with each adjustment.
- With a set back stance decide how much nose you want, set your front binding in place and then work the rear binding outwards towards the tail – once finished, if you want an even more set back stance, then move both bindings back