Science + Perspective With Action Sports Athletes

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I’m not a huge fan of terms like “skate specific work out” or “strength and conditioning for surfers.” At the end of the day, action sports athletes require improvement of the same physical qualities that conventional athletes require. Qualities such as strength, power, flexibility, and energy system development. For example a skateboarder may not need a 400 pound dead lift, but he can absolutely benefit from improvements in strength. It’s not just his or her muscles that get stronger.


Dennis Enarson – Professional BMX Rider

The integrity of ligaments, tendons, and bone density improve.  This means when high impact landings occur, the athlete is structurally more resilient and thus less prone to injuries. Last I checked, injuries can take even the best out of the game. Improvements in power are also desirable for most action spots athletes. If a skateboarder can apply more force into the ground in a shorter period of time, his olli, kick flip etc. will be bigger. If he or she can generate more velocity when launching off the lip of a half pipe, the arial maneuver will be bigger. Judges in contests tend to score higher for bigger, and more powerful performances, so no one that couldn’t benefit there.


Chad Kerley – Professional BMX Rider

Last but not least is energy system development. Depending on the number of competitors, and length and number of heats, work to rest ratios can vary dramatically. ATP CP, glycolytic, or oxidative energy systems may need improvement respectively, or congruently. Last I checked, its hard to skate or perform well in any sport when you’re exhausted. The point is skaters, surfers, BMX riders (etc.) will all benefit from a properly designed strength and conditioning program. That doesn’t mean gimmicky training methods or voodoo. Research the athletes sport, discover which physical qualities are required, and which energy systems are dominant and program from there.

John Welch

When it comes to preparing for high level competitive events, coach John Welch knows what it takes. His methodically designed programs are geared toward enhancing the physical qualities, and need specific energy systems of the athletes he works with. John believes that qualities such as muscular endurance, rate of force development and reactive strength must be addressed. Specific energy system development such as ATP/CP, fast glycolytic, or oxidative must be addressed. These motor abilities and energy system pathways need to be stimulated, developed, and adapted to higher levels to ensure high level performance come competition day. The goal is to have the athlete peaking and in a state of super compensation when their time comes to perform. Along with performance enhancement, special attention is given to injury prevention. Making the athlete as resilient to injury and as bullet proof as possible is of key concern. Connective tissue strength, flexibility, joint range of motion, and solid bio mechanics are targeted and improved so that the athlete is physically prepared for the demands of competition. In the last 3 years Coach John’s X Games athletes have brought home 2 gold medals and 1 silver medal.