Time keeps on ticking. It's nearing the end of May. For many of us that means our main chairlift season has been done now for nearly a month and a half. As we reflect on the main ski season...
- How does skiing make us strong?
- What makes sense to do this time of year to maintain some strength from the season and fill in some gaps that skiing predisposes us to?
- What are some key training tactics that could help us achieve our goals successfully?
Skiers are strong!!!
- Legs of steel!!! BUT... You have predominantly been travelling downhill for 4 months and medially rotating your femurs under a load. As a result your quadriceps, hip flexors and adductors are likely quite strong in comparison to your hamstrings and lateral femur rotators.
- Love your lungs! Charging downhill is fun and can be a cardio workout, but most of us aren't skiing at a speed or intensity where our lungs are the main contributor... post ski season is an ideal time to add to that part of our conditioning.
- Get OUTSIDE + keep moving 🙂 After 4 months of spending the days shredding, our bodies and brains are accustomed to lots of moving time playing outdoors... don't stop now 🙂
Build it better
Hill happy 🙂 Skier's love going downhill. Time to learn to love going up. Starting now, add short hikes progressively about 3 x per week. Beginning now will allow you to build a much better base to start next ski season than if you wait till the fall. Plus, it will be a game changer not just for your skiing but your overall health as well. Gentle ski touring is a great option if you happen to have access to that still.
Stronger Skiers: Begin by maintaining the base of strength you have from the season. Strength sessions with functional moves and a comfortable amount of resistance for about 12-15 reps. Pending quality form and no pain over the next couple of months progressively work down to 5 reps with a weight that is challenging. This will help you to maintain the base you have built and begin building more strength to help you start next ski season stronger.
Focus Forward: This is an excellent time of year for skiers to target their weaknesses. Start with light and simple moves to target the weak muscles. As you become stronger over the next couple of months build toward more functional movements relevant to skiing carrying a heavier load. Not sure where to begin? Hamstrings and lateral rotation of the femur is likely a great spot.
Training can get technical and overwhelming. It is easy to get carried away and turn into a bit of a self absorbed training monster. I would know, I've been there, done that. Finding the ideal balance is going to be different for everyone. Here are a few tricks that I find work well for me.
- Start a training log: Consistency is key. Don't overcomplicate it, but write down some details of each session like the date, activity, duration, reps, sets and basic notes
- Right Rhythm: Some sessions are going to be epic, some it will be a miracle they happen at all. The key is consistency, finding that rhythm will help you get stronger more than one stand alone martyr mission of a workout ever could.
- Set an objective: Much like with evaluating and helping a skier navigate progression, it is much easier to evaluate whether the objective was met if you have one. As @skinerd also refers to think SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic,Time based
If you are interested in diving into these details on an individual basis, I would be happy to take that adventure with you through Athletic Therapy in person, virtual live or through virtual consults.
In the meantime, get out there and move! And if you start taking yourself to seriously or you notice your buddy is, send em back to this post and remind him, getting stronger is pretty basic really, it's all about picking things up and putting them down. Have a laugh at yourself! Trust me laughing at your own expense is good for the soul!
Getting strong and developing your fitness is a controllable element. I am a big advocate of controlling the controllable. I can’t control the weather or the snow conditions. I have limited ability to control the number of days I spend on a mountain, governed by the fact that I live a long way from a skiable hill and despite pouring as much of our resources into skiing as possible, it’s still not enough. I can, however, somewhat control my fitness. It’s always a frustrating mystery, even with some high level skiers, how they don’t optimise their potential and neglect physical,… Read more »
@adrian_hamilton Control the controllable. Nice!!! I like that!!! Actually I was just as surprised as you are to find so many weak leg muscles amongst skiers… Maybe if it was one or two client findings it would be something that I would dismiss. But of all the skiers I saw as clients this winter between CSIA instructors, racers and recreational skiers there was only one skier who had strong hamstrings! That made me curious so I started diving into the mechanics of skiing and thinking through the muscle patterns of the phases of the turn. I realized, yes, we do… Read more »
Have a listen to Tom Gellie’s podcast with Warren Jobbitt from a couple of years ago when he talks about the posterior kinetic chain in efficient skiing. Tom also talks about it extensively in his videos, particularly those about athletic stance.
There is absolutely a sound scientific theory behind how and why a skier should engage the posterior kinetic chain… but even the best skiers I have had the pleasure of working with have not tested very strong here intitially compared to other muscles… would they benefit from being stronger here? Absolutely! But so far I have not witnessed that skiing has naturally produced a strong pattern here without intentional effort to train it.