Steven Nyman’s Procrastinator’s Guide to Training for Ski Season
Spyder - The leaves changing and snow dusting the mountains again means that ski season is back on the horizon. It got us thinking that we should probably get to working on our strength and cardio following a summer of kicking back, relaxing, and… not working out.
We know that the most ideal time to start working out for ski season was 3 months ago, but the next best time is now. As procrastinators ourselves, we reached out to a retired Spyder lifestyle athlete, who represents the everyman just like us for some advice. He’s a Utah native whose laid-back style we can all relate to, and he gifted us his “Procrastinator’s Guide to Training for Ski Season”.
Oh, and he has some cred in the ski world as the longest-tenured US Ski Team athlete and leader of the American Downhillers until his retirement last year. You might know him as Steven Nyman.
Steven Nyman - “Wow! What a difference a year makes. Last year I couldn’t count how many days I spent in the gym. This summer… just 1! But now the snow is flying up high and it is time to get those legs and core into shape to get the most out of the upcoming ski season. So here you go with the procrastinator’s edition to getting fit for the ski season.
A typical week for me when I was training with the intent of becoming the best in the world was 6 days a week with 2-3 sessions a day. It was a mix of endurance, strength, power and anaerobic work with various recovery modalities mixed in.
Spyder: The result of all that training: Now I’m looking to simply get an hour of work in a day 6x a week if I can. Don’t be too hard on yourself, remember this is a procrastinator's edition ;). If you don’t get every day in during the week, it is still a good goal to set to help maximize your upcoming skiing season.
Out of those 6 days a week I would aim to have half of those be cardio-focused and the other half be strength-focused. Ideally I would rotate one day strength on day cardio.
What does that look like in practice?
Cardio: Some people question cardio but I find it essential for maximizing my ski days. Remember you are out on the hill for several hours in a row. Yes a ski run only lasts a couple minutes and your legs can burn, but you perform that over and over and over until you can’t anymore.
The best way to train your body to recover quickly run after run during the winter is by having a solid aerobic base. Aim for activities that free your mind and get you out there breathing hard for at least 60 minutes, whether that’s road/mountain biking, hiking, running, trail running. I find cardio helps me organize my thoughts and get my head straight.
I enjoy mountain biking and trail running because of skills, such as the balance and looking ahead downhill and through turns (similar to skiing). Meanwhile, running and hiking help train your ankle and foot strength which I find helps a lot in the winter when you need to articulate your feet in your ski boots.
Strength: Not everyone has access to a gym or time to go to a gym so here are a few workouts or exercises you can bust out in you home or office when you have a block of time to. There are a few tools you can purchase that don’t take up space and can really boost your in home gym. (Heavy duty rubber bands, nordic ham stick, pull up bar for doorway, adjustable dumbbells, dynamic disc or airex pads, TRX trainer, kettlebells).
Some of my go-to strength workouts that I like to do some mix of from home include:
-Wall sits (progress with single leg wall sits)
-Nordic ham curls
-Air squats (progress to single leg squats) (then progress to challenged by balance)(super slow) (rubber bands)
-Feet fixed sit ups
-Star fish side plank into pushup
-Lunges (and lunge holds)
-Flys (with weight, water bottles or ski boots)
-Tib ant raises
-Side lying glute med (show progression)
-Lunge overhead tick tocks
This doesn’t mean you should be doing all of these in one strength day! Just do a mix that works out a couple different muscle groups, or focus on a particular muscle group each strength day.”
Spyder - Like Steven said, 6 days a week is a good goal to set, and he’d be the first to tell you that any amount of work you’re able to put in ahead of the season is better than nothing. So, if you’re like us, any work put in between now and the first day on snow will be a step in the right direction.
White 6 days sure sounds like a lot to us, Steven shared what his workout schedule looked like comparatively, while touring the globe with the US Ski Team in pursuit of FIS World Cup wins...
Steven's workout on any given week:
Monday: Full body circuit. 12-16 exercises fatiguing lower and upper body anterior and posterior moving quickly from exercise to exercise not giving myself much rest. I would immediately jump into a balance or coordination drill. Trying to execute the drill the best I could while fatigued. This would train my ability to function under fatigue. Stretch and eat. In the afternoon it was usually a low intensity endurance session about 1.5 hours to help me recover for the next days work. Stretch session #2 and then. Big dinner.
Tuesday: Core circuit. 12-16 exercises focusing on the core, fatiguing anterior and posterior along with the sides of the core. I would hammer through the exercises then when finished with the circuit I would immediately jump into a balance or coordination drill. Trying to execute the drill the best I could while fatigued. This would train my ability to function under fatigue. I would repeat this 3x. Stretch and eat. Then the afternoon Would be some sort of sprinting anaerobic program. Followed by stretching and a good recovery meal.
Wednesday: Long endurance, usually 3-4 hours of moving with my heart rate at the A1 level. Stretch then I would see my muscle guru, Craig Buhler www.amitmethod.com who would get me balanced and ready to attack the rest of the week.
Thursday: Same or similar to Monday
Friday: Similar to Tuesdays work but the afternoon would consist of work we called bounding. We would bound (forward jumping side to side, switch to a side shuffle, then switch to shuffling on the other said, then switch to bounding backwards side to side roughly 20 sec each continually rotating for 8 min, trying to keep you heart rate right at threshold then rest 10 min then repeat 8x then stretch
Saturday: Long easy endurance 3-4 hours of hiking, jogging or riding.
Sunday: off “
Spyder - While snow starting to fall and snowmaking operations getting underway at resorts across the country means ski season is upon us, you still have plenty of weeks to get some work under your belt before that first day on the slopes.
We’re going to do our best to get a little bit of work in so we’re feeling solid that first day on skis, and maybe you’ll find that a guy just like us hanging out in Lake Tahoe, California had some wisdom to his guide for procrastinators like us. It probably helps that he had a few years of fumbling around on the World Cup circuit to inform his guidance, too.