Ski Conditioning With The U.S. Ski Team
Whether you have been procrastinating or you have already started your training regimen, now is the time to get strong for ski season. Here are some of the best workouts designed by the U.S. Ski Team and Spyder athletes to help you kick things into gear this fall. Your legs may not thank you in the short term, but when you are skiing bell to bell this season they will.
Jared Goldberg's WorkoutThere are several workouts I do in the summer that I find translate the best to skiing. It’s easy to get caught into the cycle of straight forward unnatural strength exercises, these exercises build strength and power in a more unique way.
Single Leg GS Squats:
The set-up- Find a T-Bar Row Platform and put the barbell in with a light plate at first, you can always add more later. At the Center of Excellence, we have angled platforms that make this easier, however you can angle a small box on its side facing the base of the row platform with a 45lb plate on the ground or anything that’s a couple inches thick. Make sure whatever the platform you make is sturdy. Now put your leg farthest away from the bar bell base on the box and keep the other leg off the box floating. Hold the bar bell in your arms like you’re carrying wood and slightly lean against the bar and plate with your shoulder. Do 4 sets of 6 reps each side.
*The importance of this workout is that it is one of the only ways to reenact the forces put through your lower leg when you’re in a ski turn. When you do any side to side motion without skis, your foot is flat on the ground which isn’t the position your ankle is in when in a ski boot. This workout mimics the angle of your ski as it is tipped up arcing through the snow.
The set-up- This one will be more difficult to find but many regular gyms are starting to have push sleds not just cross fit gyms. Start with a couple plates and work your way up. I think about extending as much as possible with my legs and exploding forward every step, while keeping my stance width the same and all my toes pushing into the ground. Do 5 sets of 20 meter pushes.
*This workout is great because it builds power naturally and isn’t as boring as plain old reps of something else
Bar Bell Chest Press:
The set-up- Go back to the T-Bar Row Platform with the bar and plate. Stand in an athletic position facing the base of the platform. Keep everything, knees, hips, and shoulders facing forward and do single arm presses overhead. Make sure to engage your shoulder blade and explode the weight upwards. 10 reps per side times 3.
*This is great for your core and is a an all body power exercise. This will build upper body and shoulder strength while making you engage your core to stabilize. When I add more weight, I extend slightly with my legs to engage my glutes which helps get the weight moving.
Single-Leg Sled Push:Three years ago, I tore my Achilles tendon while skiing. It’s been surprisingly difficult to build my calf back up and I’ve been trying different things every off-season for it. I’ve found that straight forward calf raises are too difficult to engage all the right muscles. This single leg sled push helps me work my calf in its full range in a natural movement that is easier to do than isolated calf raises because your pushing forward and can tune out the pain easier.
The Set-Up- I use about half the weight I would use if I were doing a regular sled push. I try to push as early as possible when my ankle is cocked underneath me, then extend as far as possible behind me to get full range. I push predominately through my big toe with my foot slightly angled outwards to engage my gastroc muscle more which is the weakest due to the injury. My other calf is big enough, so I just walk flat footed on that side and put my energy into the weaker calf.
Alice Merryweather's Workout
Core is super important for ski racing, as it helps with both power and balance. Your core is your structural base, and having a strong base sets you up for success. Core strength is also helpful in bumpy sections of courses where you need stability just to stay out of the net. Do four sets of the following:
- Straight legged sit-ups.
- Side v-ups.
- Russian twists with a weight in hands.
Strength workout:Leg strength is also imperative for alpine skiing. Having strong quad and hamstring muscles allows you to generate speed and power at the top of the turn. Also, the stronger your legs are, the more laps you can do during training and the more you can focus on your technique.
- Squats: either body weight or with a barbell.
- Single-leg RDL (roman dead lift): maintain strict form to avoid stressing your back.
- Weighted forward and backward lunges.
- Lateral step ups onto a box.
Power workout:Explosiveness goes hand in hand with strength for generating speed. Explosive power allows you to push off the ski quickly and forcefully, making it a vital component of alpine skiing.
- 40-meter sprints.
- Broad jumps.
- Split-squat jumps.
- Stair jumps (three or four stairs at a time).
Having a solid cardio foundation is helpful for all other aspects of training, so I try to get a few long, slow cardio sessions in each week. For these I prefer to hike, but mountain/road biking are great alternatives, and running can be good too if that’s your thing!
River Radamus' Workout
HIIT (High Intensity Intervals Training):
During the prep period, I use the Echo bike from two to four times a week. It’s a brutal machine, commonly used in Crossfit workouts, that quickly pushes you to your absolute limits. I use the Echo bike mostly to improve my anaerobic capacity and my power endurance. This is an interval workout I will often use at the end of my high volume days.
On a Spin Bike:
- 5 Minutes Easy
- 2 Minutes Harder
- 3 x [50 seconds easy + 10 seconds Hard]
- 5 Minutes rest
On the Echo Bike (2 Rounds):
-8 x [30 Seconds Max Effort + 60 Seconds Rest]
-10-12 Minutes rest between rounds
After 2 rounds, you should be physically, mentally, and emotionally drained. I’ve thrown up more than once after this workout. That's how you know it works.
Mid Season Session:During the season I put my body under extreme stress. I don’t always have the energy to run through my typical workouts, but I still need to keep my body at peak performance. This session helps with my recovery, keeps me moving, and maintains strength through heavy training periods. Bonus: it only takes 30 minutes.
EMOM 30 Minutes:(3 Rounds, Moving to the next exercise on each new minute)
- Jump Rope x 50
- Inchworm Pushup x 6
- 20 lb. Medball Squat to Press x 16
- McGill Side Bridge x 8 per side
- Kettlebell Goblet lateral lunge x 8 per side
- Singe Leg Glute bridge x 8 per side
- 10 lb. Medball Hollow Rocks x 16
- Miniband Lateral walk x 10m each way
- Curtsy lunges x 16 total
- Exercise of your choice