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level 3 instructor - fitness level?

post #1 of 69
Thread Starter 

What are the fitness level requirements to pass the level 3? (CSIA or PSIA, either or.) Is it possible to be unfit and still demonstrate refinement-level skills in short radius, advanced parallel and bump demos? 

 

I visited my physio the other day to work on a back problem. I'm 30, 6', 160lbs. This time, like pretty much every other time, she commented on how weak I am. frown.gif specifically in the core, legs, and back. Oh, also, I'm apparently also stiff everywhere. I'd think she was just being mean if it weren't for the fact that the other physios have said the same thing.

 

Short of actually getting stronger by going to the gym, which I have a hard time committing to... is it possible to just keep taking more coaching sessions to keep improving? Or have I started to run into limitations imposed by lack of physical fitness? 

post #2 of 69

PSIA is way more about skills than fitness.  Anyone who can ski 2 days in a row is fit enough for a level 3 exam, but if a doctor noticed you were weaker at 30 than the typical middle aged man, you have bigger problems than skiing.  I'm more than twice your age, and some of my contemporaries are still as active as 30 year olds, but others can barely leave their house.  Which track are you on?

 

BK

post #3 of 69

 

May 7, 2011

 

Hi Metaphor_:

 

I would like to add my voice to what BK said.  It is a tad early to show the signs of "geezing"biggrin.gif.  A good refrain to keep in mind is "use it or lose it"eek.gif.

 

I would like to add another important item for you to consider when coaching seniors.  Another reason that seniors ski mostly in the AM hours is that we are affected much more than the general public, by the flat light conditions which occur more often in the PM hours of winter.  So, it would probably be wise to forgo mogul training during flat light conditions unless the purpose of the drill is to develop more sensitivity between ski snow feel.

 

Think snow,

 

CP

post #4 of 69

I would say that like in any sport fitness must play a part. Think about situations when you are teaching, generally a person who is overweight, and does little to no physical activity will not pick up skiing/snowboarding as fast as say somebody who eats well, and exercises 3 times a week. 

 

As for the CSIA 3, cardio fitness only goes so far, as does physcial strength. Practically being able to run a 5km in less than 20 minutes will not benefit you over all in your bump run (which was a must pass not sure if it still is?) as the run lasted no more than 2 minutes maximum. Nor will being 'strong' help that much, if you're able to squat 225lbs how will that help in a ski run - a squat being a mostly explosive move, and skiing requiring more of a muscle endurance rather than explosive power (unlike a hockey player or football linebacker). It's your ability to make your body move in the correct way and the correct time to the right degree of movement that will pass your skiing at a refinment and create variation level. 

 

From what I have experienced, I would say that the key should be to try and focus on your skiing, and when/if you have time, look into pilates/yoga which can help core strength and flexibilty which your physio has said you need. Core stability/strength is probably the most overlooked area of the body for skiing. I have found that these activities can be benifical (I scored well on my CSIA 4 this year) as well as taking little amount of time out of your day. 

 

Here is a good article written about ski specific training:

 

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/peak25.htm

 

 

 

Hope that helps (and makes sense)

 

 

 

 

post #5 of 69

Maybe it is possible to pass the level 3 with a low level of fitness, but I'm sure being in good shape would help. One of the first comments in my feedback when I passed was that they were impressed by my athleticism. The season I passed I went to the gym 3 times a week on top of skiing/working everyday and it definitely helped, if not on the exam, but by being able to train all day when you have the opportunity.

 

Core, legs and back are where you need to be strongest for skiing, I'm sure some gym time would help, why are you reluctant?

 

 

post #6 of 69

I went a little "overboard" when I was training for my Level III.  I worked out and swam 3-4 times a week and participated in 3 triathlons that summer.  I wanted to be in the best shape possible so that I couldn't blame myself for not being physically ready for the exam. 

 

If you don't really want to commit to a fitness program, I would suggest that you get some Rollerblades and an Indo Board (Balance board).

post #7 of 69
Metaphor,

I'd be the first to say I'm an overweight, out-of-shape, aging chunky monkey - but I still ski just fine. I passed my L3 (PSIA) a few years ago despite being quite weak from pneumonia. Exams are not about athleticism (and shouldn't be!). They're about skills, accuracy of movements and strategy.

Preparing for my L3 skiing I was unable to ski much due to messed up lungs for a couple months. A friend and I went up only a few hours a day on Tue, Wed and Thru just prior to the Exam to get some 'accuracy practice' on a few of the expected tasks, One-Legged Skiing, Bumps, Medium Turns in Bumps and Hop Turns in particular. Only a few hours each day, yet I was exhausted each night. Rested up on Friday and passed on Saturday, though had to ski about as efficiently as I've ever skied just to keep going. Examiners were looking for accuracy of movement patterns and outcomes - not athleticism (or I'd have been toast).

My lungs remained messed up for my Teaching Exam a week later and I was actually in worse shape for that Exam, even collapsing to the back seat numerous times in the afternoon, probably because my fellow candidates insisted on teaching "hop turns" and "jump-entry turns" in off-piste crud for their teaching segments... Ugh! 'Bout killed me. I passed this Exam because they were looking specifically for meaningful content, demos, understanding and deliver capability. Again 'athleticism' was not a requirement (though I think they gave me points for toughing it out).

If your own skiing takes a lot of strength, effort or athleticism then you may benefit greatly from working with clinicians who focus on efficiency and accuracy rather than athletic patterns. Fluid motions, progressive movements, constant balance and a generally tall overall stance work wonders for efficiency. Increase the accuracy of your movements in these areas and skiing becomes utterly effortless in bumps, steeps and most 'variable conditions' (not all - some conditions just force extra effort if your skis don't float).

Find the slowest, most effortless-seeming clinician in your area and ask, "How do you do that?" Fast skiing overpowers the snow and permits all kinds of movement inaccuracy to exist. Slow skiing - especially in steeps, bumps and otherwise tough conditions demonstrates accuracy of movements and doesn't require power to overcome the snow.

.ma
post #8 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo87 View Post

Practically being able to run a 5km in less than 20 minutes will not benefit you over all in your bump run (which was a must pass not sure if it still is?) as the run lasted no more than 2 minutes maximum. Nor will being 'strong' help that much, if you're able to squat 225lbs how will that help in a ski run - a squat being a mostly explosive move, and skiing requiring more of a muscle endurance rather than explosive power (unlike a hockey player or football linebacker).

 


It's worth it to get in shape - for skiing and for life.  It's more fun to be in shape than not for the sport of skiing.

 

Strength training is very important for anyone who wishes to become a better conditioned skier.  Improving your back squat, strengthening the legs, will yield big benefits to someone who is out of shape.  If you strength train your legs you will likely experience better muscular endurance on the hill and that will make you happy.  You can work squats fast or slow, high rep or low rep. Low bar or high bar.  They are phenomenal for skiers who are out of shape.

 

I agree that training for a 5k may not be the greatest way to prepare for skiing, but running is certainly a good conditioner.  I'd suggest high intensity at shorter distances so you can spend more time on other aspects of training.

 

 

 

post #9 of 69
When she said you're 'weak' was she talking about how weak muscles hurt your ability to rectify or avoid the back problem? Back problems at 30 are a bad sign. For me, back pain at 30 was a sign that I was carrying too many fenceposts into the backcountry and in general doing way too much heavy manual labor trying to keep up with the younger guys, and it went away as soon as my "exercise" became recreational. But having had some back problems a few decades later in life I have learned well that my left sacroiliac joint, for instance, is only as strong as my core is. And not to beat this thing to death, but if you're having back issues at 30 and don't do something to strengthen your core and keep your muscles balanced you're going to be hobbling at 40 and an old man at 50. Regardless of how efficiently you ski, you'll ski in pain, if you ski at all.
post #10 of 69
Ah, I forgot to say anything positive. Find something you like to do and do it. If you can run, get yourself to do squats, swim, or go to the gym, do it. If you don't want to do these things find something active to do. Honestly, if you're that weak, anything will be an improvement. Walk for an hour a day. Garden. Take restorative yoga classes to help loosen those muscles and then move on to regular classes to get strong and limber. The best activity is one you enjoy.
post #11 of 69


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by litterbug View Post
...and it went away as soon as my "exercise" became recreational. But having had some back problems a few decades later in life I have learned well that my left sacroiliac joint, for instance, is only as strong as my core is. And not to beat this thing to death, but if you're having back issues at 30 and don't do something to strengthen your core and keep your muscles balanced you're going to be hobbling at 40 and an old man at 50. Regardless of how efficiently you ski, you'll ski in pain, if you ski at all.


It seems that each persons' back pain can stem from a wide range of sources.  So not everyone will have the same experience that I have had.  My progress came from serious strength training by way of weights and Olympic lifting.  The dead-lift is what made the difference in my case.  But I am not suggesting that everyone with back problems should dead-lift.  Dead lifting in conjunction with a general strength program can really make a difference in core strength, not to mention leg strength.  Done with proper form, dead lifting is an effective way to strengthen the back which is not easy to do safely.

 

post #12 of 69


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

What are the fitness level requirements to pass the level 3? (CSIA or PSIA, either or.) Is it possible to be unfit and still demonstrate refinement-level skills in short radius, advanced parallel and bump demos? 

 

I visited my physio the other day to work on a back problem. I'm 30, 6', 160lbs. This time, like pretty much every other time, she commented on how weak I am. frown.gif specifically in the core, legs, and back. Oh, also, I'm apparently also stiff everywhere. I'd think she was just being mean if it weren't for the fact that the other physios have said the same thing.

 

Short of actually getting stronger by going to the gym, which I have a hard time committing to... is it possible to just keep taking more coaching sessions to keep improving? Or have I started to run into limitations imposed by lack of physical fitness? 


 

 

you dont need a gym to get stronger in fact possibly the worst way to get stronger as its actually work.

 

start doing yoga, start doing light amounts of (trail)running, start mountain biking. if your 'workout' is fun your much more likely to do it. (patting myself on the back) you would be hard pressed to find someone else as physically strong as me in the core and legs at my weight and I do not and will not ever 'workout" I go outside and play and push myself.

 

Despite what some are saying you have to be reasonable physically fit to do a L3 exam. at least at stowe we did 2000 vertical foot bump runs with only a stop in between them.

 

lastly your 30, but are talking like your 80. You have forgotten how to play, if your that weak and that stiff. In 3 years barring a serious injury I ll be in better shape than at 27. You have to think that next year youll be younger in mind and body every year.

 

 

 

post #13 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post


 


It seems that each persons' back pain can stem from a wide range of sources.  So not everyone will have the same experience that I have had.  My progress came from serious strength training by way of weights and Olympic lifting.  The dead-lift is what made the difference in my case.  But I am not suggesting that everyone with back problems should dead-lift.  Dead lifting in conjunction with a general strength program can really make a difference in core strength, not to mention leg strength.  Done with proper form, dead lifting is an effective way to strengthen the back which is not easy to do safely.

 


Absolutely, Bushwacker. I didn't mean to knock dead lifts, squats, etc. for those with the skill, balance and basic strength to do them safely. But we're talking about someone who lacks some basic conditioning, and unless there's an injury we don't know about, I assumed we're talking about the kind of classic back pain that comes from lack of support, bad posture, etc. I also read Metaphor's post as expressing a reluctance to do the activities we hear as a response to the question of how to regain fitness.

Deconditioning and a history of joint and back injuries by definition require instruction and coaching in form to even get started with any strengthening, to say nothing of dead lifts or squats, so I don't think the latter are useful suggestions to begin a training program, and I'd very strongly recommend that even a basic training regime start with skilled and attentive instruction and coaching. OTOH, yoga alone has been recommended as a primary activity to train for ski season, would directly address the OP's concerns with flexibility, and provides great strength training using only the body's weight. That, along with 'hardening' activities like running (if knees and back permit), biking, hiking, etc., would be great preparation for skiing.
post #14 of 69

Well the good news is you sound like you want to make the commitment.  I too hate to exercise so I have to find the enticement that makes me want to do it.  The key is to do something you love doing and will keep doing it.  I enjoy the wind in my face.  (Something I get a lot of skiing.)  So for me getting on a bike and pedaling my butt around the local lake is just the ticket. 

 

I use to do it on a mountain bike but there was something missing.  I finally figured out what was missing, speed or at least the feeling of wind in the face.  I picked up a comfort road bike and that was just what I needed.  A bit more speed and I found I liked it enough to go out and do it regularly.  I also push it now and then just to see what I can do.

 

So, the big question is, besides skiing, what physical activity do you enjoy enough to keep doing it and devote some effort to it?

post #15 of 69

Met,

 

The worst part of back trouble is all the advice you get to fix it. Regardless of level 3, getting healthy is something you need to make a priority decision about. If you make this your top priority, you have a good chance of beating the trouble. Having a goal and a reward system is one way to help you improve your odds. So although you don't need fitness to pass level 3, you can use your quest for level 3 to help motivate improving your fitness. Set a fitness level goal and reward yourself with a try for level 3 when you reach it. Normally I would not recommend trying for level 3 unless you know you've fully prepared to pass, but sometimes other priorities come first.

 

As said above, PSIA level 3 does not require fitness, but being fit can help you pass and being not fit can help you fail. One of the comments I got when I failed level 3 was "you are a strong skier". Another one of my co-candidates failed despite displaying an extreme level of flexibility. Fitness does not trump technique. Ironically, the ones that pass level 3 make skiing look effortless. Effortless technique and core strength work together to create excellent skiing. If your core strength is weak enough for PTs to nag, it's a fair bet that improving your core strength will do as much to improve your skiing as additional coaching. You don't have to go to the gym to get in shape. There are tons of exercises you can do at home without expensive equipment.

 

One of the surprising side benefits of the certification process is the breadth of education you should go through to prepare yourself. So especially if the prospect of getting fit is unappealing, that's your clue that you need to learn more about it as part of your training. For level 3, it's more important that you have the knowledge to be able to answer your own question than it is to improve upon your current level of fitness.

 

Good luck and remember that we are here to help.

post #16 of 69
Thread Starter 

Hi all, 

 

Thanks for the suggestions! It's always so interesting to hear from a diverse group of talented instructors and folks. People seem to fall somewhere between two positions: on the one end are advocates of low impact low effort efficiency skiing, and on the other are the folks who point out the increased athletic requirements of high performance skiing. It does sound like most people who have their 3 are at least (or were at the time) moderately fit or did some degree of conditioning. The exception being poor pneumonia-ridden michaelA - glad to hear you passed the exam anyway! 

 

One of my buddies who's also training for his 3 is also encouraging me to develop more muscle and stamina. I think the key barrier to relying on low effort, low athleticism skiing in the l3 exam is that you need to pass three of four runs, including:

  1. bump run on black terrain (mandatory pass for cert; moderate speed, the low impact "granny line" that I usually take doesn't meet requirements)
  2. advanced short radius (high edge angles/impulse, high speed)
  3. advanced parallel (high edge angles, impulse, managing+directing pressures rather than releasing them, high speed)
  4. intermediate parallel (least physically demanding)

 

I wonder if a skinny couch potato with solid technique has the inherent strength to resist the forces generated in advanced turns--even with the body stacked, taking advantage of momentum, and efficiently blending skills. I surmise not for long. (you must resist the forces building between the leg and the ski; otherwise your leg crumples/flexes and you lose the pressure against the snow and your performance vanishes.)  

 

Amusingly, Sandy Gardner, one of our level 3 Ontario course conductors, put "getting a gym membership" as his first item for level 3 fitness prep.

 

Originally Posted by Jim. View Post

Core, legs and back are where you need to be strongest for skiing, I'm sure some gym time would help, why are you reluctant?


Good question. My back injury happened at the gym, despite getting at least six coaching sessions from a personal trainer on technique. So... the gym is a no-go for me. There are some alternative suggestions that I may follow through with this summer though...

 

Originally Posted by Snowmiser View Post

If you don't really want to commit to a fitness program, I would suggest that you get some Rollerblades and an Indo Board (Balance board).


That's a great idea. I like rollerblading, I don't mind the feeling of exhaustion while blading, and it has some crossover potential with skiing. I think I can do this despite my patellofemoral syndrome. 

 

Originally Posted by michaelA View Post

If your own skiing takes a lot of strength, effort or athleticism then you may benefit greatly from working with clinicians who focus on efficiency and accuracy rather than athletic patterns. Fluid motions, progressive movements, constant balance and a generally tall overall stance work wonders for efficiency. Increase the accuracy of your movements in these areas and skiing becomes utterly effortless in bumps, steeps and most 'variable conditions' (not all - some conditions just force extra effort if your skis don't float).

Find the slowest, most effortless-seeming clinician in your area and ask, "How do you do that?" Fast skiing overpowers the snow and permits all kinds of movement inaccuracy to exist. Slow skiing - especially in steeps, bumps and otherwise tough conditions demonstrates accuracy of movements and doesn't require power to overcome the snow.


I often think about efficiency of skiing and how it manifests at higher levels. Consider the signs present in never-ever skiers and lower intermediates executing linked hockey stops. We can work towards replacing upper body movement with lower body movements, start taking advantage of angulation, and use steering and turn shape to allow the upper body a consistent path down the hill. But how about in higher end skiing? We start seeing a lot more force building against the ski through velocity and momentum, and there's a limit to how much stacking we can accomplish. Is it realistic to expect a performance like JF Beaulieu's from an out of shape guy? 

 

Amusingly the best piece of advice I received in skiing the past few years was to maintain a flexed athletic stance as my neutral position. When I think of transitioning, I think of a flexed position on a flattening ski, rolling to the new edge and steering, while starting to extend laterally. It's not necessarily congruent with the typical CSIA up-unweight seen in level 1+2... but it feels a lot more stable and smooth. But maybe it's not efficient. I don't know. 

 

We do have at least one clinician who looks quite efficient. However, he's very athletic. I think my ideal instructor is a skinny, tall, out of shape level 4. But looking through the ranks, they're all pretty athletic. Maybe that's a good answer to my question...

 

Originally Posted by litterbug View Post

When she said you're 'weak' was she talking about how weak muscles hurt your ability to rectify or avoid the back problem? Back problems at 30 are a bad sign. For me, back pain at 30 was a sign that I was carrying too many fenceposts into the backcountry and in general doing way too much heavy manual labor trying to keep up with the younger guys, and it went away as soon as my "exercise" became recreational. But having had some back problems a few decades later in life I have learned well that my left sacroiliac joint, for instance, is only as strong as my core is. And not to beat this thing to death, but if you're having back issues at 30 and don't do something to strengthen your core and keep your muscles balanced you're going to be hobbling at 40 and an old man at 50. Regardless of how efficiently you ski, you'll ski in pain, if you ski at all.

 

Hi litterbug, yes - I need to strengthen my core to overcome my back injury (and strengthen my inner quad to overcome my patellofemoral syndrom). I think there were some contributing factors like sitting in a crap chair and spending too much time sitting at a desk. Maybe core strength would have alleviated those problems. Unfortunately today while skiing I couldn't angulate on one side due to the pain. Sigh... it's now a priority. Point well taken about fixing it now. On the other hand, I'd like to think that's it's never too late, despite the evidence to the contrary. 

 

Originally Posted by litterbug View Post

The best activity is one you enjoy.


I wonder if there's a big market for building fitness programs for people who hate the gym. Maybe isolating all the components of "fitness" in an individual, charting out all the components filled by every sport, then building a plan with your clients based on what they enjoy. Particularly given how unfit the population at large is. A lot of us just don't enjoy many sports--but there are usually a few that we'd find fun enough to stick with given a plan.

 


Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post

Despite what some are saying you have to be reasonable physically fit to do a L3 exam. at least at stowe we did 2000 vertical foot bump runs with only a stop in between them.

 

lastly your 30, but are talking like your 80. You have forgotten how to play, if your that weak and that stiff. In 3 years barring a serious injury I ll be in better shape than at 27. You have to think that next year youll be younger in mind and body every year.

 

Wow, it sounds like the PSIA bump run requires much more endurance. Our l3 bump run (at Whistler) is only around 600'. Either way, you don't want to get to the bottom and be panting... or worse, get halfway down and fall apart!

 

I think your perspective of improving your shape every year is positive and refreshing. That'd be great.  
 

Originally Posted by T-Square View Post

Well the good news is you sound like you want to make the commitment.  I too hate to exercise so I have to find the enticement that makes me want to do it.  The key is to do something you love doing and will keep doing it.  I enjoy the wind in my face.  (Something I get a lot of skiing.)  So for me getting on a bike and pedaling my butt around the local lake is just the ticket. 


Honestly I've never succeeded before in sticking with a fitness plan... but... maybe if I can get some friends involved... physical activity, after the novelty of the new sensation wears off, only appeals to me when there are other people around to enjoy it with. 


Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post

The worst part of back trouble is all the advice you get to fix it. Regardless of level 3, getting healthy is something you need to make a priority decision about. If you make this your top priority, you have a good chance of beating the trouble. Having a goal and a reward system is one way to help you improve your odds. So although you don't need fitness to pass level 3, you can use your quest for level 3 to help motivate improving your fitness. Set a fitness level goal and reward yourself with a try for level 3 when you reach it. Normally I would not recommend trying for level 3 unless you know you've fully prepared to pass, but sometimes other priorities come first.

 

As said above, PSIA level 3 does not require fitness, but being fit can help you pass and being not fit can help you fail. One of the comments I got when I failed level 3 was "you are a strong skier". Another one of my co-candidates failed despite displaying an extreme level of flexibility. Fitness does not trump technique. Ironically, the ones that pass level 3 make skiing look effortless. Effortless technique and core strength work together to create excellent skiing. If your core strength is weak enough for PTs to nag, it's a fair bet that improving your core strength will do as much to improve your skiing as additional coaching. You don't have to go to the gym to get in shape. There are tons of exercises you can do at home without expensive equipment.

 

One of the surprising side benefits of the certification process is the breadth of education you should go through to prepare yourself. So especially if the prospect of getting fit is unappealing, that's your clue that you need to learn more about it as part of your training. For level 3, it's more important that you have the knowledge to be able to answer your own question than it is to improve upon your current level of fitness.


Thanks Rusty. I will use the exam as a reward for success. (Sounds nutty to use an exam as a reward! But it's still positive reinforcement.)

 

Did your examiner mean that you displayed a lot of physical strength in your skiing? We had one strong guy in my l3 course who looked solid as a boulder on his skis but failed the exam due to some upper body rotation. On the other end of the spectrum we had a girl with generally strong technique who failed the exam for not skiing at the required speed. I think she was in the same boat as me as I recall her collapsing her outside ski through transition to reduce pressures.  

 

Our CSCF coach training is more comprehensive regarding fitness and athleticism than CSIA. I think it's due to the difference between developing athletes versus teaching Joe Average. 

 

 

To all: Does anyone know of some good core exercises that you can do at home? Prefer exercises that simply fatigue the muscle so it collapses (plank) rather than induce pain (sit-ups).


Edited by Metaphor_ - 5/9/11 at 1:18am
post #17 of 69

Methapor,

While super fitness and stamina are not strictly required to pass the L3 exam, you'd be hard pressed to survive the exam in the PSIA-W division without it.  I don't know if you're familiar with Mammoth Mountain, but the top is at about 11,000 ft, and the L3 exam is more or less skiing the upper mountain for two days solid.  Certainly, good technique requires less energy, but skiing is not chess - give yourself a test - pick a mountain where you could possibly take the exam, and rip it top to bottom for two days.  If you can, then you're in shape for th exam.

 

post #18 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

To all: Does anyone know of some good core exercises that you can do at home? Prefer exercises that simply fatigue the muscle so it collapses (plank) rather than induce pain (sit-ups).

Pilates and yoga; pilates for awesome core strength (protect the back and increase stamina and stability); yoga for overall flexibility, stamina, and again, core strength. Classic sit-ups are pretty ineffective, compromise the back, and don't work the whole core. My suggestion is to take a few classes in each and then do the routines at home while attending classes periodically to check your form and learn new moves. I've done lots of classes in both and now either use routines with some improvisation with some mellow music on or do workouts from tapes/dvds. Pilates provides extremely fast results; you'll notice a difference in how you walk and move around within a few weeks, which will give you even more motivation to continue and progress. With both, you start with modified versions of the routines; once those become easier you move on to the full poses. I can't recommend them enough.

Have you asked your PT for a home routine? All PTs I've gone to have given me exercises to do at home, and one designed a home routine using bands and weights that not only toughened my shoulder girdle but worked awesomely on endurance and total fitness. Of course, it involved scurrying around my living room with a band wrapped around my feet, so I was glad to live alone! If I got back to that alone I'd be quite fit for skiing. Frankly, it was better than any gym routine I've even learned.

Aside from classes and, occasionally, hiking and skiing, I like solo activity the most. However, I'm excited about joining a local bike club both for motivation and to feel safer. My ultimate goal is to climb LCC at least to Snowbird. The trip down must be hysterical!
post #19 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

Did your examiner mean that you displayed a lot of physical strength in your skiing? We had one strong guy in my l3 course who looked solid as a boulder on his skis but failed the exam due to some upper body rotation. On the other end of the spectrum we had a girl with generally strong technique who failed the exam for not skiing at the required speed. I think she was in the same boat as me as I recall her collapsing her outside ski through transition to reduce pressures.  

 

To all: Does anyone know of some good core exercises that you can do at home? Prefer exercises that simply fatigue the muscle so it collapses (plank) rather than induce pain (sit-ups).

"Strong" skiing is not precisely defined anywhere that I know of. It's funny that I can't give you a solid definition, but when I got the feedback I knew exactly what the examiner meant. It's not the amount of strength being used so much as the "use of strength". I ski on stiff gear and I weigh (cough) "extra". High speed, high angles, little skidding means a lot of energy goes into and comes out of the ski. When I failed, my strength was masking a tiny aspect of lack of movement. Adding that movement made my "normal" skiing even stronger, but also gave me the ability to use a "lighter touch" more effectively. 

 

"Strong" skiing is also sometimes used to mean highly skilled. I've seen a couple women pass level 3 who would not be described as displaying physically strong skiing. But their movements were so precise and fluid it was easy to see them tackling any portion of the mountain with ease. Let's call their skiing technically strong. They passed easily and having seen that I can comfortably state that you do not need to be physically strong to pass. I've heard from some quarters that the standards for women and seniors are somehow lower than for young studs. Having personally witnessed the exam process, I've seen things that some could complain about, but don't believe those things meant the standard was lower. For example, at Killington there was a "senior" group that was formed with the expressed intent of going at a slower pace. That group never hit Outer Limits for their bump runs. But my "regular" group only went there for 1 out 3 examiners. Two out of three of my examiners felt that they could see what they needed to see on less intense bump runs.If they did not need this for a normal group, it's ok that they did not need it for a special group. BTW - I saw two examiners fall (within seconds of each other) doing task demonstrations on the "easier" bump runs. I've also seen other variation of technically strong skiing fail. One example was a skier who demonstrated incredible flexibility. That aspect of his skiing was amazing, but his movements were weak in some areas because he over relied on his flexibility. Although he was certainly an expert skier he could demonstrate all of the different types of movements that were asked for. Passing level 3 is about demonstrating a level of strength in enough different areas and not demonstrating "fatal" flaws.

 


My first recommendation for exercises is to have a medical professional review exercises before you start doing them and have a PT review your form to verify your technique is correct. I would recommend crunches over sit ups. You should be able to do some form of crunches without pain. I started with resting my legs form the knee down on beds/chairs/benches. I now do them with my legs in the air, knees bent 90 degrees (this is harder). You may need to other milder back exercises first. My PT had a great pamphlet of exercises he gave to me when I had my back trouble. Some simple ones that I do include:

-Knee to chest - Lie on your back. Bring your knees to your chest and hold with your arms wrapped/holding your knees.

-Back arch/flat - Lie on your back. Alternate between lifting your hips 3-4 inches and holding and lowering and flattening your entire back to the floor and holding.

-Leg stretch - From a sitting position, hold one leg straight out and flat on the floor. Try to reach out with both hands and touch as far up your leg toward your toes as possible.

-Leg up right stretch/femur rotation - Lie on your back and hold one leg in the air vertically. Alternate stretching your toes skyward (opening the ankle) or floorward (closing the ankle) and then rotating the foot in the horizontal plane (rotating the femur)

floor touches (drawing a blank on the traditional name)- stand with your legs slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Reach with right hand to touch the floor in front of your left foot (start with fingers, then touch palms).

jumping jacks

Push ups

 

These exercises are not core specific development exercises. They are starter exercises. There are variations that add twisting to increase the difficulty/core development. Also, there are shoulder exercises that you can do that also work the core because the shoulders and hips work together through the core. I have 2 sets of dumb bells (3 and 5 pounds) that I do various curls and raises with both arms and one 15 lb weight for one arm exercises. One example would to be start from standing with your arms at your side holding the weights. Raise the weights laterally (keeping arms straight) until your arms are parallel to the floor and out to your side. Another example is start from the same position and raise your arms until they are parallel to the floor with your hands in front of you, pause, then continue to raise over head. A final example is to start with your hand directly out in front of with your arms straight, then raise your hands away from each other at a 45 degrees angle. Do this with thumbs up (easy) or thumbs down (hard). The are a ton of core development exercises you can do with a fitness ball. My favorite is just sitting on the ball (feet not touching the floor). Last on the laundry list of ideas is: I got a book of exercises to do with a foam roller. This looks like it's a another gold mine of easy stuff to do that might also help relieve back pain.

 

Sad to hear I getting injured in the gym. I've heard horror stories about "certified" trainers whose certification was junk. I remember seeing an article somewhere that reviewed the various fitness certifications - that was scary. I've seen good ones and bad ones in my gyms, but I can't complain. I am a far worse "patient".

 

post #20 of 69

O yeah - bands. I got a pair of 6 foot long perforated "L" brackets. Put together they make a "U" one inch a side with the perforations running down the sides of the "U". That "U" is bolted to studs in the wall. I've run a couple bolts through the holes in the side of the U for high, middle and low and use. Then with bands hooked to carabiners I can clip those to the bolts. The exercises are for shoulder rehab but they work the hips and the core as well. Example exercise is a "cross" pulling the band from low to high or high to low across your body.

post #21 of 69
+1 on TheRusty's exercises. All of them. And clearly described with about half the words I'd have used. rolleyes.gif
post #22 of 69
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the details! Time to get improving. 

post #23 of 69

Hi Metaphor_.

 

Believe it or not I did the Lv3 course with you this winter.

 

I think you answered your own question when you started the thread. In particular about how the physios described you as 'stiff'. 

 

The best skiers make their movements look like water flowing down a hill. If your muscles are overworked and then stiffening, it stands to reason that your skiing would do the same. 

 

From what I remember, one the main points in your feedback with Kim and (I can't for the life of me remember the guys name) was lack of mobility and getting caught out of position when the speed was ramped up. By developing a stronger core and elasticity in your muscles, it should allow you to create powerful movements fluidly rather than having to over exert and as a result stiffen up.

 

Strength is being mislabeled. You don't need to become a beefcake bodybuilder type to be able to ski well, Hermann Maier has thighs like Atlas because he is a peak trained olympic athlete.

 

Athleticism however requires enough strength in the right muscles to aid in mobility, help you react quicker and deal with the forces that build up whilst skiing.

 

IMO

post #24 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo87 View Post
Nor will being 'strong' help that much, if you're able to squat 225lbs how will that help in a ski run - a squat being a mostly explosive move, and skiing requiring more of a muscle endurance rather than explosive power (unlike a hockey player or football linebacker).

 



By building a strength base for endurance  and by providing extra muscle tissue for glycogen storage.

 

Weakling endurance = midget basketball.

post #25 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo87 View Post

I would say that like in any sport fitness must play a part...

As for the CSIA 3, cardio fitness only goes so far, as does physcial strength. Practically being able to run a 5km in less than 20 minutes will not benefit you over all in your bump run (which was a must pass not sure if it still is?) as the run lasted no more than 2 minutes maximum. Nor will being 'strong' help that much, if you're able to squat 225lbs how will that help in a ski run - a squat being a mostly explosive move, and skiing requiring more of a muscle endurance rather than explosive power (unlike a hockey player or football linebacker).

 

 


I know little about Level 3 requirements, but an obviously out of shape instructor will have less credibility and be less capable of skiing well.  Skiing and being out of shape do not mix.

 

Improvements in strength will give a huge bang for buck, and quickly.  The reason squats are beneficial is that they make it possible to do other fitness training.  Training the big muscles will jump start an improved diet.  Not suggesting strength only, but if you are out of shape and are able to get serious lifting into your program the results will be noticeable.  Maybe an argument can be made for transfer of skills - that it doesn't work (I don't buy it though), but for conditioning, strength training is a must.

 

 

 


Edited by Paul Jones - 6/24/11 at 5:32am
post #26 of 69

I say just get your hands on one of these and you ll be good to go.

 

post #27 of 69

Metaphor,

 

Based on my novice observations, at your height, you should be closer to a178# (for men 106  # for the first 5' and 6 # for each inch there after).  It's only a guide and not a rule.  The key is to not just gain 18# but to build 18#'s of health.  Maybe for you it's only 10 # or maybe it's #25.  Muscle is heavier than fat so since it sounds like you have a core strength issue and not a weight issue, don't be surprised if you put on weight as you get healthier.   And healthier includes what is going on inside the body (nutrition) and what BWP mentioned about attitude on top of the physical attributes.

 

You've gotten plenty of recommendations for getting fit, or stronger and the like, and what it takes physically to pass level 3.  One of the things I used to tell the Marines I trained was to not train for the physical fitness test (pft).  Train for combat.  That way the the pft is an easy workout.  Your training should be the same.  It would be great to show up to the exam healthy enough to do it and leave each day feeling like it was an easy day.  Nerves eat up a lot of energy so being healthy will help with that too; the healthier you are the less nervous you'll be and the healthier you are the more reserve you have (to deal with any nervousness).  Maybe next years goal is to be healthy enough to do back to back exams!

 

Ken

post #28 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by cantunamunch View Post





By building a strength base for endurance  and by providing extra muscle tissue for glycogen storage.

 

Weakling endurance = midget basketball.

By that logic Ronnie Coleman could thrash Lance Armstrong in endurance, as Coleman's legs are around 2.5 times the size of Lance's....

I guess it's about HOW you train, Squat but not for pure strength, rather for endurance will be benefical....
 

 

post #29 of 69

You should look into getting a copy of Total Skiing -- I'm reading the book now and it addresses your concerns to a T.

post #30 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo87 View Post

Squat but not for pure strength, rather for endurance will be benefical....

 

 



Squats build strength.  Avoid high reps.

 

His point is that endurance training reduces strength.

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