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Physically Strongest Men on the World Cup

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I recently stumbled across someone on the internet saying Aksel Svindal had a maximum squat of ~440 lb (not sure what kind of squat). So I'm curious, who is currently the physically strongest or most athletic guy on the World Cup? I know Lindsey Vonn is the best conditioned the the women's side. Ted Ligety seems like the powerful (explosive) but that may just be his style. Bode Miller (around 2005) might have been good in some respects with his unique training approach and trademark recoveries. Then there's the retired Hermann Maier who seems worth mentioning because he was just that good. I'm not really sure, but I think I'd vote for Svindal. He always looks incredibly stable and rarely gets thrown around. Any thoughts?

post #2 of 15

A 200 kg squat wouldn't be much in a powerlifting gym.

I've watched muscleheads push a squat sled up a 45 degree incline with over 1600 lbs on it.

Squats would only be one small part of world class ski training but I would bet Body can squat plenty.

I know that Nancy Greene once trained by running up the mountain with a 200 lb backpack.

Squat that!

World class athletes in any sport are not like normal people.

Animals!

post #3 of 15

I'd throw most downhillers into that conversation.

 

Cuche.

Kroell

Defago

Obviously Aksel. I think it's probably Aksel or Cuche.

 


Edited by bruins14sammy - 12/9/11 at 5:24pm
post #4 of 15

I doubt that the best skiers are also the strongest or fittest. They are definitely very strong and fit (way above the average person), but at that level skill and maybe genetics probably win the day. And of course, a bit of luck always helps. 

post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjp5 View Post

. Ted Ligety seems like the powerful (explosive) but that may just be his style.


I'd put Hirscher in that conversation for sure.

 

post #6 of 15

Back in the day, Marc Ghiradelli was probably one of the strongest guys on the circuit.  Today his joints are probably being held together by nuts and bolts.

 

Dennis

post #7 of 15

Measure power to weight... and you are onto something.

post #8 of 15

A scientific study once found that the best DH racers on the world cup had a higher density/proportion of type I (slow-twitch) muscle fibers in their quad muscles.  They need to be able to be strong for 1-2 minutes continuously.

 

That doesn't necessarily translate into super-human squat capabilities that bodybuilders/powerlifters do.

 

 

And like one poster said, a 440 lb squat--while definitely respectable--is not really impressive if it is the max squat of guys on the WC.

post #9 of 15

440lb squat??? That shocks me. I can press 740 and squat roughly 600lbs...

post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rise To The Top View Post

440lb squat??? That shocks me. I can press 740 and squat roughly 600lbs...



I agree... when I was in college I could squat 395, and I'm a pretty small person.

post #11 of 15

It depends what you mean by "strongest". But if you consider overall condition, and not particular thing like max squat, then there's no doubt... Ivica Kostelic... who is still light years behind some xc skier, who hardly finished in top 80 on WC, when it comes to training and condition ;)

post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB View Post

I doubt that the best skiers are also the strongest or fittest. They are definitely very strong and fit (way above the average person), but at that level skill and maybe genetics probably win the day. And of course, a bit of luck always helps. 


 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitamin Ski View Post



I agree... when I was in college I could squat 395, and I'm a pretty small person.

It's not a lot of weight, but these guys are not training for power lifting. 

 

I don't know what I could squat in "college" (we call it University and reserve college for institutions granting technologist and technician degrees), but I do recall, as a challenge, maxing out the Universal machine with a couple hundred pounds more than my buddy who had the highest power to weight ratio of his phys-ed (I was in enginering, he was in phys-ed) class at about 190-200 lbs.  I weighed 120.  The next summer I got to weight train with a former Canadian power lifting champion.  I was also working long hours in construction so the over-training didn' d really do much for me, but when I got back to college in the fall I managed to put on 10 lbs in about a month.  However I found I was getting nowhere in my Karate, which meant more to me, still over-training.  I eventually stopped the weight training.  When I dropped the weight training, my karate took off.  Bottom line, to excel at a sport you have to sacrifice peak performance in something else.  The  best skiers will not be the strongest.
 

 

post #13 of 15

 

Of the members of my college team (two of whom raced in Beaver Creek last week), there were more than a few guys that could squat well north of 400lbs. Low squats with no belt. When some of these guys jumped into the fray in Europe after graduation, and worked with an Austrian coach, they found that their strength was great but their endurance was lacking compared to the most fit Europeans. I was surprised to hear that for three reasons, 1) I had always pictured steak-fed Austrians as being able to squat school buses full of children; and 2.) these guys were pretty aerobically fit, and ran every day; and 3.) I didn't see how really pushing aerobic fitness made sense for ski racing, in terms of how much work it takes relative to the benefits. I understand that it takes stamina to be able to train at a high level all day when the conditions are good, but I was surprised to hear that this was a perceived weakness of theirs.

 

Back to the original question - I am sure that there are some huge DH specialists that can squat a million pounds. I know Hans Olsson doesn't even do squats at all, but he loads up the leg press sled to its literal breaking point. Isn't there some 7 ft italian that they wheel out for the flatter DH's?

post #14 of 15


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rise To The Top View Post

440lb squat??? That shocks me. I can press 740 and squat roughly 600lbs...



 

Ha, ha if you were around 200lbs you would be world class (maybe even world record holder) in the squat.

post #15 of 15

The better skiers are not the ones who have the explosive power to push a lot of weight.

 

Here is a quick story told to me by Tommy Moe's coach who worked with him as a junior. When the team was in the gym, they would often do box jumps. Tommy was one of the worst on the team in explosive power. He couldn't do box jumps like the rest of the guys on the team - but he was killing them on the hill. The coach flipped the training around and started everyone doing very slow squats with a focus on moving down as slowly as possible (and then the athlete would be assisted on the 'up' side). Guess who was on top here? Tommy was the strongest on the team in a downward motion by a huge margin.

 

The moral of the story is that skiing is not about how much you can push, but how much you can absorb.

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