I've had the opportunity to regularly watch elite national team x country and dh athletes train at a facility near my home that I use. The workouts for each discipline have similarities and distinct differences, which makes sense because x-country skiers train for endurance for the most part and dh train for power over shorter periods. These folks dryland have similarities, but the balance of the workouts is shifted cross the disciplines.
The X country athletes do some plyo, some weights, occasional power lifting, a lot of core, and huge amounts aerobic endurance training and intervals (anaerobic). The dh athletes do a lot of plyo, strength, Olympic lifting, and core. Although the focus is less on endurance aerobic training, this is still part of the program while including interval training. Both groups do agility exercises, upper body strength, flexibility, etc. During dryland, both groups get into the gym a fair amount, but the focus of the gym work has a different emphasis. This reflects what they need for their sport…. x –country folks must be able to sustain work over long periods (sometime hours) whereas dh folks must sustain intense power over short time periods. All of these people are excellent athletes, but the emphasis is in developing endurance and speed for the x-country skiers and power, speed and some endurance for the dhers. Nonetheless, to be good at each sport, there must be balance. Both groups need agility, strength, endurance, and power. Both groups spend most of their time actually skiing (when snow is available) but dryland is an integral part of what they do.
For me, balance is necessary for my own training for skiing and biking (my two main sports). That is why I include lifting, including power lifting, throughout the year. Having said that, I’m training for a 4 day mtb stage race this July/August, and I have decreased the number of gym sessions. Once the race is over, I’ll gradually build up the strength training in anticipation for skiing. I feel best with dh skiing when I maintain balanced training over the course of the winter which includes ski skating, strength and power lifting, core, some spinning (including both long slow and interval) and back country skiing. I also believe that having a good level of strength from lifting (in addition to the other stuff I do) decreases the chances of injury when skiing. I have no claims to being an elite athlete – far from it – but maintaining balance in training, I believe, keeps my old body in good working order and absolutely improves both my performance and enjoyment of the sports that I do.
Edited by canadianskier - 5/11/12 at 8:59am