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Lower Body Strength and Plyometric Training without Weights

post #1 of 78
Thread Starter 

I know there is an excellent post on The most important aspect of a training for skiing program going on, but I wanted to separate one issue--strength.

 

Can you get enough strength and plyometric training for the lower body without using weights? Such as in a case when someone has low back issues and is hesitant about weights. Also, trying to be able to do most without going to gym and sneaking in workouts dispersed throughout the work day.

 

Assumptions:

  • Aggressive recreational skier (ex-competitive skier)
  • Post-ACL reconstruction and rehab
    • I tore my ACL by getting in the back seat when I compressed a mogul so I want to make sure that doesn't happen again
  • Goals: Reduce fatigue (ski all day), Injury Prevention
  • Avoiding free weights, but not opposed to dumbbells
  • Theraband for resistance is an option
  • Avoiding machines and most open kinetic chain exercises
    • Don't want to do the leg press squat machine while I lay on back--doesn't seem natural to me and puts stress on low back

 

Types of Exercises:

  • Mostly closed kinetic chain exercises
  • Squats - box/bench, jump, split squat jump, split squat (back leg on bench), skater, sissy, bosu, vary width, speed, one/two legs. on toes, & hold
  • Lunges - forward, reverse, side, stationary, walking, pendulum, knee lift, leg lift, jump, clock, curtsy, vary on/off step/bosu
  • Leg Raises - all directions
  • Hamstring focus - Need more!
    • Bridges - on bench or ball
    • Kickback - straight and bent leg
    • Good Mornings - w/Bands
    • Step work - jump on/off, step ups
  • Cycling - sprinting/intervals
  • Skier's Edge

 

Might not have the names of squats and lunges correct, but that's how I remember them.

post #2 of 78


Yes there are tons of activities where no gym is required! Take a look at the Drill of the Day thread as well.




Fwiw: the skiers edge seems to be doing more for my arms...idk?!

post #3 of 78

This book covers a variety of exercises and stretches.

 

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post #4 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by rx2ski View Post
 

I know there is an excellent post on The most important aspect of a training for skiing program going on, but I wanted to separate one issue--strength.

 

Can you get enough strength and plyometric training for the lower body without using weights? Such as in a case when someone has low back issues and is hesitant about weights. Also, trying to be able to do most without going to gym and sneaking in workouts dispersed throughout the work day.

 

Assumptions:

  • Aggressive recreational skier (ex-competitive skier)
  • Post-ACL reconstruction and rehab
    • I tore my ACL by getting in the back seat when I compressed a mogul so I want to make sure that doesn't happen again
  • Goals: Reduce fatigue (ski all day), Injury Prevention
  • Avoiding free weights, but not opposed to dumbbells
  • Theraband for resistance is an option
  • Avoiding machines and most open kinetic chain exercises
    • Don't want to do the leg press squat machine while I lay on back--doesn't seem natural to me and puts stress on low back

 

Types of Exercises:

  • Mostly closed kinetic chain exercises
  • Squats - box/bench, jump, split squat jump, split squat (back leg on bench), skater, sissy, bosu, vary width, speed, one/two legs. on toes, & hold
  • Lunges - forward, reverse, side, stationary, walking, pendulum, knee lift, leg lift, jump, clock, curtsy, vary on/off step/bosu
  • Leg Raises - all directions
  • Hamstring focus - Need more!
    • Bridges - on bench or ball
    • Kickback - straight and bent leg
    • Good Mornings - w/Bands
    • Step work - jump on/off, step ups
  • Cycling - sprinting/intervals
  • Skier's Edge

 

Might not have the names of squats and lunges correct, but that's how I remember them.

All those exercises are great and will get you "stronger" , but true strength you will need weight,period

post #5 of 78

you can increase your resistance and increase explosiveness but as lobo said if you want to see true strength gains you need to add resistance. 
no weights, how about elastic bands?

post #6 of 78
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jzamp View Post
 

you can increase your resistance and increase explosiveness but as lobo said if you want to see true strength gains you need to add resistance. 
no weights, how about elastic bands?

 

I've got silver therabands.

post #7 of 78

I would go and get a set of bands such as these, you can use them to add resistance to your squats, hamstrings, upper body, etc. this will add a bit of resistance that will help you with increasing strength without the stress of weights. plus side is that you can throw them around objects and use them for a lot of different exercises, get creative! :)


 

post #8 of 78

I like the plyometric http://homegym-exercises.com/skier_swings.html. I use two milk gallons. Wall sits with a twist are really great. Helpful are also (outdoor) box jumps. This is an awesome leg exercise.

post #9 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by stacykally View Post
 

I like the plyometric http://homegym-exercises.com/skier_swings.html. I use two milk gallons. Wall sits with a twist are really great. Helpful are also (outdoor) box jumps. This is an awesome leg exercise.

Like that exercise.  Especially makes sense as I do more Tai Chi.  Keeping knees bent works all sorts of muscles that are useful for balance.

 

Been doing two-foot hops up the stairs at home every so often.  Glad I learned good form from my PT and personal trainer.

post #10 of 78

It took a while, but after working with my personal trainer with the TRX for a few months last fall I decided it was helpful.  I know using the TRX once a week Apr-Jun made a big difference in how strong my core has become.  I can do 10-15 atomic push ups at this point.  10 reps for oblique curls or pikes are sometimes part of a TRX training session as well.

 

post #11 of 78

There are plenty of things to do without going to a gym or lifting weights, but at a certain point additional weight would have to be added to gain strength. Body weight exercises are very effective and woop me all the time. Not everyone agrees with the Crossfit mentality but this is what I subscribe to. Because of the popularity of Crossfit you can find many sites that offer technique/training templates/supplies.

 

It would be very easy and cost effective to augment body weight training with medicine balls and kettle bells. Box jumps, jump rope, and a pull up bar will also increase the variability for body weight movements. Form in movements should be your focus with previous injuries to not exacerbate issues.

post #12 of 78

I agree with most of the replies on this thread: you really want to add weights for lower body training. I love the TRX and use it myself and with almost all of my clients, but I think it's insufficient for lower body strengthening. Awesome for upper body and core, and great as an accessory for lower body, but not the whole picture. It is a great tool for now and then when you don't have access to weights.

 

That said, strengthening without weights is better than not strengthening. Particularly if you move into single leg stuff. For a 175 lb person, single leg squats with a 25# DB will give you the same training effect for your legs as doing a bilateral squat with 225 lbs on your back. 

post #13 of 78
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by evaino View Post

 

That said, strengthening without weights is better than not strengthening. Particularly if you move into single leg stuff. For a 175 lb person, single leg squats with a 25# DB will give you the same training effect for your legs as doing a bilateral squat with 225 lbs on your back.

 

I was kind of wondering how single leg squats with dumbbells translated. I've been doing some single leg squats with two 10# DB--it's not much, but it's something. I can't even imagine 225# on my back, nor do I even want to risk it trying.

 

Thanks.

post #14 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by evaino View Post
 

I agree with most of the replies on this thread: you really want to add weights for lower body training. I love the TRX and use it myself and with almost all of my clients, but I think it's insufficient for lower body strengthening. Awesome for upper body and core, and great as an accessory for lower body, but not the whole picture. It is a great tool for now and then when you don't have access to weights.

 

That said, strengthening without weights is better than not strengthening. Particularly if you move into single leg stuff. For a 175 lb person, single leg squats with a 25# DB will give you the same training effect for your legs as doing a bilateral squat with 225 lbs on your back.

Huh? I really would love to know the math behind the last sentence. How does a 25# DB translate to 225# bar on your back. I'm currently only up to 245# Back Squat and there is no way this is similar.

post #15 of 78

A single leg squat not only has to move your body weight + the iron, it also has to do major stabilization. This greatly increases muscle activity. 
Think about how many reps can you do on one leg (body weight) and how many you can do with two, it sure will be a lot more than double!

post #16 of 78

2 very different movements.

And putting 225 on you back without training yourself to that level would not end well.

post #17 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by jzamp View Post
 

A single leg squat not only has to move your body weight + the iron, it also has to do major stabilization. This greatly increases muscle activity. 
Think about how many reps can you do on one leg (body weight) and how many you can do with two, it sure will be a lot more than double!

So how can they be similar and work different muscles and/or differently?

 

not the same...

post #18 of 78
Thread Starter 

The core stabilizers work differently with DB vs BB. And then, while the single-leg squats, would work the traditional hamstrings/quads/etc., I would think it would take more hip stabilizers since I know I have a tendency to turn in during them.

post #19 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by rx2ski View Post
 

The core stabilizers work differently with DB vs BB. And then, while the single-leg squats, would work the traditional hamstrings/quads/etc., I would think it would take more hip stabilizers since I know I have a tendency to turn in during them.

 

I am assuming that the "turning in" you mention means your knee moves to the inside, and the hip rotates as this happens. This used to be a problem for me, but no longer.  

The fix was footbeds that address an unfortunate pronation.  Have you tried standing on something under that support foot that slightly lifts just the inside of its arch, or its first metatarsal?  

This might help.

post #20 of 78

As with any squat the objective in to have a flat back with no acute kyphosis (rounding of the back). Shoulders/hips/ankles should all be "stacked" over midline to reduce injury and increase efficiency in movement. The objective for a squat is to get to at least to 90 degrees with added benefits if the hip crease is below knee crease. foot placement cant toes out slightly no more than just outside hips for placement. A hard soled elevated shoes in the best for most lifting and squat movements, this is why when doing "pistols" I need to use weightlifting shoes to get the heel lift to perform more reps. This could be obtained easily by putting a .50" to .75" hard material under the heel of a shoe to gain the platform. Single legged squats are not easy and incorporates balance, strength, and flexibility. A simple air squat with both legs using good form will increase strength to progress in to higher level skill such as singles and pistols.

post #21 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by mogsie View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by jzamp View Post

 
A single leg squat not only has to move your body weight + the iron, it also has to do major stabilization. This greatly increases muscle activity. 

Think about how many reps can you do on one leg (body weight) and how many you can do with two, it sure will be a lot more than double!
So how can they be similar and work different muscles and/or differently?

not the same...
Similar doesn't mean the equal....
One is more complex than the other, but the major movement is the same.
post #22 of 78

Couple of thoughts:

 

1. When I say single leg squats, I mean to a decent depth. We use plyo boxes - standing on one and touching down to another. I'll try to get a video up this week. Not all single leg squats are created equal just like not all back squats are equal (depth etc).

 

2. The math: single leg squat with 25# DB at BW = 175 means one leg is squatting 200#. Back squat with 225 at BW = 175 is a total load on the legs of 400#, split by 2 legs = 200# each leg. That's  not to say they will feel the same. 400# on your back means that a) your back and core are hauling 400#, which is much more than in the single leg squat, and b) same goes for your central nervous system. Both are hard but in different ways, and both have different benefits. I like most of my clients to do both as the stabilization required is different in each. Unless there is a good reason they shouldn't do both (knee, back or hips issues may influence this).  

 

3. Just a thought, but unless the arch collapsing while squatting is a structural limitation - it may or may not be - I'd be hesitant to suggest adding lifts to correct it. Or I should say, try the following three options before you try the lift. option 1: think about "spreading the floor" with your feet when you squat (or deadlift). You don't want to actually move your feet, but once they are in position, press your feet into the floor and then try to spread it - it should activate your muscles in the hips which should stabilize you as you squat. 2. Same thing as 1, but also think about pushing your knees out slightly while you squat. 3. place a mini-band around your knees as you squat (body weight or light weight for this) and don't let the band push your knees together. If any or all of these allows you to squat without your arches collapsing, then it is probably functional instead of structural, and you'll want to keep at that to get the hip stabilizers stronger. Weightlifting shoes are great in that they help you to lift more, but in my opinion at least, you're better off squatting and deadlifting in socks as it will help you to force good form and more stabilizer muscle recruitment. You get a lot of stability from the shoe, but if you can get the stability from your foot and hips, you're better off. If you can't, then yes, get them from the shoes. 

post #23 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by evaino View Post
 

Couple of thoughts:

 

1. When I say single leg squats, I mean to a decent depth. We use plyo boxes - standing on one and touching down to another. I'll try to get a video up this week. Not all single leg squats are created equal just like not all back squats are equal (depth etc).

 

2. The math: single leg squat with 25# DB at BW = 175 means one leg is squatting 200#. Back squat with 225 at BW = 175 is a total load on the legs of 400#, split by 2 legs = 200# each leg. That's  not to say they will feel the same. 400# on your back means that a) your back and core are hauling 400#, which is much more than in the single leg squat, and b) same goes for your central nervous system. Both are hard but in different ways, and both have different benefits. I like most of my clients to do both as the stabilization required is different in each. Unless there is a good reason they shouldn't do both (knee, back or hips issues may influence this).

 

3. Just a thought, but unless the arch collapsing while squatting is a structural limitation - it may or may not be - I'd be hesitant to suggest adding lifts to correct it. Or I should say, try the following three options before you try the lift. option 1: think about "spreading the floor" with your feet when you squat (or deadlift). You don't want to actually move your feet, but once they are in position, press your feet into the floor and then try to spread it - it should activate your muscles in the hips which should stabilize you as you squat. 2. Same thing as 1, but also think about pushing your knees out slightly while you squat. 3. place a mini-band around your knees as you squat (body weight or light weight for this) and don't let the band push your knees together. If any or all of these allows you to squat without your arches collapsing, then it is probably functional instead of structural, and you'll want to keep at that to get the hip stabilizers stronger. Weightlifting shoes are great in that they help you to lift more, but in my opinion at least, you're better off squatting and deadlifting in socks as it will help you to force good form and more stabilizer muscle recruitment. You get a lot of stability from the shoe, but if you can get the stability from your foot and hips, you're better off. If you can't, then yes, get them from the shoes.

1,2,&3 yes.yes &yesThumbs Up

I think people were saying single leg & back are very different , which they are.

#3 spreading the floor with your feet works great as does the band around the knees.

Lifting shoes are great for squats , but put you in a poor position for deads.

post #24 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by iriponsnow View Post

Yes there are tons of activities where no gym is required!
 

 

 

post #25 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by cantunamunch View Post
 

 

 

It would be interesting to see if the guy who came up with this could change it a little bit so it could do maintenance of mountain bike trails...

post #26 of 78

3 simple no weight required killer leg rehab/ski preparation exercises.  I still think Plyo  and moderate weight training is the best way to train with an emphasis on keeping muscles loose and limber. Tight, strong muscles are useless. 

 

1. one legged squats with this variation  

 

1a. place to objects (anything you want, you are just touching these) about a foot in front and about a foot from each side of your stance leg

 

1b. Standing on one leg (no cheating)  in a fully upright stance, slowly lower yourself as low as possible and using your right arm reach across to the left side object maintaining good form looking straight ahead (no twisting of the body) release and stand back up slowly. do a sets of 12 alternating left and right.

 

The objective of this is to build stability, strength and balance while using your entire body.  Your core will be very important in this movement.  You can make them more difficult by moving the touch points farther away and apart

 

2.  Butt walks. you can just use bands. Form is again critical. Keeping the weight over the stepping leg, not sliding the other leg but slowly moving it inward.  I m sure there are good examples on YouTube.  I would start with a yellow or green band. Try doing 3 sets of 10 in each direction.  you should get a huge burn in your glutes, adductors and quads

 

 

3. 2 footed vertical leaps with correct form carefully landing to absorb impact up and then down. Start low and work up. Move at a decent pace, try 30 second intervals or just go for count. These will spike your heart rate so careful if you have a problem 

 

I can promise that anyone can benefit from these 3 exercises. They were prescribed by my PT (who specializes in ACL rehab).  Balance agility and flexibility are just as important if not more important than strength beyond a certain point (unless you are training for the Super G in the olympics then both are equally critical) Of course, cardio, cardio, cardio. All that strength is meaningless if you can't make 30 or 40 continuous turns in the trees or in the bumps. Intervals rule.  PLYO....

post #27 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post
 

3 simple no weight required killer leg rehab/ski preparation exercises.  I still think Plyo  and moderate weight training is the best way to train with an emphasis on keeping muscles loose and limber. Tight, strong muscles are useless. 

 

1. one legged squats with this variation  

 

1a. place to objects (anything you want, you are just touching these) about a foot in front and about a foot from each side of your stance leg

 

1b. Standing on one leg (no cheating)  in a fully upright stance, slowly lower yourself as low as possible and using your right arm reach across to the left side object maintaining good form looking straight ahead (no twisting of the body) release and stand back up slowly. do a sets of 12 alternating left and right.

 

The objective of this is to build stability, strength and balance while using your entire body.  Your core will be very important in this movement.  You can make them more difficult by moving the touch points farther away and apart

 

2.  Butt walks. you can just use bands. Form is again critical. Keeping the weight over the stepping leg, not sliding the other leg but slowly moving it inward.  I m sure there are good examples on YouTube.  I would start with a yellow or green band. Try doing 3 sets of 10 in each direction.  you should get a huge burn in your glutes, adductors and quads

 

 

3. 2 footed vertical leaps with correct form carefully landing to absorb impact up and then down. Start low and work up. Move at a decent pace, try 30 second intervals or just go for count. These will spike your heart rate so careful if you have a problem 

 

I can promise that anyone can benefit from these 3 exercises. They were prescribed by my PT (who specializes in ACL rehab).  Balance agility and flexibility are just as important if not more important than strength beyond a certain point (unless you are training for the Super G in the olympics then both are equally critical) Of course, cardio, cardio, cardio. All that strength is meaningless if you can't make 30 or 40 continuous turns in the trees or in the bumps. Intervals rule.  PLYO....

 

 

a simple way to build skiing cardio is early season make short turn down the fall line and nothing else all day long for everyday till you actually have terrain to ski on. All of the sudden 2k vertical foot bump runs are easily skied top to bottom with out mistakes.

 

evertyhing described yes but an 1 hour on SS mountain bike would probably do all off the above while dealing with mental aspect of skiing as well.

post #28 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Matta View Post
 

 

 

a simple way to build skiing cardio is early season make short turn down the fall line and nothing else all day long for everyday till you actually have terrain to ski on. All of the sudden 2k vertical foot bump runs are easily skied top to bottom with out mistakes.

Yes, and this is why I like the WROD even when people pooh-pooh October skiing. By the time conditions are good, I am used to skiing, my feet are used to ski boots, all that stuff, and I can ski all day if I need to.  (NEED, loosely defined :D )

 

That said, not everyone has access to many early season days ... 

post #29 of 78

Josh, I whole heartedly agree, I still say there's nothing better for training for skiing than mountain biking on single track. And yes, the mental aspect; spacial relations and timing are huge.  

post #30 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post
 

Yes, and this is why I like the WROD even when people pooh-pooh October skiing. By the time conditions are good, I am used to skiing, my feet are used to ski boots, all that stuff, and I can ski all day if I need to.  (NEED, loosely defined :D )

 

That said, not everyone has access to many early season days ... 

 

Yes! Totally agree if you can ski your way into ski fitness, why not?  You bring up great points about the feet getting used to the boots, specific movement patterns and the ability to dial in your gear so when it gets deep, you are enjoying it.    After all, all the fitness in the world wont' overcome painful boots. 

 

 

Need?  we've discussed that ;)

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