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Leg Routine: are Leg Blasters sufficient on their own?

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 

I’ve just begun the infamous Rob Shaul Leg Blaster pre-season workout (http://www.backcountry.com/explore/train-eccentric-leg-strength-for-alpine-skiing) - trying to give my pathetic chicken legs at least a fighting chance this season, haha.

 

I do that routine  2-3 times per week, and  my legs are sore as hell. I’m also supplementing the blasters with pushups, pull-ups, swimming, and singles tennis. 

 

My question: to maximize my leg development, should I also be incorporating other exercises alongside the Leg Blasters? I was thinking of adding heavy deadlifts and barbell squats, maybe just 1 day a week, and also something like incorporating a downhill tuck / “chair” pose. Would doing these be overkill above and beyond the Leg Blasters?

 

Thanks for any advice!

post #2 of 39

Been doing the leg blasters (to which I've added 20x of side to side hops) for a couple of weeks now.  They seem more of a cardio than a strength exercise, at least to me, and the jump squats bother one of my knees. Still very good though.

Recommend against barbell squats (if you value your knees 10 years hence), but endorse deadlifts as a way of challenging the "rear complex."

I've found kettlebells (kb) to be a terrific ski conditioner. With kb, try incorporating:

-prying squats (added benefit of increasing hip flexibility)-either 20, 24 or 28 kg and hold position for 20-30 secs; repeat 5x

-goblet squats 20 or 24 kg 3-5 sets of 10x

-double kb squats (from clean position)-2-16kg bells 3-5 sets of 8-10x

-single leg deadlifts w/kb in each hand 10x each leg with 12-16 kg kb in each hand

-suitcase squats with 28-36 kg kb in each hand 3 to 5 sets of 3-5x

 

if you goggle kettlebell exercises, you can find videos describing visually what I'm talking about

 

incorporate exercise complexes (one to the next, with little rest) to build cardio capacity

post #3 of 39
All these are good exercises, but they require skill to perform correctly, or else you can get injured.

The leg press is safe and can build serious muscle, which you'll need to ski well
post #4 of 39

Try foam rolling to alleviate soreness.  It will hurt real bad if you do it properly, but it will feel better later.  It's a sports massage you can give yourself.

 

http://www.prevention.com/fitness/strength-training/foam-roller-strengthen-muscles-and-relieve-pain

post #5 of 39
Thread Starter 

Hey guys, sorry for delay in following up: thanks so much for your feedback, it's much apprecated.

 

DOCEVG, that Kettle bell routine looks great - thank you for it. I'm looking to join a gym this week that has KB's - never used 'em before but am keen to start, and I will try to see if I can get some instruction.

 

I appreciate what you're saying about barbell squats - it's funny, i hear conflicting things from people: some say as long as you're strict with form, your knees will be fine, and then others say like you, that good form or not, weighted barbell squats are bad idea jeans, all day long. It certainly doesn't seem worth the risk, especially with so many other leg exercise options. With that said, i will definitlely look forward to incorporating deadlifts into my workouts, as I understand the full-body/posterior chain benefits of deadlifts are considerable.

 

 

Rod9301, noted on the leg press; though I've read that machines are generally not so great because of the limited ROM - would you still recommend them over something like single-leg bodyweight squats?

 

Texskier, noted on the Foam rollling. But I agree, does it ever hurt! but understood it's very worthwhile.

 

Thanks again guys.

post #6 of 39
I don't get the limited rom with a leg press, you can have as much rom as you wish.
Single leg squats are good, but pretty hard in the knees, because your ankles have to be flexed to maintain your balance.

And you can press more weight on a leg press, which I think it's better.

Hard to be too strong.
post #7 of 39

@GrandRoyal - I think your overall approach is good.  2-3 leg blaster workouts per week, plus other stuff to maintain variety and keep your sanity.  This is assuming you ski like me - not very often, but hard when you do.  Also, I have no formal fitness training, so take my advice with that in mind...

 

FWIW, I am in similar shape now as I was last year.  I didn't feel like I had problems with fitness on the slopes last year.  I am a recreational skier.  Last season trips: 2 trips of 3 days, 1 trip of 2 days, and 1 trip with 6 days (Deer Valley, PCMR, Whistler, and Breckenridge).  I skied all days consecutively from 9ish to 4pm-ish.  Time was spent roughly 50/50 on blues/blacks (plus some time on green traverses).

 

I have not done leg blasters before.  I gave the workout a shot yesterday with 10 sets of the "minis" with 30 second rest between each.  I found them to be quite difficult (I actually started with the 1 full set, but could barely get through it, so dropped to the minis for sets 2-10).  I had to stop for a few seconds to take a break at 5 squat jumps before doing the next 5 to end each set.  My legs are pretty sore today, but not too much worse than I feel after a good workout.

 

I typically workout 3-4 times per week doing Crossfit.  I have been doing this the last 6 years.

 

I don't do leg presses.  I don't have the equipment available, nor do I want to do them.  I think you gain more by doing back squats, since you have to maintain balance and thus engage a lot of side groups you may not with a leg press.  Of course, you need proper form to avoid injury and maximize gains.  Leg presses are probably less likely to cause an injury when you are fatigued.

 

Anyway, I will try to work the blasters into my routine and see how it goes this season...  The great thing about them is they require no equipment to do.   Great for when I want to workout on travel, or I don't feel like driving to the gym.

post #8 of 39

I tried the leg blasters a couple of months ago and I'm hooked. I do 3 sets along with 30 mins with the agility ladder, 3-4 time a week. Alternate days, I do HIIT/cardio.

 

Many years ago, we use to go to a gym to workout, I did a lot of machines and free weights.Once our daughter was born, we got a stairmaster, to save time. Furthermore, I made another compromise to save time and started to do interval training on the machine. No regrets, IMO, HIIT is the reason I can ski for most of the day.   

post #9 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrandRoyal View Post
 

 

 

DOCEVG, that Kettle bell routine looks great - thank you for it. I'm looking to join a gym this week that has KB's - never used 'em before but am keen to start, and I will try to see if I can get some instruction.

 

I appreciate what you're saying about barbell squats - it's funny, i hear conflicting things from people: some say as long as you're strict with form, your knees will be fine, and then others say like you, that good form or not, weighted barbell squats are bad idea jeans, all day long. It certainly doesn't seem worth the risk, especially with so many other leg exercise options. With that said, i will definitlely look forward to incorporating deadlifts into my workouts, as I understand the full-body/posterior chain benefits of deadlifts are considerable.

 

 

 

 Strongly encourage you to get KB instruction first and not go off swinging on your own.  I was required to take 10-12 hours of individualized instruction before I could even attend regular KB classes. KB benefits are directly proportional to KB form. And, injury risk from bad form can't be ignored. There are some real hard core skiers in my KB class and they swear its the single best prep they do for skiing.  

post #10 of 39
Thread Starter 

Rod9031, I may have misspoke saying ‘ROM’ - i just meant you’re limited in the plane(?) along which your leg moves, because the trajectory of the load is fixed; i.e. it’s a machine, so your stabilizer muscles aren’t working as hard. I may have that wrong, but that’s what I understood.

 

Texskier, good to hear abou tthe routine. Skiing-wise yeah, we may indeed be similar; lifelong expert skier, now weekend warrior, with the occasional weekday raid when work permits (and snow conditions override ;)). Ski 15-20 days/year at Whistler.

 

Yesterday was only my 4th leg blaster and I’m still firmly doing “Mini’s”, haha, but increasing my reps within each effort. I’m playing tennis today and then tomorrow will be a gym day with deadlifts, and see if I can get some KB instruction (and noted, DOCEVG, that instruction is a must!)

post #11 of 39
Train the major muscles to be very strong, all the little, stabilizing muscles will be taken care by whatever sports you're doing.
post #12 of 39

Ok, I thought I'd try out these leg blasters - OMG, I did 3 sets of the "mini" blasters 2 days ago. I'm still sore. I can barely get out of a chair now. :( If I drop something on the floor, well - I ain't getting it, maybe next week I'll be able to pick it up.

 

If you've never done these before, start out slow, like 1 set and see how it goes.

 

That is not to say I won't do it again, hells yes I'm going to do more of them, just as soon as I can stand again.

post #13 of 39

Hmmm, I was a little premature in gauging soreness...

 

I did 10 sets of the minis on Tuesday.  Wednesday, I was pretty sore in the AM, but nothing too crazy.  It got worse in the afternoon.  Still sore Thursday morning.  Did a lighter workout Thursday evening with lots of stretching and mostly cardio to get blood moving and I felt OK during the workout.  Still sore Friday AM, but not as bad as Thursday - so I think the light workout helped.  My house is 2 stories with bedroom upstairs.  I find myself currently developing strategies to minimize trips up and down :-)

 

The point I was trying to make in my earlier posts was that 10 sets of minis is pretty advanced... likely overkill for recreational skier similar to me.  10 sets of minis is where the workout starts!!

 

Going to keep with it anyway, probably do this 2x a week plus other stuff.  Maybe drop down the sets so I don't end up hobbling so bad.  LOL.

post #14 of 39

The pros on leg blasters are its HIIT when done fast. The other is its adds eccentric movements to the routine via the two types of lounges and the jumping squats. And usually its the result of the "braking" motion that makes us sore after skiing or hiking up and down a mountain. IMO, both HIIT and eccentric training that build fitness for longer days on the slopes. 

 

As for free weights and machines, negative (eccentric) reps can be done. Long ago, I used to add them once I near exhausted on the positive reps. 

post #15 of 39

I'm about a month in with 6 sets of mini blasters 3X a week. I dropped back to those after I thought I had broken something from jumping in with 3 sets of full blasters my first time out. The first couple of weeks was brutal, but lately the day after has gotten a lot better, more or less the kind of soreness we all know from normal gym workouts. Granted, I haven't ramped up the reps like Rob's prescription specifies, but I'm with TexSkier: I just want to get out and have a good time as a recreational skier. If I can keep up with the friends I ski with who are 20+ years younger than me,  so much the better. Adding the leg blasters to my pre-season routine is the best thing I have ever done for my skiing fitness. 

post #16 of 39

Knee killer.

 

Don't forget your core.  Whatever you like for abs, obliques, back, get 'em done.

post #17 of 39
I don't see how the blasters are a knee killer. The usual rules for lunges apply: don't flex the knees forward of the toes and make sure the knees track over the toes, not extending either medial to the big toe or lateral to the small toe.
post #18 of 39

I would add that next summer is when you should do the heavy squats, deadlifts etc to build mass. Once you've done that you can train that mass in strength and endurance. If you want a more complete discussion of all this go to Rob Shaul's website and look at the various different programs available and how he uses each with the athletes who train in Jackson. (Btw, I haven't paid for the workout just looked at samples and improvised but I keep meaning to pay for the ski workout and do the whole thing.) But thanks for the leg progression, I'm going to try that.

 

http://mtntactical.com/fitness/mountain-athlete/

post #19 of 39
post #20 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmoliu View Post

I don't see how the blasters are a knee killer. The usual rules for lunges apply: don't flex the knees forward of the toes and make sure the knees track over the toes, not extending either medial to the big toe or lateral to the small toe.


Agree that leg blasters don't mess up knees.  The exercises in the leg blaster are faster versions of the exercises I did for knee rehab.  Idea was to build strong hamstrings and glutes.  Learning and using correct form makes a huge difference.

post #21 of 39
post #22 of 39
Interesting article. I have arthritis under the patella and it does hurt to do deep squats.
post #23 of 39
Good article, lobo. Thanks for the link.

Chondromalacia patellae (degeneration of the patella's cartilage) is another issue and yes, any bending of the loaded knee will be painful. Sorry to see you have that, rod. A MRI to assess how bad it is may be worthwhile as a guide too how much a physical therapy program can offer. A ski buddy of mine has it moderately badly, and is working with a physical therapist in the hopes of getting back on the slopes after laying off for a couple of years. There is no cure, but strengthening the muscles around the knee to redirect the forces apparently is helping him.
post #24 of 39
It's fine now, I had stem cell injections in it.
post #25 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by rod9301 View Post

It's fine now, I had stem cell injections in it.


How did you and your doctors get to that point?  MRI first, then PT that didn't work for a while, then injections?

Or  some other pathway  ending in the injections?  

post #26 of 39

I am no physician nor strength coach, but based on personal experience I would agree with the article.  I was a powerlifter in my early 20s, yet have never had knee issues.  I'm 58, now.  None of the people I knew that lift(ed) heavy ever had knee issues.

 

Currently, I do hack squats (going deep) since the company gym has no squat rack nor olympic barbells.  Added leg blasters to my pre-season workouts a couple weeks ago.  Actually 'only' mini leg blasters at moment and will ramp up to full leg blasters next week.  I did leg blasters last year as well, but still had some soreness by end of full ski days a few times.  I'm hoping that the strength building from the extra weight in the hack squats along with starting the leg blasters earlier than prior year will help alleviate any end-of-day muscle soreness during the coming ski season.      

post #27 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post


How did you and your doctors get to that point?  MRI first, then PT that didn't work for a while, then injections?
Or  some other pathway  ending in the injections?  
Mri, pt, ha injections, then I discovered the stem cells on my own.
post #28 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by rod9301 View Post

Interesting article. I have arthritis under the patella and it does hurt to do deep squats.

Are you sure it's arthritis giving you the pain?

Quite often I'll see someone squatting and they allow their knees to drive forward instead of their hips back. This will for sure light up the knees.

post #29 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by loboskis View Post

Are you sure it's arthritis giving you the pain?
Quite often I'll see someone squatting and they allow their knees to drive forward instead of their hips back. This will for sure light up the knees.
yes I'm sure
post #30 of 39

Question:  What is the physiological effect of "eccentric" or "negative" weight training?    I realized I don't know what to expect and/or plan for with this method of training.  I am looking for more information.  I suspect this method of training could be much better than what I have done in the past. 

 

(Note:  The last 2 paragraphs are personal background and current state information.)

 

It was quite a surprise that this was a recent topic because I just recently discovered the "Leg Blasters" and added them to my workouts.  I needed a back up workout for when the gym was crowded and I couldn't get on the equipment for my other routine.  I am just about 4 weeks into any real exercise after about 6 months of doing nothing (very depressing).  I am 52 so I am trying to be patient with my training progression.  I am relieved to see there is a wide range of physical conditions among all the responses.  I had to laugh at myself when I couldn't even come close to the interval times for the introductory "Mini-Blasters".  I was able to do 9 sets but I had to take almost 3 minutes after sets 3 and 6 and I was taking at least a minute between the other sets.  I could only do 8 reps of the lunge and squat jumps.  My legs just failed from the lactic acid build up.  The second time I did Leg Blasters, I did 8 sets with 1 minute between sets.  I still couldn't do more than 8 of the jumps. 

 

What really got my attention was the idea that the eccentric training method more closely replicated the forces encountered when skiing.  In the past, my strength and conditioning cycles always progressed to explosive power exercises.  In the first 4-6 weeks of any training cycle, I do lighter weights/higher reps (12-15).  I am more focused on performing the full range of motion for each exercise in a very slow and controlled manner.  After reading the article on eccentric training, I really slowed down the "release" of all my exercises.  This week:  Tu. Leg Blasters, Wed. bicycle trainer (1hr), Th. off.  I was looking forward to a good Friday night workout.  My mental fortitude couldn't overcome my physical fatigue.  After an hour of treadmill warmup, active stretching and core work, it was evident that I didn't have the energy to do anything beneficial.  Saturday morning, I felt much better but I still didn't feel like I would have the energy to do the Leg Blaster lunge and squat jumps.  I still had a very good workout focusing on the slow release for my standard lifting exercises.  Today, I am definitely very sore.  However, the soreness is more around all of my joints.  These are the areas that I want to be conditioning in the first few weeks of a training cycle.  The soreness feels healthy not injury pain.  

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