Originally Posted by Biowolf
Traditional weight training is useless for skiing. Neither Maier nor Miller do any. Maier rides the bike, Miller works on eccentric contraction. That's the kind of contraction one uses while skiing.
You're right, of course, Biowolf, that eccentric training is key and that Maier doesn't do much or any traditional weight lifting, but I think that's mainly a function of his motorcycle accident (he did a lot of lifting before then), and a lot of ski racers do a lot of weight training. Bode Miller (according to a writer for Men's Journal or Outdoor magazine this year--I forget which) does alternating sets of 6 350-400 lb. heavy squats, followed by hurdle jumps, in the offseason, along with his uphill unicycle rides, pushing the paving machine uphill, and one-legged hops on a tightrope. And Daron Rahlves does a lot of weight training, including heavy cleans for explosive leg strength.
Ron LeMaster says that racers going from 60 degree to 70 degree inclination increase forces acting on them from 2 Gs to 3 Gs, and Poutanian's coach says a key reason she's winning is that she's stronger than the other women.
IMHO, the best weight training exercises for skiing emphasize (1) balance under a load; (2) the eccentric (lowering) phase; and (3) explosive movements. Functional exercises are better than those seated in a machine.
So some of my favorites:
1. Squats. Variants: Partial squats, jump squats. Sumo squats with dumbells on a bongo board or bosu (flat side up.) One legged squats. Bar with squat rack is better than a Smith machine, because of the balance challenge.
2. Walking lunges, holding dumbells. But really concentrate on the lowering phase, controlling the decelleration. And then when you come back up, pause at the top, standing on one leg, for a count before you lunge forward onto your then suspended foot.
3. Plyometrics--jumping exercises. Especially lateral box jumps--do sets of 40-60 between sets of hamstring curls. Box jumps, lateral cone hops, picnic table hops, scissor jumps, knee tuck jumps.
4. Cleans. (An advanced exercise, and one if done wrong, will wreck your back. Work up to this one. And get the form down first with a broomstick, then a light bar, before working your way up. Or skip it entirely as too high in the "risk" quadrant on the risk/benefit line.)
5. Lateral lunges to work adductor and abductors, as are lateral step ups and lateral lunges up to a bench, if you're careful with your knees.
6. Deadlifts and hamstring curls. (For hamstring curls, you use a machine, but that's OK--skiers typically get muscle imbalances of strong quads, weak hamstrings if they don't do isolation exercises for hamstrings.)
7. If you do upper body weight lifting (and really--skiers don't need bigger biceps) you can do it as a post-fatigue set (after working legs) where you also work the legs (lunges with curl and press) or, if you can do it safely, on a balance apparatus like a swiss ball, bosu or bongo board. (Upright rows, curl and Arnold press, lawnmower pulls, military presses, lateral raises) One upper body lift that directly translates into poling power (and strong starts for racers) is explosive triceps pull-downs using a two-handed cable rope pull. Dips are also good.
I'm busy rethinking my program though, to try to see if I can tweak it to make it more high-level-racing-demand specific. It seems to me that a lot of the balance/strength challenge for racers is presented when the weight should be forward, on the ball of the foot instead of the whole foot, and a good training program should probably emphasize that as well.