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Comments on Off-Season Regimen

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for help in developing my off-season conditioning plan. My goal is to be strong enough to get the best possible benefits out of Pro-Jam in December en route to a successful outcome for the Level II skiing exam in January '06.

I am trying to focus on a regimen that I can actually stay committed to. It may for that reason seem somewhat less robust than others I have seen on this site. Also, at 62, I have noticed that I need 5-6 days of recovery after hypertrophic resistance workouts. Here it is:

Cardio: Monday, Wednesday and Friday
This will be bicycling, nordic-track, or in-line skating, for minimum of ½ hour, steadily increasing distance, incline, and/or load. (skating: “ski” down slope for technique work, skate back up for cardio.)

Core: Tuesday and Thursday
Crunches and back extensions, etc. on exercise ball

Plyometrics: Tuesday and Thursday
Box jumps, squat thrusts, jump rope, etc.

Lower Body: Saturday
Lunges, bodyweight squats, working up to squat thrusts, pistols, weighted squats, etc. Hamstring curls on machine.

Upper Body: Sunday
Dumbbell curls, trap shrugs, pushups, etc.

Balance: Daily
Balance board for 10-15 minutes

Flexibility: Daily
Various stretches for general back health; Pilates “all fours” arm/leg stretches; yoga torso twists, etc.

Tai Chi: Weekly right now, hopefully something I can continue.

Also mixed in will be swimming, mountain hikes, beach walks, etc.

I would appreciate any comments/recommendations regarding where I am so far on putting this together.
Thanks for any comments, all.

JoeB
post #2 of 21
Combine the upper and lower body weight routines into a whole body routine. Then do that routine 2x per week. ensure that there are 2 or 3 rest days between workouts. Concentrate on leg strength. The core work should do the rest. I mean, there's no reason to build a big chest in this sport....

I would NOT continually increase weights each day. You can for the first week or two, then periodize. One day heavy, one day light. Heavy could be 80-85% (4-6 reps) of your 1 rep max. (There are charts you can use to find that out, don't go for a 1RM -- you can pull something.) Light would be 60% or less (10-12 reps).

Just because you are not sweating and grunting does not mean it's useless. The light days are a kind of dynamic stretch, that allows you to concentrate on form. Form that you will NOT break during the heavier days. Each month, you can recalculate your 1RM and adjust poundages. This will ensure you don't go too heavy too soon.

Make sure that your weight lifting work does NOT include Lunges and other activities that may be considered plyometric...

I would NOT do the plyometrics right away, unless of course they are already part of your workout. Add them slowly, after 8 weeks of lifting and core work.

I would not pair core and explosive (plyo) work on the same days. The core needs to be stable for the plyo to be safe. If you tire yourself out with core work, and then move to plyo, you run a danger of hurting yourself.

I would not put too much stress on the cardio aspect of the workout. Skiing is more anearobic than aerobic. It's not an endurance event. (well, xcountry excluded). The bike stuff, I'd do at 65% of Max heart rate, 1hr max. That's just to keep the metabolism going. If cardio is a must, be careful when keeping heartrates over 80% for extended periods... then max 35 minutes. There is diminishing returns after that. The biggest bang for your buck is going from the 25 to 30 minute level.


The notion of skating back up hill and skiing down is a good one, just be careful of how high your heart rate will get on the way up. I would not recommend that exercise, without a strap-on heart rate monitor. It's incredible on just how high one's HR can get.
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Good stuff, BigE; that's just what I needed: comments from someone who knows what he's doing.

A couple of questions occur right away: (1) what is your opinion on the hamstring curls to keep the quads honest? Am I on track there or is there a better approach to that?

and:

(2) What is the source of your concern about % of max HR?

Thanks for the help.

JoeB
post #4 of 21
Hamstring curls are fine.

It sounds like you may try to sprint uphill after a relatively easy downhill glide. The heartrate during a sprint can soar.

From what I've read, the percentages (65 and 80) define approx the limit where the body switches operating mode. Up to about 65%, you will burn more stored fat. Over 80%, you will get the most cardio benefit. 65-80 is a no-mans land, where not much of either thing really happens effectively.

The best is to alternate between bouts of higher and lower rates. Say 2 minute low, 1 minute high. (Just not too high). It's not the sustained effort that is key, it's the ability for the heart to recover from stress....

I prefer the stationary bike for that sort of stuff.
post #5 of 21
I'm a gym rat and probably enjoy the "off-season" as much as ski season. I agree with everything BigE has said. Skip the plyometrics........ ride a stationary bike for thirty minutes a day.

I spent a lot of money in the past getting my lactic threshold tested to pinpoint where in terms of heartrate I was burning the most fat. It's a self effacing truth. If you can talk....that's a great heart rate.

I work in the off season as a consultant for a professional football team in a "non football/operational role" and spend a lot of time chatting with the strength coaches. Kettlebells are really popular in the NFL right now. Here is a popular routine;

http://www.dragondoor.com/articler/mode3/245/

I'm a masters powerlifter, hence, my focus is on three exercises-bench,squat,dead lift. If I could just do only one exercise, it may well be dead lifts. I think you could do five or six sets of 12-15 reps, light weight, with very little rest between sets, two or three days a week and be very well prepared for ski season.
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Rusty, thanks.

Re plyo work: my main goal there is mogul footwork. Do I understand you correctly that I should not sweat plyos to help with that?

Also, on the stationery bike work, three questions:

1) what do you think about NordicTrack as a substitute?
2) when you say 30 minutes a day, do you mean each and every day?
3) when you say "if you can talk, that's a great rate," do you mean for fat burning only or does general cardio fitness play into that as well?

I envy your gym rat lifestyle. I had to quit roundball about 10 years ago, because it took my feet and ankles too long to recover. Too many long endless days in my youth playing outdoor ball on asphalt courts. But I wouldn't trade the memories for anything.

Thanks for the helpful opinions.

JoeB
post #7 of 21
The plyo's are ok. Just not together with weight-lifting.

I'd restrict myself to low box jumps. The goal being quickness, not height.

Two sets of 25.

Also for quickness, use the stationary cycle at 100 rpm, not 60/80.

You're not training for explosive power or raw strength. I'd favour agility well over strength for what you want to ski. IMO, your focus should be core strength, balance, and agility. Any pure strength exercise should focus on your legs. Your desire is to develop fast-twitch muscle fibre, not slow-twitch -- so lifting like a power lifter won't help you at all.

The best would be to concentrate on body weight exercises, and one arm dumbell routines. Body weight helps the coordination and balance a lot. Using a fitball is very good.

The assymetric nature of one armed lifts mean that you will be doing work on the core and your stabilizers at the same time.

Have you heard of Matt Furey and combat conditioning? Hindu squats, back bridge and hindu pushups are the mainstays:

http://www.mattfurey.com/conditioning_book.html
post #8 of 21
For a 30 minute cardio workout, I like the Nordic Track better than stationary bike. I like the workout I get using the arm pulleys.
post #9 of 21
I prefer the cycles range of motion.
post #10 of 21
I think my knees actually benefit from a stationary bike.

I spin at at 128-138 HR. It's slow and steady. There are many folks who do intervals in spinning classes. As BigE stated skiing is a fairly anaerobic activity.

As far as fast feet......I'm a guy who doesn't have a fast twitch muscle in his body and very slow feet. I have a theory that in bumps the vast majority of skiers do "too much, too soon, too fast. Watch a really smooth bump skier and the blend of movements is not all that "quick".

Plyos hurt my knees. In addition, how often do we replicate those movements skiing?

I think the one thing that gets a skier in shape to ski is to spend 150+ days on snow.

As an aside, spent the day at A-Basin today and the conditions are still very, very good.
post #11 of 21
Gosh, I read all the posts concerning weights and I think that either I'm not doing something right or others are misunderstanding the idea of functional fitness.

First, I spent my life in construction, and even though I was the "boss", I still put in my share of physical work. My company was small and lean and we did alot of log projects in out of the way places in Montana. which means we did things the old fashioned way. So lot's of wear and tear injuries, in particular in the knees, but also in the wrists and some shoulder issues as well.

Now I'm 52, and teach 5 days a week. I started this year in better shape with little soreness, and I never did any weight work with my lower body, and little on my upper body. I teach till after the lifts shutdown, and all my two oclock program lessons are the physicaly hardest of the day. They require skiing steeps and bumps along with hiking the ridge this year. I did like my two days off though, and I felt the it more as the year progressed. Mainly I think because I didn't have the time or energy to do my workout as extensibly as I should.

The basis of my rountine is tai chi chaun. this includes range of motion warm up exercises done with dynamic range of motion in mind.

Plyomertric work is limited to jumping rope. Not long, just a couple of minutes or so, but this does help in functional explosive power, and in joint stability and protection. Do it smartly and it will help your skiing along with everyday movement. Helps with anaerobic conditioning as well.

I do alot of work with an exercise ball, and have added some this year like the frog and the dive.

For the core, I never do a traditional crunch, I do core twists holding a medicinne ball at arms length in a half situp position until I lose form. I also sit on my butt and lower upperbody as I extend my legs just above the floor, never touching my feet. I also do side bridges lowering in an eccentric slow 5 count.

I also do regularly something like a silk reeling exercise by holding a small 5 lb. ball and rotating it under my arm pit I then bring it around in a sweeping circular move that brings it around behind my body and back to the front. I do this in a modified horse stance, which chalenges the balance. It is not easy an easy sequence of moves, requires dynamic movement from the spine 360 degrees and arms circumduction, along wiht coordinated hip movement rotaionaly and side to side.

I do a dynamic qigong exercise called rowing the boat which requires two full squats per repitition, done in a very slow deliberate pace.

Modified Hindu pushups, along with bird dog pointers.

I do round the clock lunges sometimes, along with some other ecentricaly done exercises like tricep dips on a bench. Teh eccentric phase I try t odo t oa 5-6 count for the best effect, with the up phase doen to a 2 count.

the only real weight machine work I do are seated cable rows, cable lat pull downs, and standing cable spine twists with my arms held out together, perpendicular to shoulders in a horse stance with some lateral movement.

Somtimes I will just do a short segment of snake creeps down, and increase the dynamic movement of this as I repeat it, wiht my workout. Somtimes I will add some chi kung stance exercises (holding a pose for as long as I can) to my form work.

Keeping it varied and focused on functional movement and strength is the key I think. For those out there who think fitnees needs a gym, I' m here to tell you it take very little equipment, and nothing heavier than a couple of light dumbells and a few balls. Waht it really is the knowledge of what to do, how to do it, and the disire to keep doing it.

I like that pilates sayng, "The movement we get out of our body, are the movement we put into our body". Thin kabout how you want to ski and move in life, and the think about how you exercise, and try to get the two to match up as much as possible. My rountine and thoughts as I get older. Later, RicB.
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty Guy
I think my knees actually benefit from a stationary bike.

I spin at at 128-138 HR. It's slow and steady. There are many folks who do intervals in spinning classes. As BigE stated skiing is a fairly anaerobic activity.

As far as fast feet......I'm a guy who doesn't have a fast twitch muscle in his body and very slow feet. I have a theory that in bumps the vast majority of skiers do "too much, too soon, too fast. Watch a really smooth bump skier and the blend of movements is not all that "quick".
I suggest that you try to maintain that same HR, BUT lighten the load to hit it at 100 RPM. Slow churning on a stationary bike has never been recommended -- especially if you have bad knees.

IMO, you need to do something to counteract the slow-twitch development that you get powerlifting. And that would be spinning on a bike very quickly.

Your bumps theory sounds much like a rationalization, or at best an observation about those that don't ski them well... Watch a pro bumper and tell me they dont have fast feet. I think the smooth bumper you are talking about is skiing quite slowly.
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
I suggest that you try to maintain that same HR, BUT lighten the load to hit it at 100 RPM. Slow churning on a stationary bike has never been recommended -- especially if you have bad knees.

IMO, you need to do something to counteract the slow-twitch development that you get powerlifting. And that would be spinning on a bike very quickly.

Your bumps theory sounds much like a rationalization, or at best an observation about those that don't ski them well... Watch a pro bumper and tell me they dont have fast feet. I think the smooth bumper you are talking about is skiing quite slowly.
BigE, I think you are right on here. The one thing I forgot to mention is riding. While I'm not a serious rider I do ride out the door on the gravel rodes around here. i try to mix up the rpm's getting into the 90+ range on the road. In the gym I try to keep my rpm's above 100. I don't spend huge amounts of time on bikes. Some high rpm riding, jumping rope and eccentric exercises are all I do to work my fast twitch. Must be enough. Later, Ricb.
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Ric, thanks for the thorough rundown on your routines. I've got a lot of material to work with. The more I learn, the more I seem to be heading toward bodyweight work with 15-25# dumbbells.

JoeB
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
Anybody have any opinions on doing straight and oblique crunches and back extensions over a body ball for core work?

JoeB
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeB
Anybody have any opinions on doing straight and oblique crunches and back extensions over a body ball for core work?

JoeB
Anything you do on a ball is going force all the stabilizer muscles to fire in cooperation with the muscles in the area being worked by the exercise. This is always good for functional fitness. Pay attention to your form though, and when it starts to deteriorate, move on to another exercise.

On the issue of your added dumbells, I wouold suggest that you develope your routine and work on form and then add weights as you improve. You may find that you can work more fluidly and through a greater range of motion without them at first. Later, RicB.
post #17 of 21
JoeB,

Here's a link to another thread:

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...t=core+workout
post #18 of 21
The stationary bike is awesome if you do an interval workout (sprints and hill climbs, etc) in both seated and standing positions. Like a "spin" class at the gym. You'll find over time that this is a GREAT core and balance workout -- build up to standing and pedaling without holding on!!
post #19 of 21
If you can get a buddy then do Big E's box jumps with buddy throwing medicine ball.... catch ball as you land - throw, jump, catch on landing, etc....

Big E - my trainer had me do the plyos FIRST.... then finish with core work that was "easier" ... that meant because I WAS tired from the plyos I could do easier core stuff & really concentrate on maintaining form when tired....
post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
RicB,
Thanks for the advice, I will go easy on the added bells, working on form first. klkaye, I don't have a stationery bike, but I am very intrigued by standing up no-hands. I'm gonna try it next time I'm in the same room with one.

BigE, thanks for the link; I had already printed that and it's in my workout notebook.

JoeB
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
Your bumps theory sounds much like a rationalization, or at best an observation about those that don't ski them well... Watch a pro bumper and tell me they dont have fast feet. I think the smooth bumper you are talking about is skiing quite slowly.
Probably very true re reationalizing.

Concerning bumps. Is the pro bumper moving his/her feet fast or merely skiing fast? In other words is he/she actively making movements or merely being moved? I think it depends upon where they are during the course of their bump run.

I watched the kids from Team Summit ski bumps at A-Basin Friday. This was a group ages eigth to eighteen. These are very gifted athletes. One thing that struck me was the last five-ten "bumps" on their course......no turns, no pivoting, it was merely a very fast run out along the edges of a series of bumps. Kind of like a car buzzing over ten closely spaced speed bumps.
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