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Game Plan for Ski Endurance

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Mogul Junkie's thread: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=30594 has some excellent advice, but it has become some long that I'm afraid that people will fail to read it. Since "how to last longer" on the slopes seems to be an issue on this forum, let's take a look at this from a fitness and training point of view. Please keep in mind that I am not negating the benefits of diet, technique and equipment. However, it's sometimes a good idea to explore individual issues before you integrate them with other factors. After all, the whole is simply the sum of its parts.

The first step is to understand the concept behind an important word that is used in the Sports Medicine Industry: SAID, which is an acronym for

Adaptations (to)

When we design programs for any sport, we first have to analyze its biomechanical and physiological requirements. The program that we develop we develop for the athlete should be in accordance with these requirements.

Physiologically, determining the energy systems used for alpine skiing has always been a complex task. It depends on where the person skis, as well as other factors. Most people consider skiing anaerobic. However, if someone wants to be able to sustain their energy in order to ski all day, the aerobic system must also be trained.

I've seen excellent skiers who look like they are completely out of shape, yet they can last all day on the slopes. Why? Skiing needs more muscular endurance than it does muscular strength.

Quite often, an extremely fit person will find that as they age, they are not ablle to ski as long as they used to. In some cases, a few tweaks in their fitness routine can fix the problem. Often, these skiers enjoy intense workoutsthat require fast bursts of energy. On the slopes, they are good mogul skiers and excellent racers. However, two hours later, they are finished.

Should they give up their workout style completely?
No, actually.

Using the concept of Periodization, they can train in a manner they enjoy in one part of the year, then, as they approach ski season, focus more on endurance. My stipulation would be to practice balance and core exercises year round, since balance begins to deteriorate as we age.

SO.....If you are a sprinter, begin to slow your pace and build your endurance. If you are a body builder. Lighten your weights a bit and add more reps. As I said in the other thread, make sure you keep your hamstring/quad muscular balance in check. Us a foam roller on your quads befor and after skiing.

Here are some other helpful tidbits. Many people carry a good deal of tension in their neck and shoulders. Tension requires oxygen. There is only so much oxygen that the body can use for muscular tension and still have some left for energy. Prior to skiing, make sure you relase any neck or shoulder tension.

Breathing is crucial. Most people know this in the gym, yet forget it on the slopes. Develop a pattern that works for you. You can breath in a the top of the mogul, and exhale as you descend.

Supplement your strength and cardio work with systems that encourage dynamic flow of movement such as Pilates or Tai Chi.

Have fun!
post #2 of 2
Nice post, Lisamarie,

I thought as a marathon runner, I'd add some stuff about endurance training:

Originally Posted by Lisamarie
Us a foam roller on your quads befor and after skiing.
Those things are heaven- I use one after my long (18+ mi) training runs. VERY nice.

Here are some cross training exercizes specifically geared for endurance athletes, courtesy of my marathon coach. I use them pretty consistantly and have no problems whatsoever getting up at 7am after a night of partying, hitting the first chair and skiing hard until 4:00 last trax. The biggest problem in my skiing endurance has got to be dragging my tired boyfriend 1.) out of bed 2.) for another run when he wants to hang in the lodge. Hope these work for you:

I have outlined some of the key strengthening exercises that will benefit you most as you continue to train for your marathon. All of these exercises that I will discuss below can be done in the comfort of your own home, no equipment needed.
For those gym rats, I have also provided some examples of exercises that can be

substituted for the ones listed below. Without further ado:
1) Standing Squats: Standing (obviously), with your feet placed about shoulder width apart, slowly bend your knees until approximately 90 degrees keeping your knees from going past your toes. Make sure to keep your trunk upright (perpendicular to the floor), and while squeezing your gluts (your butt) return to the starting position. These are done slowly and in control (2 seconds down, 2 seconds up). Keep in mind,that this exercise should be completely pain free (muscle discomfort is NOT pain). I am referring to joint pain ONLY!!! In this case please limit your range of motion (ROM) toa pain free range (i.e. 70 degrees).Gym Alternatives: leg press, standing squats with bar or Smith Bar squats.2) Standing Speed Squats: The technique for these is exactly the same as above, but as the name suggests, they are done at a faster cadence (1 second down, 1 second up). It is imperative that you maintain good form with these. 3) Static Lunges: Standing in a lunge position with your right foot in front of your left, slowly bend both knees until you have formed a 90 degree angle in both knees, again, be sure your knees do not cross over your toes and keep your trunk upright. Stand up returning to the starting position. Complete one set and repeat the exercise on the other leg. Walking lunges, or step back lunges can be substituted.

4) Forward Step-ups: Use a 12-15" step. Standing, facing the step place your right foot on top of the step while your left foot remains on the floor. Keeping your right foot on the step for the entire exercise, step up with your left leg, however, instead of placing your left foot on the step continue your motion until both your left hip and knee are at 90 degrees (you are now standing on your right leg only). Hold this position for 1-2 seconds then slowly lower your left foot back to the ground. Complete one set and repeat the exercise on the other foot.
5) Lateral step ups: The exercise is the same as above, however, instead of facing the step, you will now stand next to the step with your right foot on top while your left foot is on the ground. Repeat the exercise as above. Lateral squats; lateral-walking lunges can be used as a substitution for this exercise.6) Isolated prone hamstring curls: Ok, I have to admit, this one is muchmore effective if you use the actually machine. Please focus on the eccentric phase (that is, pull your heels to your butt (concentric phase 1-2 seconds) and then slowly lower your legs to the starting position (eccentric phase 3-4 seconds) If you don't have access to it, I will show you personally your two options: 1) prone hamstring curls using a dumbbell or 2) The Nordic-hamstring exercise (excellent exercise that can be done anywhere). This is actually my preferred exercise to strengthen the hamstrings, especially for those who are either prone to hamstring injuries or may already be suffering from one. I will demonstrate this at out next practice. 7) Calf raises: Standing on a step with only the balls of your feet in contact with the step, raise up onto your toes and then slowly lower your heels letting them drop under the step. Again, focus on the lowering of your heels. If this exercise becomes too easy try doing one foot at a time!!!8) Toe raises: Standing with our backs against a wall and our feet placed approximately 12 inches away from the wall. Pull your toes to your shins and then slowly lower. OK, I think the above is a good start. Like I said you should try to performthis routine 2-3 times per week. As for how many reps to do, I suggest doing two sets of 12-15 reps of each exercise to start. Once you begin to adapt to your new routine you can increase the number of sets to three. Also, as the exercises begin to get easier, and trust me they will, you can begin using weights to increase the difficulty of the exercise. Ladies, trust me, your legs will not get big, only stronger!!!! If you have any questions or you would like me to review the above please do not hesitate to ask.
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