ATHLETIC CONSULTING TRAINING REPORT - www.cbathletics.com
"What's new at CB ATHLETICS?"
"CB ATHLETICS: Training & Conditioning
for Alpine Skiing"
"Alpine Skiing expert's Training & Conditioning
"Groin training for any sport - Including sex!"
- WHAT'S NEW?
out the "GET LEAN" and "MASSIVE ACTION" programs available
at: Whats New Section. The
guys at 365
Solutions are really doing a great job with the site.
Also, here's another site providing information on muscles
and muscle fibers and it is sure to benefit muscle physiologists
and coaches: http://pylwww.unibe.ch/~clamann/muscdata.html
- CB ATHLETIC TRAINING & CONDITIONING FOR ALPINE SKIING
Skiing is an awe-inspiring sport, however it commonly accounts
for many recreational winter injuries, especially if you
are not physically prepared. So if you plan to hit the slopes
this winter, you should consider some of the training tips
found in this issue.
addition to the use of physical training for injury prevention,
more and more competitive skiers are investing their summer
time (the off-season) in the weight room (and in other training
areas) to improve their performance. Fortunately, there
are many excellent strength and conditioning coaches such
as Matt Jordan (Calgary) and Sarah Applegarth (Personal
Best in Mississauga) to help you invest wisely in your summer
training time for optimal winter performance. You will get
to learn more from them later, but first the CB philosophy
on Alpine Ski training will be explored.
designing a program for any sport, you must ask yourself,
"What type of strength do I need?" and "What specific mode
of training will help me?" After this, you can plan the
program. Remember that the emphasis of the program should
be to train movements and physical abilities and not just
individual muscles. One tip, if you decide to put biceps
curls in your program, you are getting a little off track...
Skiing should benefit most from increases in lower body
strength, power, balance, and agility, as well as core (abdominal
and low-back) strength. Basic exercises like squats and
some single-leg exercises are likely your best bets. In
addition, core strength is really being pushed as an essential
component of sport performance. These physical attributes
appear very important in skiing because you must be able
to maintain an upright trunk and hip position throughout
the race and this would be difficult without core strength
(check out ISSUE
#56 for abdominal training tips.
can see that there are a lot of performance aspects that
an alpine skier should address. Below are the CB ATHLETIC
CONSULTING tips for efficient sport-specific Alpine Ski
Incorporate "balance training" in your warm-up.
of spending 5-10 minutes on a stationary bike performing
a non-specific warm-up for resistance training, use those
5-10 minutes to perform several sets of bodyweight full
squats, bodyweight step-ups, single-leg squats, and single-leg
deadlifts. Take advantage of the ability to gradually increase
the intensity (i.e. move from full squats to single-leg
squats) to better spend your warm-up time rather than wasting
it away on the bike.
Improve balance and explosiveness at the same time.
will strengthen your balance and help you become more explosive
for competition. Below is a sample plyometric, balance and
agility training program. All of these performance aspects
have been integrated into one session. In theory, this should
provide the optimal training stimulus to improve a skier's
explosiveness and body control. In the "land and hold" drills
below, the athlete should perform a maximal effort jump
or hop and attempt to land and hold the position while maintaining
total body stability.
the "Skier's plyo", the athlete will perform a maximal lateral
jump to one side, but upon landing will rapidly change direction
without a pause. Repeat for the given number of repetitions
with an emphasis on exploding off the ground with little
pause (contact) time. Finally, in the balance drill, the
athlete will attempt to stand on the ball of one foot for
30 seconds. Repeat for the opposite leg. To increase difficulty,
the athlete can perform with eyes closed. This drill comes
from the Ontario Junior Ski program.
(see the warm-up in ISSUE #47 - http://www.cbathletics.com/issues/47.htm)
Single-leg hop "land and hold" (3 x 5 each leg)
Standing long jump "land and hold" (3 x 6)
Lateral jump "land and hold" (3 x 6 each side)
Skier's plyo (3 x 6 each side)
Single-leg balance drill "with eyes closed" (3 x 30 s each
Emphasize eccentric strength, relative strength, and stability
competitive skiers, you must train for the demands of your
event, whether it is isometric strength (where your muscles
contract but don't lengthen) for turns or rotational power
for jumps. Regardless of your event, you will always need
a great deal of eccentric strength to absorb force upon
landing. Skiers should emphasize the lowering phase of the
squat, lunge, and step-up exercises.
addition, like all sports where success depends on relative
strength (amount of strength per body weight), a skier should
have a low body fat percentage. Your relative strength will
be improved by adding muscle mass and decreasing body fat.
Therefore, you will have more strength relative to your
body mass. Less body fat will mean less mass you will be
forced to control during a ski run.
stability strength, check out ISSUE #29 (www.cbathletics.com/issues/29.htm)
for a "Neuromuscular Leg Training for Athletes". This program
is "dead on" for what skiers require because it addresses
all the muscles and emphasizes single limb training. Even
though you ski on both legs, there are few times if any
that each leg is contributing equal force during a run.
Increase your work capacity/muscular endurance in the squat
position by holding the parallel squat ("Ski crouch") for
increased lengths of time.
with bodyweight only, descend into a "Ski crouch" (parallel
squat) and hold this position. Determine a specific length
of time you want to hold the position for (i.e. 30 seconds)
and perform several reps with short (10 seconds) rest intervals
between each rep. Perform sets of 5-6 crouches. You may
need to begin with a shorter work interval and progress.
You can also increase the intensity of the exercise by performing
the exercise with a loaded bar.
Perform limited aerobic conditioning.
recommendation is based on data from fitness testing of
the 1981 Canadian Olympic Ski team, performed by Dr. Duncan
MacDougall and Dr. Digby Sale. The results of testing showed
that there was little correlation between downhill times
and aerobic fitness. However, the better skiers more often
had greater leg power. Thus, the focus of your training
should be leg power, not aerobic fitness!
are the 1981 Canadian National Alpine Ski Team Aerobic Fitness
= 49 ml/kg/min
= 55 ml/kg/min
MacDougall recommended that scores of 50 and 55 ml/kg/min
are sufficient for women and men, respectively.
An Alpine Ski race is fueled primarily by anaerobic energy
production. Therefore, use sport-specific interval training
to prepare for performance.
is a relevant, yet technical article from the June issue
of the American Journal of Physiology (Bangsbo et al., 280:
E956-E964, 2001). The title is "ATP production and efficiency
of human skeletal muscle during intense exercise: effect
of previous exercise".
researchers examined the effect of repeated bouts of prolonged
intense exercise on exercise efficiency and the contribution
of different energy systems. Subjects performed 3 minutes
of exercise, rested 6 minutes, and then performed a second
3-minute exercise bout.
the first exercise bout, anaerobic energy pathways contributed
83% of energy production in the first 5 seconds while the
contribution of aerobic energy production was 17%. Total
energy production per unit time was increased due to exercise
inefficiency at the end of the 3-minute interval. That is,
subjects had to work harder to maintain the same force output
at the end of the 3-minute bout. Also, the anaerobic energy
production was only 23% at the end of the interval.
researchers also found that anaerobic energy contribution
was lower and aerobic energy production was higher during
the second exercise bout. This means that exercise efficiency
decreases with the duration and frequency of intense intervals.
HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO THE SKIER?
people don't realize that the aerobic system contributes
to the early part of anaerobic intervals. But it does! So
when you perform repeated bouts of intense exercise, there
is a shift toward greater aerobic energy contribution. This
study shows that you should gain some aerobic fitness adaptations
when you train with sport-specific intervals (Refer to ISSUE
#31 for more information on interval training - http://www.cbathletics.com/issues/31.htm).
In theory, this type of training should best prepare you
for repeated bouts of intense exercise (such as repeated
downhill ski runs).
for exercise efficiency, you should train as specifically
as possible to your event. Unfortunately, that can be very
difficult for skiers, but that's why the "Ski crouch" is
in your program. Conclusion: Hit your intervals hard, rest
hard, and improve specifically to your sport!
Get all of these training stimuli in less than an hour,
4 days per week!
of your biggest concerns may be how to incorporate all of
this without spending 3 hours in the gym each day! So IN
SUMMARY, here is a recommended program design:
warm-up with a balance component
training with a balance component
2 times per week
training addressing isometric, eccentric and sport-specific
1 heavy leg workout, 1 heavy upper body workout, and 1 "Neuromuscular
Leg Training for Athletes workout"
Crouch muscular endurance training
2 times per week (After leg workouts)
aerobic training and emphasized anaerobic interval training
2-3 times per week (After explosive training)
all good training programs, the Alpine Skiing program should
be modeled on periodization to bring you to your peak conditioning
as the season approaches. Because you will be required to
balance while fatigued when on the slopes, you should incorporate
some fatigue-state training into your program. Only after
weeks or months (depending on your original fitness level)
of general preparation should you advance to balance training
in a fatigued state. It is imperative that you train with
SAFETY first. It is your overriding priority! Be conservative
and acknowledge when to stop an explosive drill or set so
that you avoid any risk of injury.
- THE EXPERT'S GUIDE TO TRAINING & CONDITIONING FOR
is time to move on to the opinions of the experts. Let's
start with Matt Jordan, CSCS, who is a strength coach and
master's student at the Olympic-training center in Calgary.
Matt trains elite level alpine skiers and he believes that,
"the skiers require a lot of balance training, core conditioning,
and agility." Matt has spent a lot of time working on hip
strength, torso control and scapular control because he
found that these weaknesses predisposed skiers to injuries
in training and also makes them less efficient on the ski
hill. Coach Jordan refers to his instability methods as
Jordan also believes that explosiveness and speed in a lateral
direction are very important. To train his athletes, he
would set up hurdles and boxes in different patterns and
have the skiers move through the course with maximum speed
and he found this especially important for the technical
basic strength training, Coach Jordan believes that skiers
require high levels of eccentric muscular strength in order
to compensate for the heavy landings off jumps and concentric
strength to pull themselves out of heavy turns. Thus, he
includes a lot of front squats, back squats, and variations
of the single leg squat in their training programs.
it comes to training energy systems, Coach Jordan believes
that the "lactic power and capacity" (anaerobic) systems
are of the most importance. "The skiers are often very fatigued
at the bottom of a run that lasts 90-120 seconds. I have
them do 60 second speed squats both double leg and single
leg." Another one of his training methods is to have the
skiers perform a lot of cycling intervals on the stationary
cycle and on the velodrome."
Jordan believes a basic level of aerobic fitness is important
but also notes that it is not a quality that is addressed
very often at the national team level. "I think the best
VO2 max on the team is maybe 53-55 ml/kg/min. Leg power
on the other hand and power on the bike is quite good for
the better skiers on the team."
Sarah Applegarth, CSCS, of Personal Best in Mississauga,
works with many of Ontario's top junior-aged alpine skiers.
She believes that skiers should perform most of their conditioning
using weight-bearing activities (i.e. interval running).
In addition, she too finds that balance is really crucial,
and schedules a lot of Swiss ball recovery balance exercises
(or "imperfection training") and has had some good results
with this training technique.
Applegarth quotes Istvan Balyi, a top-level conditioning
coach as saying, "Energy system contribution changes with
altitude. At higher altitudes, a greater demand on the aerobic
system is made. At 1200 meters VO2max (aerobic fitness)
drops 1% each 100 meters. Thus at 2200 meters 10% of the
VO2max is lost!" Keep that in mind if you ever travel to
high altitudes and wonder why your performance and recovery
of luck in summer training and on the slopes in the winter!
- PREVENTING THE ANNOYING GROIN INJURY
injuries are prevalent throughout soccer, hockey, skiing,
basketball, baseball, and many other sports. Why is this
injury so common? While it is impossible to say for sure,
it may be that traditional strength training programs are
inadequate for exerting preventative measures on groin injuries.
Traditional strength training and bodybuilding programs
simply fail to address the musculature of the groin area
and therefore it may be necessary for some less common exercises
to be incorporated into the athlete's resistance training
concern many athletes have is that much of their valuable
training time will be taken up by the incorporation of groin-specific
exercises. After all, for many elite athletes, time is a
valuable resource and must be allotted to improving a different
aspect of performance. Fortunately, there are exercises
that can train the groin at the same time as training another
aspect of strength, power or agility and balance.
are several exercises that can be incorporated or substituted
directly into your training program. While this newsletter
is "dedicated" to ski training, most of the exercises will
serve to make anyone a better athlete and more successful
in whatever their sport or "leisure activity" of choice.
first exercise is the lateral step-up.
beside a box (12 to 24 inches high) holding light dumbbells.
Step up with the inside leg and place the foot in the middle
of the box. Using that leg, push off inside leg and come
to a standing position on top of the box. Perform a "pulling
movement" with the elevated inner leg. However, keep the
outside leg resting 1cm above the top of the box. Slowly
lower yourself to the start position while keeping all the
weight on the inside leg.
neat exercise that really stresses the groin is called "plate
drags". Perhaps the greatest thing about this exercise is
that it allows you to isolate the groin without making you
look like a fool by using that silly leg adductor machine.
this exercise, you will simply place a weight plate on the
floor and drag it across the floor in front of your body
from right to left using your right foot. Then, perform
the same movement in the opposite direction with your left
foot. Repeat for 6-10 repetitions for each leg. Begin with
a weight that is light (10 pounds) and progress. Strong
guys will easily be able to work up to 8 repetitions with
45 pounds in a workout or two.
quick modification to your squat or deadlift stance can
impart a great training stress on your groin. Therefore,
simply substituting wide-stance squats and deadlifts into
your program for your regular lifts is an efficient method
of training more muscles with the same amount of lifts.
exercise can be found in ISSUE
with the feet a half step wider than shoulder width apart.
Execute a stiff-leg deadlift, making sure to keep the back
flat (neutral) at ALL times. The groin (adductors) will
assist the movement by attempting to bring the legs in to
lunges can be modified to put additional stress on the groin
light dumbbells at sides, step out at a 45o angle (similar
to a skating push-off). Slowly lower yourself till the thigh
is parallel to the floor and then push yourself to the starting
position using the thigh and groin muscles.
is a combination of the squat & the lunge. Hold DB's
and step laterally. Plant the lead foot with toes forward
and squat. Keep the knee pointed in the direction of the
toes. Push off the lead foot to the start position and pull
with the groin muscles. Sideways stepping may place additional
stress on the knee joint complex, so make sure that areas
is injury free.
as your season approaches and you begin to include plyometrics
and agility training, you will quickly see how important
these basic strength exercises are in developing groin strength.
Exercises such as side shuffling, cross-overs, and all agility
drills that require sudden changes in direction will benefit
from and develop strength in the groin area. If you want
more information on how to train for groin strength in agility
and plyometrics, drop an email to email@example.com.