So Bode Miller may not have medaled in the 2006 Winter Olympics, but he is still one amazing skier. His fans can be infectious; I have a 4-year-old alpine skier who lives across the street from me who rabidly collects Bode stickers. Miller recently announced that he would be leaving the US Ski Team, but you can still train like him. I found this crazy pre-season conditioning routine at National Geographic. US Ski Team Head Super G and Downhill Coach John McBride created this training regimen blending old-school Rocky Mountain training with sport-specific agility training. McBride's routine is anything but boring.
Check out these moves and highlights from the article.
1. Rock-hopping for agility and anticipation: Got a shallow stream nearby? Lace up your sturdy trail runners and hop up the creek bed touching only the exposed rocks. "There is probably nothing better
than rock-hopping to train agility, anticipation, and explosive power," says McBride. Take heed: Wet tread can be slick, so be surefooted and bring a
chamois along to dry off your kicks.
2. Slack-lining for balance: Find two trees 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 meters) apart and tightly string a one-inch-wide (2.54 centimeter) piece of webbing two feet (.5 meters) off the ground between them. Keep your eyes focused on one spot in front of you and slowly walk the length of the rope. Use ski poles for balance at first, but as your skills improve, move the webbing higher, nix the poles, and do a single-leg squat on each step. "Slack-lining is great for learning how to move dynamically and for challenging your balance," says coach McBride.
3. Single-leg squat for power: Using two ski poles for balance, stand on one foot, lower yourself down until your thigh is parallel to the ground, and then raise yourself slowly. "This drill is about being able to control the movement; gaining individual leg strength is critical," says McBride. Start with three sets of ten reps per leg. As your hamstrings strengthen, drop the poles and do 15 reps per leg.
There are three more equally challenging exercises, to see them just
4. The wheelbarrow push for endurance: Load up your wheelbarrow with 50 pounds (22 kilograms) of stones and push it up the steepest hill in the neighborhood. No, we're not kidding. "Instead of lifting weight that is static, this teaches your body to control a dynamic load like you do in skiing," says McBride. When the stones become too easy, load up a friend. Start off two times a week with two sets of four three-minute sprints. Rest two minutes between sprints and five minutes between sets.
5. TV wall sits for isometric power: "The wall sit makes you resist the force of your own body weight, which simulates what happens in certain parts of the turn while skiing," explains McBride. With your back against the wall, lower yourself down until your legs form a 90-degree angle. Try four sets of one-, two-, and three-minute intervals twice a week. Increase the duration of intervals as you gain strength.
6. Walk downhill for eccentric loading: Fill a backpack with 20 to 30 pounds (9 to 13 kilograms) and walk or jog downhill to simulate skiing's eccentric loading (i.e., lengthening quadriceps muscles as you lower into a squat like position). "This is the closest specific exercise you can do to skiing," says McBride. "You're moving both forward and laterally with increased force." Start with 30 minutes of downhill hiking once a week.