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November 8, 2020
How We Progress Strength Training For Winter Performance
Leaves are off the trees, snow is on the ground, and winter is in the air here in the Tetons! As we put our bikes and summer hiking shoes away for the season, we’re starting to transition our clients into their next programming cycles to get them ready for an awesome winter of skiing and snowboarding ahead. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how we prepare our clients for their winter sports through individualized progressions in their programming - and why this is not a 6-week-one-size-fits-all-ski-fit program.
WHO SHOULD PREP FOR WINTER?
Anyone who loves to participate in 2-plank or 1-plank winter sports should consider preparing physically for the upcoming winter season. Individual progression-based training allows anyone to participate at a level that meets them where they are, while providing season-specific training. We believe this is the BEST way to maximize physical potential and durability throughout the year.
WHY DO WE TRANSITION INTO EACH SEASON DIFFERENTLY?
Transitions are key to optimizing training adaptations. After CRUSHING the summer, the natural rhythm of shorter days and colder weather slows the mind and body down. Utilizing this time to restore and reorganize movement patterns prepares the client for new training demands.
Fitness requirements for mountain biking differ from what is required for ski fitness. The way we prepare our clients for new sport participation starts with assessing overused patterns and weaknesses that occurred over the summer.
For example, mountain biking or cycling is largely driven by “concentric contractions” in our muscle tissues - meaning muscle fibers are mostly just shortening and contracting when performing a pedal stroke. We typically see a lot of quad-dominance, weak lower backs and glutes, and upper back instability at the end of a biking season.
We want to progress towards explosive and dynamic movement patterns (eccentric loading) to best prepare our muscles, joints, and tendons for these powerful movements - and to be able to fully enjoy a long winter of pow days and fun!
WHAT A STRENGTH TRAINING PROGRESSION LOOKS LIKE
Progression is key! This is how we set you up for success. Intensity in any form is EARNED, not given. There is intention and an order in fitness training - it shouldn’t be random and unintentional. Long term performance isn't gained with short term planning. We want to be active, functional, and competent in our activities for as long as we can!
Below is an illustration of how we lead an individual through a training progression to prepare for the upcoming season. Each phase is created to set the client up for the next phase. The length in each phase depends on the individual's ability to adapt and progress.
Phase 1: Develop Motor Patterns
Introduce movements and train patterns
Develop body and limb awareness and overall proprioception
Restore and build joint function
Movement example: CARs (Controlled Articular Rotations) - active rotational movements at the end ranges of mobility. These help increase mobility, improve function, rebalance the athlete, and reintegrate movement patterns.
Phase 2: Build Muscle Endurance
Increase capacity through repetition
Increase time under tension in movement patterns
Work toward strength endurance
Movement example: Wallsits - these increase time under tension and endurance for a squat position. Builds control, stamina, and muscle endurance.
Expect to spend 4-6 weeks in Phases 1 & 2
Phase 3: Build Strength
Progressively load movements
Reduce time under tension and increase load
Reps will dictate load, so decrease reps to increase load
Movement example: Weighted squats or step-ups - progressively increasing loads to build strength.
Expect to spend 4-6 weeks in Phases 2 & 3
Phase 4: Power
Train to overcome resistance with speed
Develop explosive strength with plyometrics and jumping
Strengthen connective tissues and ligaments
Movement example: Jump squats or box jumps - creating explosivity and power in our movement patterns.
Expect to spend 2-4 weeks in Phases 3 & 4
And then it’s time to shred! Stay tuned for a behind-the-scenes of our in-season training, featuring mobility and stability work, coming in December.
A lot of thought and intention goes into our training programs. From building a base of motor control patterns to establishing power, to stress management and nourishment, we want to set our clients up for success and help them live their most authentic lives.
If you’re looking for an individualized, holistic approach to maximize your training and upcoming season, set up a free consultto find out what MTN LAB can do for you - our doors are always open.