S&C for Skiing – Change the Tempo

Skiing is a very technical and incredibly physical sport. There is complicated combination of loading and unloading of the skis throughout the turn which varies depending upon the speed, angle of turn, pitch of the slope and discipline (slalom, giant slalom, super giant slalom and downhill).  This involves eccentric, isometric and concentric muscle contractions with eccentric being the dominant.

Training for the alpine ski racer should reflect this. Too often it is easy for the athlete to switch off during the eccentric phase to concentrate on the concentric, and probably psychologically more rewarding, phase of the lift. Ensuring athletes are very aware of the biomechanics of the sport will mean they remain focused throughout the whole rep.

Introducing isometric holds during the eccentric phase helps with this emphasis and allows the skier to replicate the different joint angle isometrics that they need to during a race. I’ve had a lot of success using augmented eccentric loading not only for the eccentric focus but for developing team cohesion in the gym, this method requires a lot of communication from the spotters. Cluster training can also be a very effective method ensuring effective eccentric contraction.

This focus on tempo doesn’t only have to happen during loaded lifts (and probably shouldn’t be initially), but is can also be used within different sessions. The warm up period will usually include a relatively high volume of movements and is an ideal time to coach these tempos to the athletes.

Neil Welch

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