Since it's the middle of winter, most of us are probably not as active as we will be in the coming months and we have various degrees of commitment to an offseason conditioning program. My assumption is that everyone is who is reading this blog is going to be pretty athletic - they can get up on a slalom ski and either make it through the course or are very near to making it for the first time. However, everyone is not necessarily in shape. Some lack cardio, others are overwieght, and still others lack strength in certain areas essential for skiing (e.g. legs, back, forearms, etc.) - that last one is me!
So before we procrastinate any longer - let's remind ourselves that we'll be jumping in the water in the next 6 - 10 weeks and we want to not only lessen the pain of our first few sets, but set ourselves up for success for a summer of improvement.
I know what you're thinking, "Ok, it's time to get started...but at this point I would normally just go back to the same gym and do the same push / pull routine I have for years. My results are Ok, but nothing that makes me want to take my shirt off and flex for the ladies." What should I do? Where should I begin?
Well, if you haven't already heard, FifteenOff now has it's own personal trainer - Coach Haught from DFSgym. You can read about Coach Haught's story and background in my previous post - Get to Know Your Personal Trainer.
You can check Nick out at www.DFSgym.com, on Facebook at Coach Haught, Twitter @DarksideFS, Youtube Channel - DarksideFitness.
Ok Coach, admit it. After our first training session, you thought about breaking out the "Wii fit" for me.
Ha! I knew you were ready for a challenge and beyond that already. Besides, I've heard of skiers breaking their ankles with the Wii, so I'm not sure we want to go there.
Let's hit the very basics, how often, how long, how intense and how specific should an athlete's offseason workout be?
It really depends on where you are at with your current fitness level. You first need to honestly assess where your fitness levels are and how hard you have been training already, if at all. Once you've done that, you need to remember that you are only going to get out of your training what you put in to it. Your effort, intensity and consistency are crucial. If you want to be intense behind the boat, then you can't just go through the motions in the gym. You have to be intense there too.
Many people are just not willing to do what it takes to get great results. You have to be willing to go above and beyond what you think you can do. Once you understand and commit to this - start out with twice per week at 30 - 45 mintues. Anyone can find time for that!
In your previous post you said that you don't subscribe to a philosophy of "isolation" for athletes. Can you explain that more?
In gyms all across the US you will hear talk of chest and arm days. That's great if you only want to focus on getting bigger, but that doesn't make sense for a skier who have to perform athletic movements under a lot of stress. Skiers need to maximize their strength-to-weight ratio (relative strength) and increase their stamina and general conditioning. So they also need to train their body the way they plan to use it - as a complete athlete.
It doesn't matter what the sport or where it's played, every athlete uses their entire body every day! The beauty of training like an athlete is that the benefits go well beyond just the shape and "look" of your muscles. Any time you can make someone stronger and faster, increase their stamina and confidence, and condition them to handle a wide variety of movements all at the same time, you will create a better athlete. Being a better athlete means being a better skier.
The training programs that I use are based around big movements. In addition to a wide variety of body weight-based movements, we use lots of squats, dead lifts, presses, rows, and jumping movements. It's not an exhaustive list from our menu, but most of our movements fall into those categories. Yes, we do bicep curls and tricep extensions, but they are far from the focus. The goal is to improve our bodies to improve our athletic performance and ultimately our lives. This is why our moto is "serious fitness for life."
What if someone just wants their lifejacket to fit better? There are a lot of people who feel if they could just trim their waist by 3 - 4 inches they would be set. Isn't that an approach that can work?
What you are really talking about hear is a specific goal - to lose abdominal fat. Believe me, no one is alone here. In fact, I think most of America is saying the same thing.
However, you cannot spot-treat body fat. In order to lose that abdominal fat you need to be eating right, lifting heavy weights, and getting plenty of cardio. This means you will be decreasing your total calorie intake, increase the amount of lean mass (meaning a higher metabolism), and burning lots of extra calories.
The idea that you can spot-treat is pretty common. Most people will just start doing tons of crunches without realizing that you need to decrease your overall fat percentage to get rid of that stubborn spare tire. This can only be accomplished through creating a calorie defecit...diet and exercise that challenges you.
You've been saving some nasty stuff for me when we start to work outside, haven't you?
I am so going to kick your (bleep) this spring. When the sun comes out and the ground to dries, we are going to mix it up with the big hills, playgrounds, and parks in the area.
Do I have to buy and eat all those awful tasting supplements - vitamins, protein shakes, creatine, oils - in order to get the results I want?
No way! In fact, I tell people to stay away from them all together if they can help it. Not because I am against them, but because people use them as a crutch. A supplement should be used in addition to the things you are already doing right. Work on your diet first. Taking supplements with a poor diet is no better that holding your car together with duct tape. It's not really a fix. Once your diet is dialed in and your are training hard, I promise you will start to see the results you want.
One complaint I hear about working out is boredom. If someone has been doing the same push / pull routine for a decade, that's no surprise. What are some different exercises that are, simple and effective, we can do to break up my routine?
As I said earlier, we use a lot of body weight exercises. They are great for breaking up the boredom of the traditional gym and are super effective. Here are some that we do at DFSgym (see picture below).
Plyo Pushups - Starting out in the push-up position with one hand on a raised platform, explosively press up switching hands and landing with the opposite hand on the raised platform.
Renegade Rows - Starting out in the push-up position with a dumbbell in each hand (preferably a hex head dumbbell), raise one dumbbell up in a row to your armpit, Heading back down returning to the push up position. repeat on the opposite arm.
Single Leg Squat - While grasping on with the same side hand to a fixed object, keep your heel planted and squat down with one leg, opposite leg street in front of you, To a Hips- parallel position, and then drive through your flatfoot and press up into a squat.
Lunge-jump - Starting In a lunge position with your opposite elbow forward, explosively jump, switching legs and arms midair and then land softly in the opposite lunge position.
Barbell Body Weight Row - Hang below the barbell with a shoulder-width overhand grip. Keep your hips straight and your torso flat, then proceed to pull yourself up to the bar so that the bar crosses mid chest.
Do you think I'll look like Will Asher by the time the season rolls around?
Keep busting your butt like you have been and, if not by this season, you will be there soon. You just have to keep pushing until you get there. You might need a new haircut too...his is pretty cool.
Have you ever waterskied, can you get up on slalom?
No. I swim like a brick.
Thanks Coach Haught!