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How strong do you need to be?


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Leading on from the “what does CR or other do differently…..?”
Many of us are working hard in the off-season on our strength and conditioning, which has me thinking about “benchmarking”.
This is perhaps a “how long is a bit of string?” Question, (its winter though and its still dark outside):

What do we think is the “minimum dose” of strength to be able to consistently ski deep (38off & shorter) short line?

The immediate measures that come to mind are: 
Deadlift
Squat (back and front)
Pull up / muscle up
Bench press
 - all as a percentage (or multiple of) body weight.

The easy answer is that whoever you are you could always benefit from being stronger.
If your goal is to ski short line however having a benchmark to work to might be really useful (and also reinforce the need for better technique, if you have achieved the benchmark.)
Technique as we know is a massive variable with, I think we’d assume, poor technique requiring greater strength.
I dont think a knowledge of someones strength would ever be a surrogate marker for where they can get to, but it might be helpful in showing where they need to focus their limited time. 

The best data would be to put the best skiers in each category (36, 55 & seniors) to a strength test -  probably not practical though. I’m fairly sure some of the best skiers go nowhere near a gym and simply do the sport to get better - they would be the best to test directly, if we could 🙂

K

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I believe working out either at a gym or home with bands or circuit trading is alway beneficial.  Strength will only get you so far. When skiing 38 and shorter technique will far out weigh strength when it comes to getting through the pass. 

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Skiing is about functional strength.  I don't see any skiers built like an NFL running back.  Nate Smith looks like he's never been to the gym a day in his life.  I'm almost always the strongest guy on the dock wherever I go... but I'm usually far from the best skier.

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I have been working out consistently every winter at home on a DP gym I bought in 1991 or 92. Strength is great but body alignment, technique is more important. If you can also drop some weight and improve your strength to weight ratio you are on the right track. Looking back at my written records every one of my best seasons were at lower weights.   

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i agree on the weigh - i dropped 30 lbs in 2021 and my ski really came alive.    

I personally do pushups, curls, kettle balls, cycling, and various captains of crush grippers.   I only do the grippers in the off season though.

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A skier is like a race car. All other things being equal - more power is better and less weight is better.

I have found as I get older that I can not ski AND lift. I just do not have enough juice to do both in the same week. Most years I lift (poorly) in the off season and then ski a lot the rest of the year. Today was a deadlifts, pull ups, dips and other stuff day. 

I have also dramatically cut back on the booze just lately. I am hoping this helps something. 

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I competed powerlifting and waterskiing. Power in the winter and done for summer--only skiing.  Power for me was only good for one thing in terms of having an excess of same as opposed to an adequate amount per body weight--getting me out of bad spots and scrambling.  Nothing else. 

Takes less power to be a smaller skier--look at the girls divisions--geez toiling away at 34 mph and 38 off and watching teen girls do the same but so light on the line. 

Proper form/leverage/position trumps SO much power.  I lacked in certain areas but made up for some of my technical issues with an overdose of power.  So I guess as Horton mentioned--more power w/out excess weight is never a bad thing--but excess power is not necessary if technique is great ie) Nate  

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My best guess for the highest correlation between a physical excercise and skiing would be a dead hang. Grip strength needed to hold onto the handle, lower body weight is advantageous, and straight arms to transfer the loads more efficiently. I bet the top male and female skiers would all be good at a dead hang

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Yes this thread as well as others that are truly some of the best ever on BOS all consistently identify form and body position vs strength/power as key. As noted above, need no more than to watch the teen girls ski so well and be so light on the line. Watching the women ski is always so much more of a slalom clinic on how to ski correctly and efficiently vs watching most of the men . Another key item for all us hacks is lean angle and holding it vs pulling with arms to try and generate speed.  Trying to rodeo the boat is a 100% losing proposition. Don’t do it. If I’m constantly pulling in with my arms vs arms straight and pulling through my core I know I’m out of position and just beating myself up with excess load.  Awareness is half the battle. As a relatively light skier (5’9” 155) I shouldn’t need tons of strength for my goals of 55k 13&12m. Also at my age (66) if things get sideways I’m 100% inclined to toss the handle vs try to pull it out . Ski another day ….. I workout most days but it’s more to maintain and tone than build . 30 mins cardio ( elliptical) , lots of abs work, pull-ups, squats, curls etc with 20 lb dumbbells. Reps vs rips 

Edited by MDB1056
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I believe it is most about strength to weight ratio than anything. A good measure of the this is pull ups and push ups. I believe in weight training especially for legs. Regardless of what you do for workout and diet you need something you can stick with long-term. I have seen some very good skiers loose weight and improve...Dana R. told me one time when you had to give your weight to the driver all you guys weight the same 165 (at that time lol). 

Edited by NameUnavailable
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this is quite simple, train to have have balanced strength throughout our bodies to help prevent injury, be mobile in an asymmetrical sport, move like a cat/stay over our feet.

I do live virtual training and via email or in person if your in miami if any are interested.

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Bench press is almost completely useless for slalom, and the other "traditional" exercises mentioned are handy but not that strongly correlated either.

Core strength is far more valuable.  Your mass and skeleton can provide tons of leverage if you have the core strength to remain in that position.  Achieving the minimally required arm and leg strength for that load is much easier that the minimally required core strength to hold that alignment.

And that "staying with the handle after second wake" move that we all talk about is almost pure core strength.

Train like a gymnast.  Or heck BE a gymnast.  Seems to work for the G.O.A.T.

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I second @twhisper& @adamhcaldwellI think my main focus has always been to have the best power to weight ratio I can and trying to stay as lean as I can. I've also focused a lot on my core, I feel like its the key to having everything be strong and having a stronger core protects your back.  Building on what the two have said above; since I was a kid I can confidently say I've have spent 100x the amount studying skiers and going out and skiing than spending time in the gym. Just always Obsessed with watching learning. I take that and try to be laser focused and ALWAYS have a goal when I went out and skied. Being strong is part of it, but the more you understand it the farther you will get. This sport is 80% mental. 

Edited by ColeGiacopuzzi
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Historically I've done lots of jogging and core work. Last spring I re-introduced strength training and balance work and took the biggest step forward in slalom performance that I've had for a long time. This is definitely an activity where being in shape is beneficial and as better skiers then me have pointed out technique trumps all.

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Strong is only relevant in relation to strength to weight. Then the question is strength of what, strong pecs and triceps would only matter if you plan on pushed on the rope.  I believe lower body strength is what really matters so I emphasis working my legs heavily and putting miles on my bike, and playing racquetball. 

However, often strong individuals learn to ski and try to harness their strength to the deterrent of their body position, handle control and edge change.   The scrap and crash, and then repeat.  

The ideal scenario is to learn how to ski properly and then get strong, like Bob LaPoint, running short line when he was a skinny kid and then growing up, I expect that is what will happens to Charlie Ross as he matures.   

A good regime of conditioning and strength training, may improve one skiing performance but more importantly should greatly reduce the occurrence of injury and if injured, reduce the severity and lessen the recovery time.  So there is a utility for bench press, but I see too many making that a priority and neglecting all other muscle groups.  Alas, I spend a lot of time in the weight room and cant seem to get any closer to Adam Caldwell’s  physique, or skiing either. 

 

 

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I agree 100% that lean and balanced with an understanding of what’s required to run short rope is essential. I know how to do it but I am fat and weak with not much practice and I struggle. Repetition of as perfect a pass you can run at the shortest rope length you can do it correctly is very important.

Don’t run sh**ty sloppy passes then shorten until you miss and repeat the misses. I see people go out and run one or two passes and then practice missing their hard pass 4-5 times.

You must learn how to move the ski outbound after the second wake.

Edited by Dirt
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@twhisperI agree watching slalom videos definitely helps. I study various skiers as much as I can and from as many different angles as possible. Watching from just the pylon will not tell the whole story. And ski/lean angle looks totally different from another viewpoint. The skier is moving so quick it also really helps to slow the videos down and pause them to study over. I have learned alot from watching videos and look forward to my next set in order to practice something else I have noticed. 

Funny story about Jason P. I was lucky enough to be in the boat while he skied for exhibition at the INT Nationals in Bakersfield several years ago. He handed me his rope and I asked him if he wanted to start at 15? (I knew who he was. I was just messing with him) He gave me a real funny look and just smiled at me. His driver was quick to say  "No he'll start at 32. He's a pro". I thought it was funny

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 Strength and stability likely help you no matter what sport you are doing and being lighter seems like an obvious advantage, but knowledge is at the top of the list too. @twhisper has a great website www.trainwithterrywinter.com loaded with great tutorials, videos, and a forum for questions and answers.  It’s a tremendous resource and value at only $19/mth.  A lot of the videos are of TW himself side by side with another skier.   so you do get to see an amazing skiers movements compared with explanations of why he is achieving a higher level.  To me this is step one of improving.   You have to know what you are trying to accomplish.   

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@twhisper - I know you're strong. I saw you do an impressive thing last summer at regionals - you fell at 39 (were understandably not pleased), the boat came back to get you because there was going to be a runoff, and you grabbed the side of the boat and muscled up with your ski on. I looked at the guy next to me on shore and we both said "holy shit". That was gymnast strength. Combined with the fluid skills of Jason P and that makes you a world class skier. 

 

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Andy spent considerable time in the gym and could lift a lot of weight. I disagree with anyone that says bench pressing or triceps work or whatever is irrelevant to your skiing. To have a balanced body, it’s very important to work out the muscles we don’t need to ski just as much as those we do need. If you allow weakness to exist, injury will figure out how to exploit that weakness.
 

I suspect that few  pro skiers don’t incorporate serious strength training as part of their overall ski plan. Skiing is a stew and there are many ingredients that go in the pot. Strength training is at a minimum the carrots. Maybe even the potatoes and the onions. I will concede that technique is the meat and is the primary ingredient, but meat alone is not a balanced meal 
 

@ColeGiacopuzzi “Skiing is 80% mental and the other half is physical.” Yogi Berra, with some poetic license. 

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Nate has said in the past that he doesn't go to the gym. He claims all of his training takes place on the water. I think strength helps you recover when you get out of position.  Someone pointed out that if you ski like Nate or Charlie (and built like them) you don't need much strength.

I woul bet a ton of 35/38 off men are much stronger than pro women skiers who are much better.

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Everyone is built differently, it looks like Will and Freddy, and most others at the top, hit the gym a bit so they must do it for a reason. Steve I. and Elizabeth train a lot from what I've seen. And yes, Nate is looking more and more like he does not hit the gym, will it catch up with him? Like it's been said, a top athlete needs to be well rounded and natural ability will only take you so far for so long. If you want to be at the top of any sport, you need to do a lot of work everywhere. For the average dude who just wants to ski or??? How good do you want to be? If you're hard on the darts, pizza and beer, you're probably not where you could be.

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