Get on the Path to Power

Instruction
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Instruction

The U.S. Ski Team's fitness whiz, Andy Walshe, helped us develop a 12-week plan to get you to the promised land. It includes all three of the power-building techniques used by the team-heavy lifting, plyometric bounding, and ballistic training. You should do the exercises two or three times per week. Just be warned that this is no watered-down workout. It's imperative to hit the weights for at least a month or two to build a base of strength before you start trying these power moves.Every repetition is hard and fast. "You have to hammer out every single lift," says Vonn, perhaps the mightiest powerhouse on the U.S. squad. "I try to explode every lift. I grab the bar, and it's like, 'bam, bam, bam.'"

Make sure you start each session with a solid 20-minute warm-up to get your heart, joints, and muscles ready for the impact. And be generous with your recovery time-the key is to keep your intensity cranked up as high as you can. It's okay to take five minutes or more after a tough set. "Intensity and quality mean everything with a power workout," says Walshe. "If you're not sharp or not explosive, take a break-or come back another day."

The Six-Step Power Plan:

Weeks 1-2:Strength Training
Squats (1): At 90% of your 1RM (see chart above), do 4 sets of 3-4 repetitions.
Lunges (2): At 90% of your 1RM, do 4 sets of 3-4 repetitions (alternating between forward lunges and lateral lunges).

Tip: Focus on honing strength with heavy weights.

1)Squats Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and the barbell directly over your feet. With your head up and back straight, bend your knees, and lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Push yourself back to the starting position in one strong movement.

2A) Lunges
With dumbbells in both hands, stand upright with your feet together. Keeping your head up, back straight, and chest out, step forward, bend your front knee to a 90-degreee angle, and drop your trailing knee so it nearly touches the ground. Push yourself back up to the beginning position. Alternate sides.

2B) Lateral Lunges
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step out to the side with your right foot, keeping your torso upright. Bend the right knee close to a 90-degree angle, making sure to keep it tracked over your toes, and then push yourself back to the starting position with a decisive movement. Alternate sides, and add dumbbells to step up the difficulty.

Weeks 3-4:Start to Explode
Squats (1): At 70% of your 1RM, do 4 sets of 4 reps.
Lunges (2): At 70% of your 1RM, do 4 sets of 4 reps.
Lateral hops(3): Do 4 sets of 6 reps.

Tip: With squats and lunges, keep reps low and try to increase the velocity of the movement. With hops, try to be explosive and light on your feet.

3)Lateral hops Stand beside a jump rope or other marker on the floor and bend your arms in front of you as if you were holding ski poles. Quickly hop on one foot (sideways) over the marker and hop right back. Then, to complete a rep, repeat with the other foot. As you get comfortable with the movement, try to hop higher and faster.

Weeks 5-6:Begin Plyometrics
Squats (1): At 80% of your 1RM, do 4 sets of 4 reps.
Lunges (2): At 80% of your 1RM, do 4 sets of 4 reps.
Lateral hops (3): Do 4 sets of 6 reps.
Drop Jumps with single-leg damped landing (4): Do 4 sets of 6 reps from a 20-cmlatform.

Tip: Make sure you're wearing good training shoes and landing on a mat, grass, a soft track, or other forgiving surface.

4) Drop jumps with single-leg damped landing
Stand on a raised platform-a sturdy bench or Reebok step, for instance-with hands at your sides and torso upright. (Start with a 20-cm height, then work up to 40 cm.) Step forward (don't jump), drop to the ground, and land on a single leg. Hold the landing for three seconds after impact. Walk back around the platform, step up, and repeat. Alternate reps on each side.

5) Jump squats
With either dumbbells or a barbell, squat down until your knees are flexed almost to right angles. Then push up and jump explosively without locking your knees. Try to jump as high as you can and return to the squat position to start the next repetition. This exercise can also be done with no weights.

6) Drop jumps with single-leg rebound
Step off the platform and land on a single leg. As soon as you hit the ground, gently rebound into the air. As your body gets used to the impact, focus on jumping as hard and fast as you can for maximum height. Alternate sides.

Weeks 7-8:
Bounding and Jumping
Lunges (2): At 30% of your 1RM, do 4 sets of 4 reps.
Lateral hops (3): Do 4 sets of 6 reps.
Drop jumps with single-leg damped landing (4): Do 4 sets of 6 reps from a 20-cm platform.
Jump Squats (5): At 30% of your 1RM, do 3 sets of 6 reps.
Drop Jumps with single-leg rebound (6): Do 4 sets of 6 reps from a 20-cm platform.

Tip: try to maximize the speed of your lunges and jump squats, But Avoid explosive rebounds with drop jumps until your body adapts.

Weeks 9-10:
Honing power
Lunges (2): At 30% of your 1RM, do 4 sets of 4 reps.
Drop jumps with single-leg damped landing (4): Do 4 sets of 6 reps from a 30-cm platform.
Jump squats (5): At 30% of your 1RM, do 3 sets of 6 reps.
Drop jumps with gentle single-leg rebound (6): Do 4 sets of 6 reps from a 30-cm platform.
Drop Jumps with explosive double-leg rebound (7): Do 4 sets of 6 reps from a 30-cm platform.

Tip: Don't forget to give yourself enough recovery time, particularly after each set of explosive rebounds. Every repetition should be fast and under control.

7) Drop jumps with double-leg rebound
Step off the platform and land on both legs. Immediately jump up as high and as explosively as you can.

Weeks 11-12:
Peaking your Power
Lunges (2): At 30% of your 1RM, do 4 sets of 4 reps.
Drop jumps with single-leg damped landing (4): Do 4 sets of 6 reps from a 30-cm platform.
Jump squats (5): At 30% of your 1RM, do 3 sets of 6 reps.
Drop jumps with gentle single-leg rebound (6): Do 4 sets of 6 reps from a 40-cm platform.
Drop jumps with explosive double-leg rebound (7): Do 4 sets of 6 reps from a 40-cm platform.

Tip:

At this stage, quality and intensity are more important than quantity. If you can't maintain maximal power, trim some sets off the workout.

Maintaining Your Power Base:
Once ski season gets rolling, it's time to enjoy the fruits of your labor-and to scale back this regimen to avoid injury and overtraining. Fortunately, says Walshe, you'll be able to preserve much of your power on the hill. "I tell people to dial down the intensity a little and cap it at one or two workouts a week," says Walshe. "And if you're skiing three or four days a week, you may not need power training at all."

How To Add Power To Strength:
If you've already started "Get Stacked" (September 2002), you can still incorporate power into your fitness routine. "It'll add snap to your skiing," says Bill Fabrocini, 24 Hours of Aspen trainer. Try these moves once a week, but do your plyos before anything else-or even better, on a different day. "Always start with power," says Fabrocini. "You need to be fresh. A fatigued muscle has no pop, and pop is what you're aiming for."

moves once a week, but do your plyos before anything else-or even better, on a different day. "Always start with power," says Fabrocini. "You need to be fresh. A fatigued muscle has no pop, and pop is what you're aiming for."