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Skiing may be the furthest thing from your mind at the moment, but this is the time of year when you can make major gains for next season. Don’t just take our word for it—take it from U.S. Ski Team athletes, who are in the middle of a focused strength and conditioning training block at the Center of Excellence in Park City, Utah.
While the athletes work through various exercise programs to target everything from strength to mobility to agility, one of the main goals for the downhill skiers is to build power in the lower body. Power—the ability to move against resistance in the shortest amount of time—is a key ingredient to success for downhillers like Breezy Johnson and Bryce Bennett as well as slalom specialists like Mikaela Shiffrin.
Here’s why: When you increase your power, you increase your reaction time and cardiovascular endurance. In skiing, this means you can adapt more quickly to variable terrain and obstacles on the slope, and improve your ability to ski technical lines top to bottom. Increase your power, and you become not only a stronger skier, but a more dynamic one.
Power training looks a lot like traditional strength training. It involves standard strength-building moves like squats and lunges, but with added resistance and the goal of completing these moves in quick bursts, requiring you to move against force quickly.
Connie Sciolino, owner and head coach of the Alpine Training Center in Boulder, Colo., is a fan of stringing together traditional strength exercises with plyometric versions of the same move to build power and endurance at the same time. The following power circuit contains just two simple moves, but when repeated back to back, it challenges your lower body and cardiovascular endurance the same way a mogul run does.