Monday, March 2, 2009

Prep With Plyometrics

If you're looking to one-up the competition come winter thaw, here's an easy way to train now. Start with plyometrics. Add plyo to your workout and you'll strengthen your core to levels you never knew were possible.

Admittedly I'm no expert in the field of coaching--I've asked coaches lots of questions and attended a variety of clinics--but I won't have a certification to my name til later this year. But while out in Colorado for a ski trip, I've learned the importance of plyometric training. While it's helped me with my skiing, it's also easily applicable to endurance sports. And beneficial according to triathlon training legend Joe Friel. We need our quads for running and cycling, strength that can be built by hours of participation in this sports or isolated during plyometric work. And it's in the plyo that you can really feel those muscles firing, almost building strength and working that core faster. The plyometrics helps you fire those muscles faster, accelerating through a run or turning faster on skis and getting those skis around without slipping in the technique department.

Or at least that's the effect it's had on me. I spend hours on end spinning and working the elliptical (I can't stand treadmill running) all winter long to prep for the season ahead. And in two days on the slopes, I could feel my quads burning and pushing with each turn on the mountain. At first I thought I was doing something wrong with my turning but learned in the end that it's just a need to do more plyometric work to strengthen my quads. I have to sit in my living room and practicing a move we drilled into our heads "suck and press." Basically a squat--back straight, knees bent, femurs going at least horizontal but the lower you can get your rear the more you'll feel the move--but in a ski stance. I could stand and "suck and press" all day. But the jist is that these core workouts can help with your skiing, cycling, running--you name it. A strong core is going to help with that speed and even technique so you look good out there (no hunched over marathoners at mile 24).

Need some ideas for key core moves? I'm a fan of simply entering core workout into google and checking out some of the results or going more specific with ski core workout to show me some moves that will get me set for skiing but also apply to my other sports. I'll try just about anything to make me stronger out there and if a stronger core means more time on the slopes or running without dying, I'll take it. Photo grabbed from Posted by Kate

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