Monday, January 12, 2009

Do You SKi like a Robot?

Skiing and snowboarding involves a series of complex movements all lumped together. The end result should be smooth, fluid, efficient and most importantly – enjoyable! If you find yourself being stiff and unabsorbing, then the problem might be more related to your training and not your skiing or your equipment. Skiing and riding requires a total body response. The muscles work as a team or a network to help us accomplish the task of getting down the mountain successfully through various terrain options. That said, from a training standpoint, one should train by performing exercises that activate the entire body so as to have the most transfer onto the slopes as possible.

Unfortunately, many exercises and programs still attempt to train the muscles in isolation, which to the body and nervous system is "unnatural." Think in terms of training movements and not muscles (not that there is anything wrong with isolated exercise). Especially since your training is dictated by your goal. If your goal is to "winterize" your body and improve your on the snow performance, then sitting on a bench and doing preacher curls is probably not the best exercise (unless you are talking about apres ski!).

In an ideal world, your training should help your body solve complex movement problems, so that when you encounter them on the slopes (and in real life)...your body already has the reflexive solution. Remember, your movement machinery adapts to how you train it. If you train in a slow and rigid manner, then that is what it will do when you are on the slopes. To be fast and explosive requires you to introduce these variables into your program.

Start by observing your exercise selection. Are most of your exercises done while you are on your feet (like many activities) or are you lying on your back, stomach or even sitting in a machine? Except for the chairlift and off-mountain festivities, skiing and riding are performed (at least well) in the upright position!

“I can’t even pick up my skis, how can I survive the moguls!”

Very often our daily lives contribute to our “robot-like” movement. With so much time spent in the seated position and periods of inactivity, our bodies tend to become more and more rigid. No wonder why Helen Hayes said, “If you rest, you rust!” The goals of your movement program should help to undo the negative affects of life and not contribute to it. If you find that your body is not responding to your current movement-enhancing program, then there are a few adjustments that need to be made.

Since skiing and snowboarding involves flexibility, endurance, strength, power, agility, coordination, balance; then these components become not just a good idea but also a necessity in your training program. As winter enthusiasts, it is our desire to excel and enjoy every turn to the fullest while we are on our decent down from the summit. Get the most out of every trip on the slopes with the proper conditioning when you are off the slopes!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Myth 7 - Working out takes too much time!

MYTH 7 - "Working out takes too much time!"

Perfect time to speak about this with this time of the year and all the resolutions that people have. Happy New Year to All!

Since when did the amount of time anyone spends working out determine the caliber of a workout? I remember back when I was in the gym setting, I would see people in the gym for 2-3 hours (must be some workout?). You should see their "rest" in between exercises. Everyone chatting it up, hitting on one another and doing everything BUT moving (which I must add, that is why they walked through the gym door). I'm not saying you should be a social outcast, believe me...I love to engage in socializing as much as the next guy (or girl). Just don't tell me you spend 2 hours in the gym working out when in actuality you move for 34 minutes out of that 120!

The quality of your "movement session" is far more important that your time commitment. This does not mean that you cannot have a combination of BOTH variables (like a Long and Slow Duration Day). Time is just another variable that all of us have and are used to using to quantify "how much" of something that we do. We all have 24 hours in a day. How is it that some accomplish so much more in the SAME time period? Perhaps the quality of time they spend doing their "work" is far more productive than others? This can obviously be applied to anything in life, personal or business.

Ever hear that "they" say that you need to do 30 minutes of cardio BEFORE you even start burning fat? First of all, who is "they" and what makes "them" even qualified to speak about a particular topic of discussion. That would be like saying that the first 30 minutes of your drive to work, you don't burn any gas!? There are many myths that have been thrown around from this famous group that we all have heard a thing or two referred to as "they."

Start looking are your movement patterns and more importantly the quality of them. Throughout your day, how much of your movement is structured (IE, exercise) compared to unstructured (active lifestyle, sports, recreation, physical work, etc.). As a society, we all don't move enough and this creates a whole slew of problems (childhood obesity?).

Remember, time is just another variable. You can even use it to your advantage by eliminating your REST intervals in between your strength sets and now all the sudden you added another element to your strength program. By manipulating your rest intervals, you can enhance your current program, help you blast through a plateau that you may be in and right on topic, it will take you LESS time to get through your workout. Don't worry about have plenty of time throughout the rest of the day to get that in!