Downhill Strength Exercises?

  • Creator
  • #53805


    Long time user of Training for New Alpinism, and now reading through Uphill Athlete.

    I know that this is somewhat beyond the scope of pure skimo/racing, but for those of us who are a bit more descent-focused, are there effective leg strengthening exercises that we should add to the strength and conditioning program, or do most people find the exercises listed sufficient (along with a fair chunk of downhill skiing)?

    I’ve tried leg blasters, pure gym strength routines and lots of hill work…not sure if there’s any better eccentric exercises out there to include too.


Posted In: Ski Mountaineering

  • Participant
    russes011 on #53838

    I have had success with the Tap-Jump-Tap box drill (15sec on–45sec/off), as well a lunge off a box where you jump side to side on the same leg for awhile over a small object. Pistol squat progressions also seem very useful, both for climbing and skiing. Single-leg stuff seems best IMO.

    Otherwise, the UA Box step-down is really great, as are leg blasters (aka quadzilla complexes), although with the latter I find it important to monitor form to prevent injury–its easy to get sloppy when tired. I have also evolved to just use weighted, jumping lunges instead of leg blasters because I think thats where the money is.

    Single leg balance exercises like single-leg Romanian deadlifts are great. As are those one-legged pelvic lifts that train your hamstrings (also can be weighted). And of course the good old deadlift for posterior chain deficiencies.

    One could also do negatives (eccentrics) on a lot of these exercises, or at least do the eccentric portions slow, which should provide a better descent-focussed work-out.

    Hope this helps a bit.

    teamweasel on #53910

    Thanks for that advice – I’ll definitely focus on the jumping lunges!

    rich.b on #53915

    Strength exercises are obviously a critical foundation, but they do not necessarily help with endurance skiing downhill. A routine I mixed in in previous years for mountain ultras and had just got back into early last fall to prepare for this winter’s skiing – until the fall covid wave shut things down again – is to mix some endurance into it by inserting lunges and jump lunges (holding a 10 kg plate) into a spin workout. 10-15 min warm-up; then about 10 sets of: spin interval (30 sec up to 2 min), jump off and do 10 weighted (jump)lunges, 1-2 min spin recovery, repeat; 10-15 easy to round it off.
    Hopefully shall get back to these next fall.

    Brandon Phillips on #59236

    I just wanted to pull this thread back up and see if anyone else had thoughts on this. I’m definitely going to try out the workouts russes011 mentioned.

    I’ve been doing a lot of trail running and have a pretty solid nordic ski background. On some early season ski tours I have found myself cruising uphill with no problems, but having some burning thighs on the downhill. Mostly looking for strength and ME workouts to supplement the activities I’m already doing.


    wheeler.gareth on #59338

    This is supposed to be good – “3 Minute Mountain Legs”

    Jane Mackay on #59339

    Gareth, that does look like it would be effective. Bookmarking this!

    Jane Mackay on #59340

    One thing I’m curious about is that he doesn’t put his heel on the step for the one-legged stepups. UA Coach Carolyn has said that for the box step ups we should put the full foot on the box/step so you’re using the big muscles in the posterior chain rather than overloading the quads.

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