Ski Racing Exercises: Getting strong for the upcoming Winter ski racing season!
The Ski Zenit power and skills test is a combination of quantifiable power and strength movements.
The development and progression of physical fitness is an important component of overall skiing and athletic ability.
Learning and perfecting these skills will add to continued skiing success and are imperative for young ski racers. Inability to perform these tasks can identify deficits that need to be addressed for future skiing success.
Without the implication of these skills high performance skiing can be limited and injury can occur. The test is designed to allow for feedback on young athletes current abilities across the following categories:
- Aerobic capacity.
- Aerobic endurance.
- Lower extremity strength (power, coordination, balance, skill and single leg strength).
- Acceleration and speed.
- Upper body strength (power, coordination, balance, skill and rotational strength upper to lower body).
These skills are easily quantifiable and replicated at home to chart progress. Coaches and parents can perform these tests suitable for ages 6-20 to determine an athlete’s entry point. Corresponding skills will be broken-down and worked on during Ski Zenit camps.
Before starting the test an adequate dynamic warm-up/activation series of around 20 minutes is recommended including jogging at 50-70% of effort to raise the heart rate.
Warm up activities could include total body stretching, lunges, squats, bridges, arm circles and shoulder stretching. Take adequate rest between skills tests.
Required Gear will consist of a flat surface, stopwatch, athletic tape measure, cones, a slight incline hill for practicing running uphill, boxes roughly 15 and 30cm high and a medicine ball weighted 3, 4 or 5 kg. (lighter for children under 12, heavier for older children).
1. Vertical Jump
- Test explosive power, flexibility, balance and indication of overall fitness level.
- Find a wall or goal post and give the athlete 2-3 tries to reach the highest point the athlete can reach from a standing jump.
- Mark and record the highest point the athlete reaches with his./her hand and measure from the ground up, best effort recorded.
2. Broad Jump – Single and Double-Footed
- Test explosive power, hip/lower body strength, balance and efficient movement.
- Utilize a pit in a local track if possible or determine a well marked starting point on a flat, not-slip surface.
- Athlete will start in a standing position and jump as far forward as possible.
- Have an assistant mark where the back of the foot lands and take measurement.
- Repeat exercise with left and right feet separately to determine difference in leg strength and recruitment.
- Athlete will have 2/3 tries for both exercises and best effort will be recorded.
3. Push ups
- To determine an athlete’s upper body strength.
- Begin in a push-up position on a flat surface either feet or knees and count how many push-ups done with elbows hitting 90 degrees.
- If an athlete is not capable of a full push-up then he/she can perform a plank for as long as possible.
4. Medicine Ball Throw – Static, Squat/Throw and Rotation
- To test upper body power, strength and explosive movement. Will also determine output of transfer of power from lower to upper body.
- Two weights can be used, 3 kilograms for children under 12, and 4 to 5 kilograms for children over 12.
- Athletes get 2-3 attempts and best effort recorded.
- Static Throw – athlete will stand with back against a wall or another solid object, tuck elbows into the sides with ball against the chest in a basketball chest pass position and push/throw forward as far as possible while someone marks landing and measures.
- Squat and Throw – same concept as above holding the ball into the chest, however the athlete begins in a squat and using hip extension and power transfer throws the ball forward to be measured.
- Rotational Throw – athlete starts standing with ball at his/her side and with planted feet and throws the ball diagonally across the body from low to high over the shoulder in a chopping motion.
5. Box Step-ups or Jumps
- This test focuses on explosive power, agility and endurance. The exercise choice is up to the coach/parent. Children above 12 years of age can attempt the box jumps while younger children may want to use the step-up, step down method.
- Box should be no higher than the athlete’s knee, 30 cm is a good starting point, 20 for smaller children.
- Box Step-ups – find and measure a step that is 20 or 30 cm. Athletes will stand in front of the box and step on to the box with the entire foot and step down alternating feet as many times as possible in a correct fashion in a 1-2 minute period.
- Box Jumps – with either box height depending on the athlete, have the child begin standing in front of the box and jumping up with both feet solidly landing on the box with minimal noise stepping down between each jump. Amount of jumps will be timed in a 1-2 minute period. Score will be recorded.
6. 20 Meter Sprint
- Testing speed and acceleration.
- Measure out 20 meters on a non-slip surface preferably a track with clear indications of start/finish.
- Have the athlete start behind the start line and ensure good footwear is used.
- Athletes get 2-3 trials and the fastest time is recorded.
7. Shuttle Run Drill
- The shuttle run tests power, agility, speed and endurance.
- Place two cones about 25 metres apart on a flat, non-slip surface.
- For children under 12 do 4 repetitions to each cone or a total of 200 metres timed.
- For children over 12 do 6 repetitions to each cone for a total of 600 metres.
- Athletes get 2 attempts and average time will be taken.
8. Uphill Run
- To determine cardiovascular endurance as well as application of all skills above.
- Choose an uphill slope medium gradient around 10-15 minutes in length for practice.
- Ski Zenit test will utilize the Kapelle Weg from Saas Grund to Saas Fee which is approximately 1.7 km up 214 meters of elevation gain with an average slope of 14%.
- Children will line up behind the coach and will be given a time at the top of the climb.