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The Power Phase: Building Strength in the Fall

Sat, Jun  16, 2001 - By Mike Muha

Step One: Gradual build over fall or summer/fall combined. Do primary exercises as well as general strength routines (opposing muscle groups). Start with high rep, low weight and gradually work up to a mix of reps and weight.

Step Two: Six (6) weeks prior to transition period (month prior to prime ski competition period, begin aggressive phase. Average of two weight sessions per week, roughly 20-40 minutes long. Increase weight 2.5-5 pounds at each station, each week until you can’t increase and complete required reps OR you can’t perform exercise at required speed. Throughout period, use recovery of 2-3 minutes of easy activity or core/circuit work in between sets.

2a. Begin with 20 reps per station at a “high” weight for two weeks. 1-2 sets (depending on age, fitness, and avg. race distance) of each exercise. Concentrate on smooth execution at moderate speed.

2b. Follow with two weeks of 15 reps per station. Same guidelines but make motions moderately-fast on each station when possible.

2c. Finish with two weeks of 10 reps per station. Same guidelines but make motions fast on each station when possible.

Lower body exercises
Incline leg press
Calf raises
Step ups with resistance (weight vest or weight bar)

Upper body exercises
Lat pull downs
Seated dumbell pullover
Clean and jerk (floor to overhead)
Standing upright rows

Step Three: After power phase, reduce weight work to one session x per 7-10 days throughout season (maintenance training). Continue concentrating on primary exercises but also return to a general strength mix. Occasionally bump up weight on random stations but primarily use high reps, low weight formula. Introduce mid-season “mini-power phase” only if training/racing allows.