I went to my first hill bounding session of the season last night. Though I have done this year after year I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing, I didn’t have “a plan” for my dry land training. Do you have any recommendations for how to use your time wisely out on the hill and maybe some recommendations for complete newbies?
Dear Switching Gears:
My recommendation is to start off slow. Ski walk with or without poles the top 3/4 of the hill 4 to 5 times or 20 minutes. For even more of a forgiving warm up, weave up to the chair lift landing rather than going straight up the hill. This gives your body a chance to warm up and get used to the ski walking position. There are a number of ways to approach the hill to structure a workout but here are a few recommendations. Remember, using the hill as ‘natural resistance’ is the point of the whole workout. The hill can be used for easy, medium, and hard efforts depending on what you choose.
1. (easy) Ski walk/imitation from the bottom of the hill to the top. Concentrating on technique principles. Head down, forward lean, long stride, knee drive, quick kick and complete pole through. Try to maintain form from top to bottom. Time each one and try to complete each repeat within seconds of each other. For example if your 4th one is 1:30 min slower than the 3rd it is time to warm down. You may not feel it yet but you are tired and each one is going to get slower and slower because body is tired.
2. (hard) Bounding intervals either on the steep bottom of the hill or towards the top. Mark two points, a starting point and an end point. It is better to start shorter than attempt to do a long bounding session unless you have been bounding all summer. A good distance is one you can cover in 15 to 30 sec repeating 8+ times. Full recovery is needed between repeats. Gradually increase your distance as you become more proficient and efficient in bounding. Concentrate on technique principles throughout work out. This work out is short. Be careful because this work out can cause damage and soreness.
3. (medium) You can simply do hops up the hill. Straight or side to side, classic or skate technique.
4. (easy) A relaxing stretch exercise is to play â€œfollow the leaderâ€ where the front person weaves the group either up or down the hill changing directions (alpine hill at chester bowl). You may do leg crossovers, hops, long steps, short steps, go forward or backward, classic or skate striding, hill bounding (short distance), etc. – make it fun! You will find that it is a great thing to do for 20-30 min. that stretches muscles you didn’t know you had!
5. (easy) Try balance exercises, where you catch your balance after a step and try to hold your position (forward body lean) for several seconds before you take the next step.
Here are just a few to try, have fun.
Midnight Sun Adventure Company