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Thread: Skis and knees

  1. #1
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    Mar 2019
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    Default Skis and knees

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    I just got done watching the HBO documentary on Lindsey Vonn and I canít help but wonder if this athleteís career might have ended differently if she were strength trained properly.

    I spent a large portion of my childhood and adolescent years on the slopes for alpine ski racing. I stopped at the age of 17 before ever having injured a knee, which seems to be the inevitable outcome of pursuing a career in alpine ski racing. But even at the age of 17 i had creaky knees, an exaggerated Q angle, and an underdeveloped posterior chain in comparison to the anterior.

    In alpine racing, the bindings on the skis have an adjustable ďDINĒ that controls the amount of force it takes to release the boot during a crash. Heavier people and ruttier skiing conditions require a higher DIN. ACL, PCL, MCL injuries are abundant because of the inherent high force twisting and torquing that occurs during a crash before the boot is released from the binding. But is that the root cause for knee injuries on ski racing, or is it possible that this is a posterior chain strength issue? Would stronger, more balanced muscular around the knee prevent injury to a greater degree during a crash?

    Ski racing is an extremely quad dominant sport - The first day of hard training on the slopes will leave your quads on fire after every run. In the offseason,
    every dry land or strength training program Iíve seen for ski racers is SPORT SPECIFIC BULLSHIT. Meaning a shit ton of quad work: half squats, leg extensions, wall sits, crouching unilateral stability shit, etc.

    I was disgusted to see every workout Ms. Vonn was put through in this documentary focused on quad work and stability/endurance training - As if the sport itself doesnít overwork that shit? Meanwhile she fucks up one knee or another practically every crash. This is a 35 year old woman and possibly the most dominant ski racer of all time being trained by some dude who looks like he just got a NASM cert.

    Iíd be willing to bet that almost all of the top tier athletes in this sport have never even heard of a low bar back squat and havenít approached strength training in a method anywhere near what you have established with starting strength. I would bet that knee injuries would decrease dramatically if these athlete were exposed to your program. The ďstrongĒ people in this sport donít really look all that strong and there are no weight classes.

    Iíd be interested to hear your opinion on the matter and any other experts who want to weigh in - would a program like SSNLP dramatically reduce the frequency of knee injuries in the sport ski racing?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    North Texas
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    This is what you get for watching HBO Documentaries. Look:

    Meanwhile she fucks up one knee or another practically every crash. This is a 35 year old woman and possibly the most dominant ski racer of all time being trained by some dude who looks like he just got a NASM cert.
    Why hasn't the most dominant ski racer of all time done her homework? Why haven't all women's soccer teams adopted our proven method of strengthening the posterior chain, this protecting at least the ACL? Why do pro football teams do absurd shit like this?

    https://twitter.com/Challenger_ST/status/1211043280747716608/video/1

    I don't know. It's obvious to us, but not to them, that this bullshit doesn't work, can't work, and displaces that which can work. I guess we haven't spent enough time selling, because we're too busy working. Your thoughts are welcome.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    I haven’t watched the documentary, but I do live in a “ski town” with a population of 20,000 people and a local Orthopaedic surgeon who regularly performs 50-60 ACL surgeries a year + a number of people who travel 4+ hours to larger cities for the procedure.

    Here is what I notice as a serious snowboarder who rides 60+ days a season:

    - I am one of three people in town who low bar Backsquats and the only one of those three that ski/snowboard.

    -my Backsquat erodes considerably over the course of the season, typically 50 pounds or more, however, my quads grow noticeably in size. I really should measure my quads before and after the season as some kind of case study. I tried employing some front squats leading into the season for 2 consecutive years and that didn’t seem to help in any noticeable way. I still got just as sore following hard days and early season sessions. I have since ditched front squats entirely. In fact, low bar Backsquats seem to allow me to squat with more frequency and intensity while simultaneously snowboarding 3-4 days a week since there are significantly larger muscles employed that are less directly fatigued by a quad dominant sport.

    -when I’m sitting on chairlifts next to a wide variety of other people and it’s easy to visually compare leg sizes, I’m often amazed at how overwhelmingly scrawny the vast majority of skier/rider legs are.

    -while knee injuries are obvious and widespread, there seems to be little discussion of back injuries which are likely more common, more debilitating and probably effect more casual enthusiasts at a higher rate over a longer timeline than knee injuries, but are generally attributed more to having “back problems” than being skiing/riding injuries.

    -even the people who do very moderate resistance exercises in any capacity at all (kettlebells, dumbells, half rep high bar squats...) seem to fare much better injury wise (at least as an observation in my social pool) and this association seems painfully obvious to me, but good luck convincing anyone that they should be doing deadlifts and low bar Backsquats. All you can really do is look out for yourself and hope that it sets some kind of example as people living a very similar lifestyle go down regularly (and often long term) due to injuries and yet you seem to keep going with little maintenance and only minor tweaks.

  4. #4
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    Jan 2018
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    Quote Originally Posted by poser View Post
    but good luck convincing anyone that they should be doing deadlifts and low bar Backsquats. All you can really do is look out for yourself and hope that it sets some kind of example as people living a very similar lifestyle go down regularly (and often long term) due to injuries and yet you seem to keep going with little maintenance and only minor tweaks.
    I find this part hard to believe (not really).

    You'd think one could explain it to "them" like this: think of it as preparing for a car accident, or a rodeo ... when they eventually wreck.

    Strength training would definitely help with the chronic nagging wear and tear injuries over the season, and maybe they wouldn't buy that reasoning....Supple Leopard mentality or something.

    But it would seem the threat of the likely possibility of a bad crash, and breaking some bones and/or tearing some ligaments,
    would somehow 'deter' some people to some heavy barbell training.

  5. #5
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    Mar 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by poser View Post
    -while knee injuries are obvious and widespread, there seems to be little discussion of back injuries which are likely more common, more debilitating and probably effect more casual enthusiasts at a higher rate over a longer timeline than knee injuries, but are generally attributed more to having ¬ďback problems¬Ē than being skiing/riding injuries.
    I have a hypothesis that the severe back injury I sustained in my early twenties was a result of the anterior chain dominance that i developed from lots of time on skis as a youth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    I don't know. It's obvious to us, but not to them, that this bullshit doesn't work, can't work, and displaces that which can work. I guess we haven't spent enough time selling, because we're too busy working. Your thoughts are welcome.
    Well somebody’s gotta tell a bitch!

    (No disrespect intended, ladies. I’m just channeling Chappelle)

  6. #6
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    Dec 2012
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    I took ten years off from skiing between 2006 and 2015. Three children and three runs at LP in between. My first time back to a mountain involved two days coddling my children on the bunny slope and greens. Luckily I was able to break away on the third day when I was able to cruise blues and a black or two. I was floored at how much easier it was--both maneuvering and endurance. I was 35 lbs heavier than 2006 as well.

    I made it home from a four day trip last week. What a difference SS has made. I'm enjoying this win.

  7. #7
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    Oct 2016
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    Overland Park, KS
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    starting strength coach development program
    I'm smiling as read this from Steamboat Springs after my first day skiing for the season. I turned 50 this year and SS has definitely helped me in the last 2 years. I noticed this year that my legs didn't get near as fatigued as last year on the first day.

    Now if I could just drop another 20 lbs in bodyweight!

    This is one of the many reasons why I strength train.

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