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Steven B

Does skiing work the same muscle groups as hiking?

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As the title states, does skiing work the same muscle groups as hiking? I ask because I just recently got into skiing and am addicted, but I've noticed that the 1 to 2 days after a long ski day my hiking workouts are just not what they're suppose to be. I treat mountaineering like a sport and do climbing specific workouts 3-4x a week, and general fitness 5x a week. I'm worried skiing is reducing the quality of my stair/hill climbing workouts. If skiing actually helps my hiking strength then that would be a relief, but I'd like the get some perspective from those with experience in this area. Thanks!

 

-Steven

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You're worried that skiing is having a negative impact on your hill climbing workouts?? You've got your priorities backwards. Your workouts are to make it easier to go have fun!

 

 

If you are a beginning or not very good skier, yes, I think your quads and other big leg muscles will be getting worn out skiing. This will lessen as your skill improves. Technique makes a huge difference.

 

When I want to train for skiing, I do stairs and lunges. This helps with skiing generally, backcountry skiing more so.

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That's a good way to think of it! Maybe I do have my priorities backwards =)

 

Also great to hear the burning in my quads will go away once I fix my terrible form, I've got a ways to go but I'm completely hooked and okay with that!

 

-Steven

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I don't mean to offend you, but if you can't tell if two activities use the same muscle groups, you're going to have a really hard time training for anything.

 

slow down, and go through the motions of your workouts (stairs) and activities (skiing), paying close attention to what muscles are contracting. you'll see that skiing and stairs will activate some of the same muscle groups. as you pay attention to duration of contraction, you'll see that your skiing is probably more intense than your stair climbing, hence your soreness.

 

also, search for skiing workouts on the interwebs and compare those to hiking workouts, and see if some of the exercises are the same.

 

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Thank you and none taken! While it would seem to be common sense that similar muscle group soreness would correlate to beneficial "cross training", I know from experience this is not always the case. As a quick example, I use to race bicycles at a fairly high level, and I can tell you that running and hiking, which made me feel just as sore if I worked out with enough intensity, did nothing for my cycling fitness.

 

I do not have the pleasure of knowing too many serious mountaineers who are also avid skiers, so I figured posting this question on the cascadeclimbers forum might get me in touch with a few of those people who have experience in this.

 

-Steven

 

 

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The short answer is "yes". Hiking requires that you have well trained quads, as does skiing. However, the muscular demands of hiking and skiing are drastically different. you mentioned that hiking training made no improvements on cycling performance for you personally. This makes sense because the metabolic and biomechanical demands are very different. For example, researches tried to figure out if there was any overlap between training a straight squat with Olympic weights, and performing strait leg raises on a machine. So they had a control group (who did nothing), a group who did squats, and a group who did leg raises. at the end of a 12 week training period they had all groups test their squat. unsurprisingly, the only group that performed better (compared to pre-training measures) was the group who performed squats specifically. There was no crossover from training with leg raises. This type of research has lead to the whole "functional training" craze. Why am I mentioning this? Because skiing and hiking, while both working similar muscle goups, are not the same activity. For starters, the forces and muscle actions associated with skiing are WWAAAYYYY different compared to hiking. Also, the movement and range of motions required to ski is drastically different, as well. So, yes, hiking and skiing wok the same muscle groups, but that doesn't mean they have the same metabolic and biomechnical demands. If you want more info I would be happy to find what I can, in the literature and elsewhere.

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Jordan,

 

Thank you I am a sucker for research studies such as the one you cited! That makes sense to me, as I have gone through similar experiences. Early in my hiking training I use to do squats. As time went on I started suspecting this type of training was wasting more time than it was helping. I eliminated squats all together and instead added a "heavy pack" stair climbing day to my weekly routine where I'd load up 70 lbs and walk at a comfortable pace of about 100 flights of stairs. Within a month I noticed a drastic difference in my real world hikes that squats just never seemed to be able to do.

 

I'm not saying squats don't have a place in the beginner's workout regimen, but after a period of time (in my case I had this revelation after about 1 year of serious training) I think you are right in that workouts that more closely mimic the activity become increasingly beneficial. If I didn't have a 9-5 job I'd be hiking in real mountains every workout, but stairs and inclined treadmills will have to do if I want any regularity in my training.

 

Back to skiing, I just finished another ski day yesterday and my legs are so sore there's no way I'd get a workout in today! I'll just have to hope that I'll get to a level where skiing doesn't tire me anymore and I can squeeze in my typical weekly training load. Till then I am just having too much fun! Can't believe it took me 28 years to figure out crampons aren't the only way to fly over snow =).

 

-Steven

Edited by Steven B

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