For one reason or another, skiers like to avoid the topic of strength during the racing season. Probably, this is because most of us don't really feel like doing it, don't actually do it, but do think we should be doing it. It is true that the appeal of the weight room tends to lose its lustre a bit when great ski trails are available and there are races every weekend that require you to be faster than your teammates.
At the same time, I have found that even a little bit of strength training during the racing season allows you to maintain a considerable amount of what you worked so hard to achieve during the off season.
In my own winter "strength training system" there are really only three different types of workouts to choose from. These are:
1. Double pole/legs only skiing (skiing for varying periods of time via double pole only or legs only skating)
2. Hill strength on skis (repeats of a short uphill using legs only, double pole and single pole methods.
3. Weight room strength.
I try to incorporate at least two of these workouts per week during the winter, varying the difficulty depending on what is happening in terms of racing, travel etc.
Below, I will outline a weight room mainteance strength session that I have been enjoying lately, largely based on what has been recommended by Rich Childs, of A Step Up gym in Chelsea (www.a-step-up.com). This will give you an example of the type of thing that can be effective during racing season. I won't provide details of exaclty how to do each exercise. For that, I would suggest you have someone with experience (such as the great people at A Step Up) provide you with a proper explanations.
The goals of this workout are:
Maintain basic strength
Maintain explosive strength
Maintain core strength
Don't exhaust yourself.
The workout I have been doing only takes about 30-40 minutes, plus a warm up and cool down. Incidentally, I think that warming up and cooling down by jogging is a good way to keep those running muscles functioning in case you need them in times of inclement weather, or when spring inevitably and unfortunately materializes.
Exercises: For each of A, B, and C, do 2-3 repetitions of the exercises described.
A. Step-ups (6 reps each leg), followed quickly by one legged box jumps (10 jumps on each leg)
B. Bent over row (6 reps), followed quickly by diagonal arms only with 2lbs dumbbells (10 reps each arm)
C. Leg press (6 reps), followed by chin ups ( 8 reps) followed by maximum speed rowing on rowing machine with high resistance (15 reps)
D. Leg abductions with pulley machine ( 8 reps each leg), followed by "skate" box jumps (10 reps each leg)
Following this, I like to do about 10 minutes of core strength, frequently using Bosu balls.
A - Box jumps.
C - Leg Press, then Chin-ups.
Bosu Ball core strength.
You don't really need a weight room to do a little strength. It just makes things a bit easier. An average hotel room has all the equipment you need for doing some core strength, push ups, dips etc.
I would advise being a bit more cautious with your strength work during racing season than you are during the summer. Obviously, your priority should be skiing as well as possible at the races you choose, and you don't want to compromise that by tiring yourself out with excessively long and tough strength workouts. Feel free to keep the weights, reps, and sets a fair bit easier than you would have during the summer.
There are times during the racing season when you should probably skip the strength work altogether, like for example, in the week or so leading up to your most important races.