PowderStrong Online

Strength and Conditioning for Sliding Athletes

PowderStrong Online is back for 2021, with some big shifts and improvements.

If you’re looking for information on PowderStrong Online (the on-your-own version), keep reading.

If you’re looking for information on PowderStrong, in-person with our supportive community and professional coaches, we’ve got details here

What is PowerStrong?

PowderStrong is our seasonal program where we blend the best in strength and conditioning to give skiers and snowboarders their best-ever winter on the snow.

This isn’t endless squats and lunges – although we definitely use those exercises. 

We also build strength in the hamstrings and glutes to ensure knees are good-to-go all season. We build the postural muscles of the back so they don’t fatigue with long days in the powder and moguls. 

We even build the shoulders and arms for stronger poling on the skin track, and for the durability to not get hurt from a crash. 

And yes, we train the core. Oh, so much core.

What are the workouts like?

PowderStrong sessions are all about 60 minutes long, and start with a “flow” phase to get the major joints of the body moving. If it’s early and you just got out of bed, or it’s the end of a day spent sitting in the computer, you need to address that stiffness before getting into more challenging work.

You then go through a warm-up, usually about 10 minutes long, that addresses the muscles that you’ll use during that session.

Next, there’s a block of strength work – focusing on two or three muscle groups or body parts, usually for about 20 minutes.

Then you spend another 20 minutes or so working on athleticism (jumping, explosiveness, balance, etc.) and/or chassis integrity (core strength from the hips to the shoulders).

Some sessions will feel harder than others, but every workout is designed specifically to build on the one before it, and to prepare for what’s coming next.

And every session is focused on preparing you for your strongest, fastest, and most fun winter in the snow.

Ready to get #PowderStrong? Register here.

The details...how it works, equipment needs, and cost.

Delivery: Each weekend, you’ll gain access to the next week’s workouts, so you can schedule them as you like. We deliver workouts as written training agendas, complete with demo videos to help you tweak your technique. 

These aren’t live workouts: I don’t want you to be tied to someone else’s schedule.

These aren’t follow-along videos: I don’t want you to be committed to someone else’s pace, nor do I want to charge what I’d have to for nearly 60 hours of video content.

Instead, you get to schedule workouts when it works for you; you can even break up training sessions if necessary. You can do workouts at home, or in a gym, or anywhere else you like. And you get to work at your own pace – even bringing a friend along for the ride.

Weekly Schedule: Each week, there are three workouts programmed, and you’ll need to decide whether to do 2 or 3 sessions each week; it depends on what else you’re doing, and how much time you have available.

Three sessions per week will give you the best return on investment, and the greatest progress. If you’re looking for overall health and fitness improvements, 3x/week is usually the right answer, especially if you don’t have a lot of other movement built into your weeks. However, if you regularly run, ride, climb, hike, etc., then two sessions each week may be your best bet. PowderStrong workouts are designed to augment the other stuff you’re doing. A good rule of thumb is to have at least one recovery day between sessions; in the past, M/W, T/Th, or M/W/F schedules have worked best for our athletes.

Required Equipment: There are three versions of each workout – “full-blown” (if you have access to a commercial gym), “standard” (this is what we do at WFA, or if you have access to dumbbells, kettlebells, etc.), and “spartan.”

The spartan versions of workouts are intended to be very light on equipment; having a backpack you can load with books or rocks, a stable surface to jump up onto, a jump rope, and a few resistance bands will make the workouts as effective as possible. I’ve put together a minimal shopping list from Amazon for the spartan workouts, which will cost you less than $150, and will last you well beyond the PowderStrong season.

Cost: PowderStrong Online 2021 is $250 for the entire 17 weeks of training.

Ready to get #PowderStrong? Register here.

What's new for 2021?

First, we’re expanding the timeline of the program. In 2019, we trained specifically for skiing for the entire 10 weeks of the program.

  • In 2020, we added deliberate hypertrophy (muscle size) and strength (muscle power) blocks to the program. For 2021, we’re extending the hypertrophy block, and sprinkling in athleticism work – balance, jumping and landing, and speed) to ensure we don’t slow down.
  • Why do hypertrophy (muscle size) work, in a sports-performance program, when we’re trying to be lean, mean, skiing (and perhaps skinning) machines? Three reasons:
    • More muscle equals more strength (within reason). This is especially valuable for the hamstrings, which don’t get as much load across the ski season; so we build them first, so they can keep the knees healthy.
    • Training for hypertrophy, which uses moderate loads for moderate reps (think sets of 15, getting close to failure) stimulates a ton of blood flow into muscles and connective tissue, which is a key component to the health of tendons and ligaments.
    • Training with moderate loads for moderate reps is the best way to learn high-quality movement. The squats you do for 15 reps will make your technique better when you’re squatting heavy for sets of 5.

Second, we’re adding more athleticism work to the entire program. Movements like jumping and landing, lateral movement, speed, and balance will be integrated into the program from day one. At various times they’ll make up more or less of a complete training session, but they’ll never be absent – even on our heaviest of strength days.

Third, we’re integrating components of two other programs (from other authors) into PowderStrong.

  • First, we’ll incorporate bodyweight movements for joint health and mobility from Phase6, particularly into warm-ups and athleticism work. Their exercises are adaptable to any skill level, and can be used even outside of PowderStrong as a regular movement practice.
  • Second, we’ll incorporate knee strength and mobility movements from the “Knees Over Toes Guy” (ATG). His programming is designed to make knees healthier and more resilient. I’ve already found his principles to be powerful for addressing knee issues in multiple runners and cyclists.

Fourth, we’re expanding the options available in the PowderStrong programming, for those who are completing it outside of Wasatch Fitness Academy. There are three tracks to choose from for each workout:

  • If you have access to a well-outfitted commercial gym (Planet Fitness, Vasa, Gold’s, etc.), you’ll be able to integrate machines (like leg press and hamstring curls) into the program with the “full-blown”
  • If you have access to a diverse set of dumbbells, kettlebells, or a barbell or sandbag, you’ll be able to follow the “standard” program largely as it’s been written for in-person sessions at Wasatch Fitness Academy.
  • If you have access to no equipment, other than a backpack with some heavy books in it, a couple of full Nalgene bottles, and a wall to lean on, you’ll be able to follow the “spartan” version of the program.
  • I’m excited about this, because if you’re traveling, you can choose to do the “spartan” version of the workout – or find a full gym and do the “full-blown” version.

Fifth, we’ll have an open line for questions and answers, both through a Facebook group, and via a weekly Q&A video.

Ready to get #PowderStrong? Register here.