The tendon revolution has yet to fully reach the cycling and skiing worlds, but coaches are already applying some deep-strength principles. Many track cyclists, for example, employ heavy-weight, low-rep workouts. Olympic-style lifts advocated by tendon builders can work wonders for a cyclist's ability. "It's that explosive
strength that transfers to the power you need," says Eric Schmitz, author of Weight Training for Cyclists and director of personal training at the Santa Barbara Athletic Club, "like those first four pedal strokes as you're climbing up that hill." Still, when cyclists think tendons, they think injury, and the patellar tendon in the knee is most at risk.
Likewise skiers, who are often coping with ruptured anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL) or medial collateral ligaments (MCL). Try the following for a little prevention that goes a long way.
"All cyclists should be doing these," insists Schmitz. Among the classics is a standing two-footed jump that utilizes only your body weight. Find a grassy spot to absorb the shock, hold your arms straight ahead and parallel to the ground. Jump up and try to bring your knees up to your arms. Land with your knees bent, but never past 90 degrees, and relaunch
explosively. Do 10 to 15, or pack in as many as possible in 30 seconds.
Following the deep-strength caveat of careful progression, begin with unweighted, standard squats. Work up by adding weight until you can complete only eight reps with good form. Do three to five sets, resting two to three minutes in between.
A good alternative to squats for those with bad backs, since leg-press machines provide solid support. Don't lock knees on the extension.
Train to hang on to handlebars in rough terrain or, for skiers, to survive a violent pole plant, by lifting a thick-handled barbell (or cover a bar with 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick sandblasting hose). It'll be tough to wrap your fingers all the way around the bar, but that's the point. Extra credit: palms-down biceps curls.
Vancouver, B.C., resident Alisa Smith trains to prevent injury while riding the North Shore.