Mountain Fitness Tips: Focus on Functional Strength

You may not be a pro skier or climber, but at least you can train like one. Mountain sports coach Rob Shaul and his students share how they prepare for the peaks.


Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

Don't treat fitness as a sport. Avoid getting caught up in loads lifted or workout completion times. Your gym training must improve your on-mountain performance and durability. If it doesn't, change it. —Coach Shaul

ATHLETE: Crystal Wright, professional freeskier

MA TRAINING: 2.5 years

SUCCESS STORY: 2012 World Tour Freeskiing champion; owner of Wright Training.

When I finished my college ski racing career, I thought that I would never have to lift weights again and that my outdoor activities were enough to sustain my career as a professional. After graduation, I became a personal trainer and began to understand the importance of regular gym sessions, but it was still hard to motivate.

Training with Rob has completely changed my outlook. I've realized that lifting weight is about better functional and athletic movements, not bulking up. I feel more confident about my body now than I have in all my years of skiing, and I'm focusing on achieving new personal bests in my training in order to improve my competition performance.

Filed to: