Alpine Ontario encourages all its skiers to focus on fitness year-round to stay strong and injury-free during the winter months. Even skiers as young as 8 can benefit from spring and fall fitness testing to set goals and identify movement patterns. For those in the U14 and U16 OCUP program, each athlete must submit a dated (between Sept 1-Dec 31) fitness testing record to AOA by Jan 15, 2021, to email@example.com.
Athletes who do not do this cannot participate in OCUP races, including the OCUP Finals.
This testing can be done with your Division, Ski Club, Gym and/or school. Please ask your coach where your team will be doing the testing.
Oct 2020 Update: Ski racing during a pandemic is not written in our playbooks however we can do our best through communication, planning, procedure and process to return to the snow with the best possible preparation. For the athletes, their focus on physical preparation for return to snow is key in their playbook. Thus, AOA will still require fitness testing results for all U14 and U16 OCUP participants prior to Jan 15 2021. If your club or athletes can’t complete the test or components of the test based on regional health unit restrictions please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will assist with alternative test or individual plans to assist in facilitating the testing. We are sure you share our concern with having athletes return not only fit and ready to train but safely also. The protocol is posted below.
- Testing Protocol can be downloaded here>
- Location: Please check with your Division as to where testing for your team is taking place. Athletes in the Southern Ontario Division (SOD) are welcome to attend the Spring & Fall Fitness Testing at York University. This testing is managed by AOA partner, SXS Fitness based out of Toronto. Owner Stefan Overgaard is an OST alumnus and current U16 OCUP Coach. Stefan and his team host both the spring and fall at the Track Field Centre at York University. The testing dates will be posted at least one month prior to the event on the AOA calendar here> Please find the map to the gym here>
- SOD Testing Results: AOA posts the SOD Testing from York University each spring and fall. Results can be found here>
- Where to Send your Test Results: If you do not attend the SOD testing at York please submit a dated (between Sept 1-Dec 31) fitness testing record to AOA by Dec 31, 2019, to email@example.com.
Penta Jump– This repeated double leg horizontal jump requires a considerable amount of lower body coordination and power. This is directly related to explosive speed that you can generate through your hips during a turn. To improve upon this test, a combination of strength and speed (plyometrics) exercises should be done. Here are 3 examples: 1, 2,3. (click the links to watch videos)
Standing Medicine Ball Throw – This test measures power and coordination generated from a bottom-up fashion. It requires you to load your legs and trunk and maintain stability before achieving any vigorous movement of the upper body to propel a medicine ball weighing approx. 4% of body weight. To improve upon this test work on explosive type movements. Click on the 2 examples here: 1, 2.
Vertical Jumps– The counter-movement vertical jump incorporates the Central Nervous System to coordinate the segments to create lower body power. This is directly related to explosive speed that you can generate through your legs during a turn. To improve upon this test, a combination of strength and speed/plyometric exercises should be done. The single-leg jump ratio should be as close to 1.0 as possible. The further away from 1.0 your score is the more discrepancy in coordination/ power between right and left legs. If you have one leg significantly weaker you should continue with unilateral strength/ power work (click on these examples 1,2,3) to balance this out and always start your sets with the weaker side.
Hex Rail – The hex rail measures agility or the ability to change directions quickly. Primarily focused on the lower body and core muscles, the hex rail displays anaerobic power and shadows the quick multi-directional movements used in many sports. The hex rail is done 2-3x around (depending on age) in a clockwise direction followed by a brief rest then 2-3x counterclockwise. To improve on speed and agility, work on quick feet drills like cone high knees, Lateral Shuffles and slalom runs.
Movement Screens – Movement Screen 1 is an Overhead squat movement with a dowel. If the technique was perfect a score 3/3 was recorded. If technique broke down slightly then a score of 2/3 was awarded. If there were major alignment issues (lack of ankle mobility or knee stability to ensure safe ski racing) then a score of less than 2 was awarded. If there was pain during any part of the movement then a score of 0 was recorded. If a score of less than 2 was received it is recommended that you follow up with a sports therapist (sports med doctors, athletic therapist, physiotherapist, exercise physiologist, etc.) to have an alignment check performed to rule out any further red flags and to start some correctives to ensure safety this upcoming ski season.
Movement Screen2 was a straight leg raise performed to assess posterior chain (calf, hamstring, back) range of motion. If a score of below 2 was noted then the following corrective should be performed daily 10-20 times pain-free. If a score of 0 was given then follow up with a health professional is needed.
60/ 90–second Box Jump– This test measures the anaerobic endurance of the lower body muscles by recording the number of jumps on a 10-40cm box (age-dependent) as the test progresses. This is one of the major energy systems responsible for success in ski racing. We are looking at an overall number of touches over the 60/90 seconds (age-dependent). Track and field, Cross country running, mountain biking, fartlek and intervals will help build efficiency in this system.
Australian Institute Shuttle test (AIS) – The ‘beep’ test is an aerobic (endurance) test that measures the athletes’ ability to take in and utilize oxygen and provides an indirect VO2 measurement. A high VO2 allows the athlete to train and compete at higher intensities for longer periods of time as well as recover quicker between races and training days. Mountain biking and cross country are two good ways to increase your V02.
The tests were selected based on the key physical parameters required to both perform and maintain safety throughout the ski season. These are all activities that can be easily reproduced for re-testing purposes and require very little equipment to do so.