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Join National Team Athletes for the SkillsQuest Fitness Challenge

By Megan Harrod
July, 14 2020
Steven Nyman
Olympian and three-time FIS Ski World Cup winner Steven Nyman will kick off the SkillsQuest Fitness Challenge (#SQFchallenge) on Wednesday, July 14.

This week, U.S. Ski & Snowboard will launch the SkillsQuest Fitness Challenge—an eight-week challenge based on the SkillsQuest Fitness assessment.

As many U.S. Ski & Snowboard club athletes are familiar with, the SkillsQuest Fitness assessment is a “standardized way for the country to assess a broad range of physical properties that are important for skiing and snowboarding, and really all athletic development,” said Troy Taylor, High Performance Director for U.S. Ski & Snowboard. The SkillsQuest Fitness Challenge (a.k.a. #SQFchallenge on social media) was an idea born out of finding a way to engage with the community on a more regular basis, along with building the fundamental fitness. 

With on-snow training opportunities limited due to COVID-19, Alpine Development Director Chip Knight together with Troy and his high performance staff, had to get creative and resourceful in order to connect with the National Development Group (NDG)-level athletes. This group includes the best 16-20-year-old athletes in our nation. As a result, Chip and his staff created a series of monthly webinars as a vehicle through which they can engage this community. 

“We can’t schedule regional or national development camps in this [COVID-19] environment, so we’re looking for ways to reach these elite athletes across our nation—a number of whom will realistically make the U.S. Ski Team next year,” explained Chip. “So, it’s important to us that we continue to work with them and assist in their development. A lot of the content will anchor on conditioning—that’s an area where we feel like we can make the biggest gains through this summer—but we’re also going to weave in sports psychology content, content around nutritional advice, social media education through our communications team, and really just connect with the group.”

The group kicked off the series with their first webinar, in which coaches introduced themselves, the plan for the fall—including a discussion about a potential on-snow camp—was discussed, and, of course, conditioning was a focal point, added Chip. 

Troy and Chip said they hope that with the #SQFchallenge, which kicks off on Wednesday, July 14, U.S. Ski & Snowboard is able to engage not only NDG athletes but also our broader community and clubs, by linking them to our National Team athletes and showing how they train at the elite level. Land Rover Ambassador, Olympian and three-time FIS Ski World Cup winner Steven Nyman will kick off the social challenge, with a single leg squat movement. Hopefully, this competition will fuel athletes’ competitive drive when they are not able to otherwise train on snow. As Chip says, “Looking for ways to engage our community for the summer and get athletes to keep competing, off the snow, but really try to improve their physical conditioning base in core areas.”
 

Steven Nyman
Steven Nyman works hard in the "offseason" to set himself up for success when he hits the snow. 

 

Troy would like to turn a negative into a positive with the challenge. “Access to snow for the next little while is challenging for everyone—whether national teams or clubs—but we can take care of our fitness and conditioning, and the way that we approach and prepare for when we do get access to snow, whenever that may be,” he said. “So let’s control the controllables and be in the fittest spot possible for when we do get on snow. We’re trying to turn COVID and a lack of snow into an opportunity”

NDG athletes, clubs, and members of the community will be encouraged to join the eight-week social challenge by trying the movement and sharing their videos on Instagram with the hashtag #SQFchallenge. Each week, U.S. Ski & Snowboard's high performance staff will unveil a new challenge for the community. Attempt exercises at your own risk, and only try if you are physically capable to do so.

Stay tuned to the U.S. Ski & Snowboard social channels for more information in the coming weeks. 

PLEASE NOTE: The High Performance staff cautions that movements should be done in a progression, and the theoretical progression should go over four weeks (task progressions in bold):

Week 1 Initiation:

  • 40m Out-and-back Shuttle Challenge:
    • Max reps (up to 25) with :10s rest between reps
    • Women’s Pace - each rep under 12.5s (level 7 beep test pace)
    • Men’s Pace - each rep under 11.4s (level 9 beep test pace)
  • Single Leg Squat Challenge: 
    • “Perfect” Plate Overhead Squat - 5kg/10lb plate x 150 in a week
  • Upper Body Challenges:
    • Pull Up Iso Hold Challenge – Max time at 90 degrees elbow flexion
    • “Perfect” Push Up Challenge – Max reps in :90 seconds; broom/dowel on back touching back of head, between shoulder blades, and sacrum
  • Jump Rope Challenge:
    • As many contacts (single-unders) as you can in :60s with NO misses - if missed, start over - 10 min. maximum time limit

Week 2 Progression:

  • 40m Out-and-back Shuttle Challenge:
    • Max reps (up to 25) with :10s rest between reps
    • Women’s Pace - each rep under 12.0s (level 8 beep test pace)
    • Men’s Pace - each rep under 11.0s (level 10 beep test pace)
  • Single Leg Squat Challenge:
    • Counterbalanced Skater-Squat - 5kg/10lb x 60ea leg in a week
  • Upper Body Challenges:
    • Pull Up Iso Hold Challenge – Max time at 90 degrees elbow flexion – beat last week’s time
    • “Perfect” Push Up Challenge – Max reps in :90 seconds; beat last week’s number
  • Jump Rope Challenge:
    • As many contacts (single-unders) as you can in :70s with NO misses - if missed, start over - 10 min. maximum time limit

Week 3 Progression:

  • 40m Out-and-back Shuttle Challenge:
    • Max reps (up to 25) with :10s rest between reps
    • Women’s Pace - each rep under 11.4s (level 9 beep test pace)
    • Men’s Pace - each rep under 10.6s (level 11 beep test pace)
  • Single Leg Squat Challenge:
    • Plate Counterbalanced Single Leg Squat on Box - 5kg/10lbs x 60ea leg in a week 
  • Upper Body Challenges:
    • Pull Up Iso Hold Challenge – Max time at 90 degrees elbow flexion – beat last week’s time
    • “Perfect” Push Up Challenge – Max reps in :90 seconds; beat last week’s number
  • Jump Rope Challenge:
    • As many contacts (single-unders) as you can in :80s with NO misses - if missed, start over - 10 min. maximum time limit

Week 4 Progression:

  • 40m Out-and-back Shuttle Challenge:
    • Max reps (up to 25) with :10s rest between reps
    • Women’s Pace - each rep under 11.0s (level 10 beep test pace)
    • Men’s Pace - each rep under 10.3s (level 12 beep test pace)
  • Single Leg Squat Challenge:
    •  Broom OH Single Leg Squat on Box - x25ea leg in single serving
  • Upper Body Challenges:
    • Pull Up Iso Hold Challenge – Max time at 90 degrees elbow flexion – beat last week’s time, target 150% of Week one
    • “Perfect” Push Up Challenge – Max reps in 90 seconds; beat last week’s number, target 150% of Week one
  • Jump Rope Challenge:
    • As many contacts (single-unders) as you can in :90s with NO misses - if missed, start over - 10 min. maximum time limit

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