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TheraGear Staff
Health and Fitness News Article - TheraGear Article Resource

Train like A Winter Olympic Athlete

Article #123

Legs of a skier, explosiveness of a bobsledder—assemble the best parts of each Olympian into the ultimate winter athlete.

Want to become the perfect athlete? Study the men and women traveling to the Winter Olympics: these competitors dedicated years after years perfecting not only their craft, but also their fitness to perform at the biggest stage on Earth.

But each sport has different demands: speed skaters, for example, blaze past opponents while hockey players pummel each other on ice. What if we could combine the physiques, athleticism, and skills from each sport and build the ultimate winter machine?

Build an Ice Hockey Player's Barrel Chest

Hockey guys need the upper-body power not only to blast slap shots, but also to withstand the tenacity of the game. Hockey players can move in excess of 20mph and collide with each other or the boards. A strong upper-body is the first line of defense. But you’ll never get a huge upper-body with a puny chest workout. The biggest mistake is thinking like a bodybuilder. Size should be a by-product of strength — train to get strong. Focus on basic exercises that use a lot of muscles and drive those numbers up. Hammer your chest with this workout routine that offers a healthy mix of barbell, dumbbell, and bodyweight exercises:

1A: Barbell Bench Press 4 x 8
1B: Weighted Chinups 4 x 8
2A: Alternating Dumbbell Floor Press 3 x 12
2B: Feet-elevated Pushups 3 x 12

Build a Luger's Rock Solid Core

In luge, the midsection ties the body together to work in precision as sliders steer with their feet and shoulders. A strong core can be the difference between a fast time and a dangerous crash. The core also transfers power from the arms to the sled as sliders propel themselves at the start and paddle down the icy ramp.

1A: Ab-Wheel Rollouts 2 x 12
While on both knees, grab an ab-wheel, and push forward. Descend as low as you can, then pull yourself back up. Make sure to keep your arms straight and your hips extended the entire time.

1B: Alligator Walks 2 x 10
Place your feet on a sliding surface or ab-wheel. Start in a pushup position and crawl with your arms locked, while keeping your legs straight and dragging them behind you.

2A: TRX Bodysaw 2 x 10
Lie in a plank with your feet in a TRX suspension trainer. Using your arms, push your body backward as far as you can go then return to the starting position and repeat. Keep your glutes squeezed and lower back flat.

2B: Stability Ball Push-up Hold 2 x 45 seconds
Hold a push-up on a stability ball. Squeeze your glutes and tighten your core. Too easy? Start moving the ball in different, random directions. Still too easy? Lift one leg off the ground.

Build an Alpine Skier's Tree Trunk Legs

To construct those amazing legs, ditch the isolation work and focus on heavy leg exercises like squats and deadlifts that strengthen a lot of muscle groups at once. Also, incorporate single-leg movements to develop balance and stability.

Build a Bobsledder's Explosive Power

Bobsled training focuses on building explosive hips and thighs. Since bobsleds are gravity-powered, it’s difficult to win a race without a very fast start time. Power is needed over the first 5-15 meters to overcome the heavy weight of the sled and accelerate it rapidly.
The training combines heavy strength moves like squats and deadlifts with fast-twitch exercises: Power and speed is developed through Olympic weightlifting movements like the power clean, ballistic exercises like the barbell jump squat, plyometrics, and sprint training.

Develop the Endurance of a Cross Country Skier

Cross-country skiers trek distances as far as 50 kilometers (31 miles) in just over two hours of intense skiing. To survive the journey, they need a tough and resilient aerobic system to supply their muscles with the energy to slog through the snow.

Treadmill Hike
Set your treadmill to the highest grade. Choose a speed that will get your heart rate to 65% of your maximum heart rate.

Spin Bike “Pump”
Find a spin bike and adjust the dial to the highest setting. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you.) Pedal as hard and fast as you can for 3 minutes. Rest for a few minutes. 4 sets.

Farmer’s Walks
Grab two heavy dumbbells. Stand tall and keep your chest up and shoulders pulled back. Walk for 30 yards. Rest as little as you need and repeat. Perform for 15 minutes.

Develop a Speed Skater's Lightning Speed

These guys hit 35 to 45 mph at top speed. Speed skaters also need the force and power to make a pass and the ability to accelerate and decelerate quickly. Top-end speed is closely related to maximal strength.
To increase speed, follow a careful progression: “First is proper body positioning, then use drills to train proper hip, core, and shoulder angles. After do come exercises like sled marches and resisted sprints to develop force and acceleration.

1A: Wall Knee Drives 2 x 5 each side
Wall Knee Drives teach athletes to correctly lean forward while accelerating their legs. Lean forward with your hands on a wall and rapidly drive your knees up and accelerate your feet through the ground.

1B: A-Skips 2 x 20 yards
A-Skips are a skipping drill that trains proper stride mechanics for blazing speed. Stand tall and skip forward. Focus on quick, choppy skips and lifting your knees to your chest. Keep your elbows bent 90-degrees, and drive your feet strong through the ground.

2A: Sled Push (or Treadmill Pushes) 8 x 6 seconds
Load a sled with a light resistance. Sprint and push the sled for 6 seconds. Rest for at least 30 seconds. No sled? No sweat. Jump on a treadmill and, while it’s off, grab the handles and sprint to drive the belt backward. This simulates a sled push and punishes your lungs.

3A: Forward Bounds 3 x 20 yards
Bounds are like sprinting while jumping as hard and as far as you can from one foot to the other. Cover as much ground as you can with each bound.

Develop the Agility of a Champion Snowboarder

Snowboarders not only have strength, but also have masterful balance and flexibility required to twirl in air and carve half-pipes.
But it takes more than just lifting weights to succeed. Train your muscles and develop body awareness by incorporating Animal Flow, a unique bodyweight workout that mimics animal movements and challenges your mobility and stability.

A: Forward-Traveling Beast x 10
Sometimes known as a “forward crawl,” start on all fours with your knees an inch above the ground. Crawl forward by taking a tiny step with your right arm and left leg at the same time, and then another step with your left arm and right leg. Alternate while keeping your hips low and your head up. This fatigues your entire body and really targets your shoulders and core.

B: Side Kickthrough x 6 each side
Now, develop mobility and agility. Start on all fours with your knees an inch above the ground. Lift your right arm and left leg at the same time, swing your left leg underneath you and kick out to your right while keeping your right hand near your right ear. Switch sides.

C: Forward-Traveling Crab x 10
Start in the “crab position:” hands and feet flat on the ground, chest facing up, knees bent, hips an inch from the ground, arms straight, hands directly underneath your shoulders, and fingers pointing behind you. Crawl forward by taking a tiny step with your right arm and left leg at the same time, and then another step with your left arm and right leg. Alternate while keeping your hips low and your chest up.

D: Crab Reach x 6 each side
From the crab position, push your hips as high as possible while reaching one arm over and behind your head. Repeat on the other side. This opens all the muscles in the front of your body while engaging your hips and back.

E: Underswitches x 6 each side
From the crab position, lift your right arm and left leg at the same time, pull your left leg underneath you, while rotating your body over the leg and reaching over to your left with your right hand. Land on all fours. Switch sides.