Everyone loves the Winter Olympics. Every time the games come around, hundreds upon hundreds of athletes from around the world come to compete for those coveted medals. Thanks to television and the internet, everyone can see their incredible feats of strength, speed and pure athleticism, but what most people don’t see is the intense training the Olympians go through to earn their place at the games. Today, we’ll be taking a look at the crazy training regiments of three of the Winter Olympics’ coolest sports!
Bobsledding may not seem like it requires any major feats of strength (I mean, you’re basically sledding on a track, right?), but believe it or not, these athletes are pushed to their physical limits in preparing for this event. The most important part of a bobsledding race is the five or so seconds when the racers are pushing their 500lb sled down the track before leaping in, and as such, strength training is a must. Several sets of 30 second sprints are used to help build up strength and endurance. Several minute rests between each sprint is critical for recovery.
Squats are an important element of a bobsledder’s training regimen since it builds strength in the legs and helps to get the crucial start at speed. Squats also help to build muscles in the lower back which are engaged when pushing the sled. The hips are also important in getting that heavy sled started. Weight lifting is an important tool to help keep those muscles strong and engaged, and power “clean” lifts and “clean and jerk” lifts are common to work out these muscles.
Figure Skating is without a doubt one of the most spectacular events at the Winter Olympics. This fan favorite combines style, strength and showmanship in one spectacular package, and it should come as no surprise that these athletes work their butts off to train for this popular event.
Cardio is crucial in figure skating, and naturally figure skaters do a whole lot of it. Jumping jacks are especially useful, as they target the legs and core, as well as being great for your heart and lungs. Lots of leg work is required and lunges and weighted squats are some of the most common ways of building these muscles. Skaters also have the extra component of choreography. Skaters spend hours each day of training to create, execute and perfect that incredible routine.
Another phenomenally popular Olympic event, alpine skiing combines speed, agility and strength in one exciting, fast paced event. Coordination and balance are also critical, so Olympic skiers factor these elements into their training in unique ways. Light cardio exercises help keep muscles warm and ready for the intense workouts that follow.
Since skiing is so heavily reliant on the lower body, working out the legs and core are obviously important. Skiers tend to be squatted for most of their run, so it makes sense that squats would be a major part of their workout regimen. From regular squats to heavy weighted squats, these simple workouts are simple but crucial in preparing Olympian legs for the intense strain of alpine skiing. In addition to squats, interval sprints, rowing machines and even pushing weighted sleds (just like the bobsledders!) are all part of building up the muscles needed to get the gold!
Skiers’ balance training is no joke either. Some athletes spend upwards of an hour each day just working on balance training. US Olympian Mikaela Shiffrin has several videos on her Instagram detailing this process including walking on a slackline, walking backwards across dumbbells and even juggling while walking a balance beam. This sounds like absolute insanity, but it’s what it takes to be the best in the world!
- Chai, Carmen. “Train like an Olympian: Figure Skater Meagan Duhamel.” Global News, 12 Feb.
- “Figure Skating Workout.” 24 Hour Fitness: Figure Skating Workout.
- “Power and Ice: The Training Routine of the U.S. Olympic Bobsled Team.” BarBend, 1 Feb. 2018.
- Prinzivalli, Leah. “6 Training Habits of Olympic Alpine Skier Mikaela Shiffrin.” SELF, 15 Feb. 2018.