Amp Up Your Workout with These Winter Extreme Sports
The key to keeping on top of your fitness routine is to shake things up. Sure, you want to take care of your wellbeing and find activities that work for you, but if you don’t want to throw in the towel, you need to make sure your workout is exciting as hell. Therefore, we’ve rounded up some of the biggest names in extreme winter sports, to hear what they have to say about their workout routines, and how you can connect with your inner winter Olympian!
1. Snowboarding: According to Gretchen Bleiler, the 2006 Olympic half-pipe silver medalist and 2008 X Games half-pipe gold-medal winner, ‘I push myself so I can be a role model and show women they can do it. When I started, there weren’t a lot of women snowboarders, but now, guys and girls train and travel together — snowboarding is a small and supportive community.’ If you’ve never even looked at a snowboard, let alone ridden one, Bleiler warns, ‘the first two days are tough — you’ll fall a lot.’ Don’t give up, but give yourself a week to adapt and ‘absolutely take a lesson,’ Bleiler advises. ‘There are simple things a coach can tell you that a friend won’t know.’ If you’re serious about snowboard, leg workouts are vital for preventing knee injuries. Bleiler does single-leg dead lifts with a 20-pound barbell to fire up her hamstrings, glutes, and back, as she points out ‘Slow-burning stuff builds proper muscles.’ She adds, ‘Snowboarders need explosive power. Quick sprints up stairs mimic an explosive half-pipe run.’
2. Short Track Speed Skating: For this sport, you sprint-skate an oval track at up to 30-plus miles per hour, hoping you don’t cause a dangerous collision while jockeying for position. Three-time US Champion Katherine Reutter details, ‘When your technique is spot-on and you’re going top speed, you feel absolutely out of control. You can’t think about a track pattern or who’s behind you; all you can think about is how you’re going to stay on your feet. It’s exhilarating.’ If you’re comfortable on rollerblades and have a need for speed, you can download technique instructions at usspeedskating.org. If you want the endurance routine of speed skating without the actual speed skating, Reutter’s dry-land endurance routine mimics on-ice relays: 15-second sprint, 45-second jog; and repeat for 30 minutes total.
3. Ice Hockey: Angela Ruggiero, who has 1998 Olympic gold, 2002 Olympic silver, and 2006 Olympic bronze medals, says she has been keeping up with the boys since she was a kid. ‘At a young age, I realised that people didn’t want me on the ice because I was a girl,’ she recalls. ‘And it actually motivated me to go out there and prove myself.’ If you’re worried about getting hurt, all the padding means you don’t feel the falls. Plus, as the penalties don’t allow for fighting, ‘you shouldn’t worry about losing your teeth like you see in the NHL,’ says Ruggiero. To get in shape, Ruggiero does interval training on the treadmill to teach her system how to recover after intense play, as during a game ‘you’re constantly sprinting and resting, and you can’t be dead at the end of the third period.’ For her workout, she sprints as hard as she can on the highest incline possible for 30 to 45 seconds, jumps off for a minute, and jumps back on. ‘I’ll do eight to 10 sprints,’ she notes. #It’s such a good workout, and it only takes 15 to 20 minutes. The cool thing is that when you’re done, your body is still working, unlike after a 15-minute steady jog.’
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