If the sight of the 2014 Winter Olympics inspired you to learn a new sport, you need to take three important steps:
- Take lessons in your sport of choice
- Understand which muscle groups the sport engages
- Begin a sport specific training program, and continue it throughout the summer and fall
Number 2 holds particular importance, because, as Business Insider senior health reporter Lauren F. Friedman notes:
While everyone can see which muscles Olympic weight lifters and sprinters are using, the winter sports are a bit more mysterious.
Successful winter sport training depends upon your ability to sense the obvious, and not so obvious muscle movement patterns, and use them to your advantage. Since you came to a ski shipping website, let’s start with the muscle groups used in skiing.
Skiing Muscle Skills and Harmony
The Professional Ski Instructors Dissociation identifies four primary skiing movements, including:
- Balancing or aligning your center of gravity over your base of support
- Edging, or tipping your skis onto their edges
- Pressure, or shifting your weight toward the edged ski
- Rotation, or steering your skis to carve the turn
Your core muscles, or deeper abdominal muscles, help you maintain your balance, while the muscles of your feet, ankles and lower leg initiate the turn. Only after you engage these muscles, do your hamstrings, glutes and quads assist in flexing and extending your legs. The takeaway: Special balance and lower leg exercises will enhance your ski skills.
Snowboarding: Mastering the Tricks
Skiing and snowboarding use similar muscle groups, but in different movement patterns. The use of the upper body constitutes a major difference between the two sports. While skiers are told to maintain a “quiet upper body,” in order to explode out of the start gate, snowboarders use arm and shoulder strength. Olympic snowboarder Seth Wescott told Today.com:
For my sport, you can set yourself up for victory by your start, so lat strength, arm strength and shoulder strength is huge.
Cross Country Skiing
In addition to the muscle groups used in skiing and snowboarding, cross-country skiing relies on powerful shoulders and triceps. U.S Olympian Kris Freeman, speaking to Men’s Fitness, notes, “It’s one of the most demanding cardio sports in the world.” Supplement year training with a year-round aerobic exercise program.
Bobsledders, who take the starting push from zero to 90 miles per hour, require enormous amounts of speed and power. “It’s mostly legwork,” advises Army Capt. Chris Fogt, a member of the U.S. bobsled team competing in Sochi., to. As such, they perform lots of squats, power cleans, jump squats, box jumps, and lunges. Upper body focus is minimal.
“If you have huge massive shoulders and a big chest, the wind is hitting you and the sled is slowing down,” Fogt explains, which is why bobsledders “don’t do a whole lot of curls, shoulder type work, biceps or chest.”