Each week, our own fitness fanatics Christina Monteleone and Sabrina Evans will explore the latest workout crazes, diet fads and dish out tips for healthy living. Managing your schoolwork is tough enough- let us take care of your health.
It takes a lot more than mere pride and determination to bring home major bling at the winter Olympics – in order to win gold this year at Sochi, the athletes have dedicated years of their lives to physical training. That’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears, folks.
But while most of us aren’t skilled Olympians, that doesn’t mean we can’t still strive to be athletes. By trying out these Olympic-inspired workouts for yourself, not only will you look great (‘cuz let’s be real – all those athletes look ah-mazing), but you’ll also establish a strong foundation from which to build your future fitness goals.
An intense combination of cross-country skiing and rifle-shooting, the biathlon isn’t for the faint of heart. “What’s unique about the biathlon is you use your entire body,” Olympic competitor Haley Johnson said in Marie Claire.
It’s important that athletes participating in the biathlon have a tight core for balance and preventing back injuries in the long run, but for someone who is seeking the effect of years of biathlon training without ever having to figure out one of those crazy rifle contraptions, practicing regular and side planks is a great way to enhance your stability and core strength.
Olympic skiers make flying down a mountain on two measly planks of wood look effortless, but doing so without hitting a tree in the process is quite another story.
Skiing is all about technique, and that’s why champion skier Julia Mancuso told The Wall Street Journal that doing all her workouts with her boots on “trains my body not to do little compensations like hiking my hips when I make a turn on the ski hill.”
You can keep your body in perfect form by trying out Mancuso’s personal favorite workout, Pilates while wearing sneakers or – if you’re up for the challenge – with a pair of wrap-around ankle weights.
If you’ve ever considered becoming a professional speed skater after successfully completing a lap around an ice rink without face planting, think again. Olympic speed skaters have made a career out of sprinting around the ice at speeds of up to 30+ miles per hour.
To get legs of steel like these athletes, try standing sideways in a skinny squat on the stairs and extend one leg sideways to tap the step below you, doing 10 to 15 reps and then switching to the other side.
Gravity is a cruel mistress for any snowboarder, but pros like Gretchen Bleiler know how to build up resistance to injury while also improving their skills. “Slow-burning stuff builds proper muscles,” says Bleiler in Marie Claire, helping to fend off knee-injuries as well as increase muscle endurance, which is crucial for boarders.
For a slow, steady burn you’ll feel long after the end of your workout, slow your squats and bicep curls to a two-count, or try yoga, which is notorious for creating a build-up of heat in your muscles.
A game of non-stop action, Olympic ice hockey pushes its players to the limits (“limits, cuz we’re in it to win it, in it to win it, OH YEAH!” Sorry… #DisneyChannelthrowback). Olympic U.S. team member Angela Ruggiero told Moms Team she keeps up with a heavy cross-training regimen even in the off-season because the sport is so cardio-intensive.
To get your heart pumping, Ruggiero suggested interval workouts, whether that’s running up flights of stairs, doing sprints on the treadmill, or modifying the resistance on a stationary bike.
With these moves you might be on the way to 2018 winter Olympics yourself! Just remember to thank Valley when you’re at the top.
Photo by Gabby Mannino