With the 2018 Winter Olympics quickly approaching, why not use our athletes’ sheer dedication to kick our training regimens up a notch with some wintry workouts? Whether you’re knee deep in a tried-and-true program or just testing out a new sweat routine, introducing a few new moves can offer enjoyable variety.
If you feel like you’re trudging along through the cold and dreary months uninspired, call on the multitude of elite athletes coming together in South Korea on Feb. 8 for a boost of inspiration.
Take a few notes from the athletes.
As the greatest athletes in the world, individuals competing in the Olympics devote themselves to meticulous training regimens to prepare their bodies for the 16 days of grueling competition, and as kinesthetic masters, they know every movement serves a specific purpose.
While we may never achieve their elite status, taking a look at the typical protocols of some of the most inspirational women headed to the winter games can still offer valuable tips and tricks.
If you aren’t familiar with this Maine native already, allow us to introduce you. Clare Egan is a 30-year-old biathlete who has been competing since early 2013. After being on both the 2015 and 2016 World Championship teams, she’ll now be joining the 2018 Olympic team in February. Biathlons combine cross-country skiing with rifle shooting for the ultimate test of coordination and agility.
Clare’s typical training frequency is six days a week for 11 months of the year with the following split: 38 percent basic training, 38 percent recovery training, 12 percent sessions without an explicit training benefit, 5 percent longer basic training (i.e. endurance), and 7 percent other. The majority of her training includes freestyle cross-country skiing, followed by freestyle roller skiing, running, and cycling.
Obviously her training focus is predominantly endurance, stamina, and lower body power. Biathletes are required to quickly shift from high-intensity efforts to calm focus as they cycle between skiing and shooting. Intensive target practice and breath work are crucial pillars in their training protocol as biathletes improve their shooting accuracy while mastering their breath.
Want to train like Clare? Hop into the gym for an upbeat spin class and followed immediately by a restorative yoga flow. The change in heart rate will help condition your body to reach recovery with greater speed, while each mode of exercise continues to offer you its wide array of benefits.
Maame Biney is another name we’re happy to see gracing the Olympic roster. This 17-year-old Virginian will be competing in short track speedskating. First stepping onto the ice at age 6, she quickly learned that she flew around the rink far too fast to be a figure skater, and thus began her love affair with speed. Biney is the first African American woman to qualify for the U.S. Olympic speedskating team with two victories in the 500-meters. The Ghana native will join Shani Davis, male long track speedskater, as the second African American on the team. If you need a dose of contagious positivity, look no further: Biney is a refreshing and down-to-earth young woman whose passion simply radiates.
Speedskating tends to look fairly similar to roller derby, but on ice! Competing on a short track requires power, balance, and grace as athletes round a very small rink at their highest speeds. Competitors train both on and off the ice for comprehensive preparation. Endurance and power drills are combined in programs tailored to produce the most efficient skillset.
The former may involve cycling and running, while the latter type of drill may focus on squats, lunges, and plyometrics. Similar to Egan’s regimen, speedskaters maintain a lower body emphasis throughout their training.
Bring it home!
If you want to get moving in a way that’s sure to make our Olympians proud, try out a few of these spins on popular events!
You may be familiar with these after a few drop-ins at your local CrossFit box. The twist? You’ll be sprinting through the freshest powder, crouching and pushing your kids’ favorite bobsled in front of you. Incorporate a few intervals for a fat-scorching HIIT session. Shoot for 30 seconds of sprinting, followed by 45 to 60 seconds of walking. Say hello to a full-body burn as you push against the natural resistance in a bear-crawl position.
Who doesn’t love dancing through a few figure eights when the weather outside has dropped below freezing? Well, for a leg-toning, heart rate–ramping workout, try adding in a few cones. A few of our favorite drills are suicide sprints, crossovers, and ice hockey stops!
No snow? No problem. There are still plenty of ways to get in an Olympics-themed workout! If you’re basking in warmer weather, lace up your roller blades and hit the streets or your local indoor rink for the same drills!
You may not be able to hit the slopes for the same snowboarding action you’ll see on the screens, but an Indo Board can offer you a decent simulation! Combining it with an at-home bodyweight circuit is one sure way to get your legs and core fired up, while still honing in on strategic balance.
Who knows, mastering the Indo may bring you one step closer to grasping those S-turns when the time comes to strap on an actual snowboard!
New Events to Watch Out for This Year
In June 2015, the International Olympic Committee announced the addition of four new events to the 2018 Winter Olympics. This year, there will be female and male competitions in big air snowboarding, team alpine skiing, mass start speedskating, and mixed doubles in curling. These changes were implemented in part to boost the Winter Olympics’ value by enhancing youth appeal and gender equality. Let’s take a look at what we can expect to see in each new event:
Big Air Snowboarding
Athletes will tear down ramps (also known as kickers), reaching up to 160 feet and boasting slope angles of 40 degrees. Gaining maximum speed, they’ll launch themselves into the air and perform various flips and spins. Each athlete will try to complete as many successful jumps as possible in the allotted time frame.
“The event is credited with helping the guys take massive steps in their own riding over the past decade, but has worn a ‘no girls allowed’ sign since the early 2000s,” reports Sports Illustrated. In 2018, we can look forward to the women taking back their power by blustery storm.
Team Alpine Skiing
Mixed-gender teams will compete against each other in slalom races. Each country will have two women and two men assigned to their team. The athletes will race a parallel slalom in head-to-head fashion in a best-of-four competition. As seen in the Fédération Internationale de Ski—or FIS—2005 World Championships, 16 teams will compete in a knockout format over four rounds.
Speed Skating Mass Start
First introduced in the 2011-2012 World Cup circuit, the speed skating mass start event will entail all skaters beginning a 16-lap race simultaneously. The first three competitors to finish the race will receive medals, but all remaining skaters will be ranked based on points awarded during four intra-race sprints rather than finishing placement.
Mixed Doubles Curling
As the name suggests, mixed doubles curling will have national teams consisting of one woman and one man playing against each other. Each team will play with only six stones and eight ends, as opposed to the traditional eight stones and ten ends.
A few small changes, a few major changes, and plenty of excitement that can inspire your workouts: ready to cheer our athletes (and yourself) on?