As you watch the world's finest winter athletes freeze their giblets off from your warm and cozy couches, you may ask: what types of workouts do these gladiators do in preparation for the Winter Olympics?
While I could easily fill a book with the exact training protocols involved in each of the Winter Olympics sports, there are some basics that you can incorporate into your own personal Olympic training push. As you will find out, despite the uniqueness of these sports (bobsleighing, anyone?) the preparation and training often seems all too familiar.
Types of Winter Olympic Sports
The individual sports that are included at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang are basically the same as previous years, at least during my lifetime. In fact, the list of sports has not changed at all since the Skeleton event was added back in 2002.
There are 15 sports in the Winter Olympics, organized into three main categories: Ice Sports, Alpine (skiing and snowboarding events), and Nordic Events. In each of the categories there are the following specific events.
Olympic Ice Sports
- Bobsleigh (Two-man, Two-woman, and Four-man)
- Luge (Men's singles, Women's singles, Doubles, Team relay)
- Skeleton (Women’s and Men’s)
- Ice Hockey (Women’s and Men’s)
- Figure Skating (Individual men, Individual Women, Ice Dancing, Pairs)
- Speed Skating (Women’s and Men’s: 500 metres, 1000 metres, 1500 metres, 5000 metres, 10000 metres, Mass start, Team pursuit)
- Short Track Speed Skating (Women’s and Men’s: 500 metres, 1000 metres, 1500 metres, 5000 metres)
- Curling (Women’s and Men’s)
Olympic Alpine, Skiing, and Snowboarding Events
- Alpine Skiing (Women’s and Men’s: Downhill, Super G, Giant slalom, Slalom, Super Combined, team event)
- Freestyle Skiing (Women’s and Men’s: Aerials, Halfpipe, Moguls, Slopestyle, Ski cross)
- Snowboarding (Men’s and Women’s: Parallel giant slalom, Halfpipe, Big Air, Slopestyle, Snowboard Cross)
Olympic Nordic Events
- Biathlon (individual, sprint, pursuit, mass start & relay events)
- Cross-Country Skiing (individual and team sprint, freestyle, pursuit, classical, and relays)
- Ski Jumping (Normal hill individual, Large hill individual, Large hill team, Women's)
- Nordic Combined (Individual large hill/10 km, Individual normal hill/10 km, Team large hill/4 x 5 km)
Although the Winter Olympics only come around once every four years and obviously only take place in the winter, Olympic athletes train all year-round for this moment in the world spotlight. As you can guess from the list I just gave you, the sports in the Winter Olympics are as varied as you can get, but still, many Olympic athletes use common training techniques, just like us mortals, in preparation for their chosen sport.
Let’s look at a few Winter Olympic sports and the workouts that many Olympic hopefuls use in their training that you could (or already do) incorporate into your fitness routine.
Olympic Ice Sports Workouts
Training for the Bobsled and Luge requires power for the massive push-off start and a strong core control for driving the sled.
Training for the Bobsled, Skeleton, and Luge requires power for the massive push-off start as well as strong core control for driving the sled or steering a luge along the fastest tangent line (which ensures the shortest distance is being travelled). Get yourself ready to carve up the ice by working your core and power with these moves.
Ab Wheel Roll Out
From on your knees, take the ab-wheel and roll forward (get as low as you can) and then roll yourself back up on to your knees. Keep your arms straight and your hips extended.
With your feet on a reasonably slidey surface (or an ab-wheel) start in a pushup position and crawl with your arms locked. Keep your legs straight and drag them behind you.
Stability Ball Push-up
Get into a push-up position with your hands on a stability ball. Engage your glutes and core and do a push-up. For a harder variation, try lifting one leg off the ground.
Stability Ball Pike
Get into a plank position with your shins on the stability ball this time. Using your arms and core, push your butt into the air and roll the ball on to your feet. Then return to the starting position and repeat.