How to Get Fit Like a Winter Olympian (Part 2)

In Part 2 of Get-Fit Guy's Winter Olympics series, you’ll learn how to get the legs of a ski jumper, the abs of a snowboarder, and the fitness of a hockey player.

Ben Greenfield
4-minute read
Episode #175


You may not be able to make it to Sochi this winter, but you can definitely experience some of the full body fitness of a winter Olympian!.

In Part 1 of this series, you learned how to get the balance of an ice dancer, the speed of a slalom skier, and the butt of a bobsledder. In this next part, you’ll learn how to get the legs of a ski jumper, the core of a snowboarder, and the fitness of a hockey player.

How to Get the Legs of a Ski Jumper

In the episode The Best Exercises for 7 Popular Trouble Spots (Part 1), you learned 4 excellent exercises for getting amazing glutes, hips, and thighs, including:

  1. Prone bent leg hip extension against manual resistance. 

  2. Standing butt squeezes with a wide stance and feet turned out.

  3. The deadlift.

  4. The glute-ham-raise (low back extension machine)

For more details on those exercises, check out that episode. But there’s one more exercise that is essential to building the strong legs an Olympic ski jumper needs to nail those landings: the Romanian Deadlift (which I also talk about in How to Get Legs Like Lance Armstrong).

To do this move, start by standing with legs apart shoulder-width apart, and a weight in either hand, or a barbell on your back, or a kettlebell or medicine ball held to your chest. Then hinge at your hips with a very slight bend in your knees until you feel a moderate stretch in your hamstrings on the back or your legs. Take care to avoid rounding your back, which is best accomplished by looking up or slightly forward. Then squeeze your butt, contract your hamstrings, and return to a full standing. Try doing 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps the next time you’re at the gym (and prepare for the back of your legs to feel a serious burn!).

How to Get the Core of a Snowboarder

Of all the Winter Olympics sports, snowboarding is the one activity that I’ve done the most. Heck, I was actually just up on the slopes for nearly the entire day yesterday – and my entire core is re-living the experience now.

If you’ve never been on a snowboard before, you’d be surprised at the enormous amount of torque placed on the midsection every time you execute a turn. Probably the closest activity is surfing (a good analogy for you snowbirds who have never had a chance to strap a snowboard to your feet).

In the episode What Is Your Core, Anyway? I lay down a good foundation for understanding how to work every part of your abs, including your obliques (the sides of your abs), your rectus abdominus (the front of your abs), your transversus abdominis (your lower, “deep” abs) and just as importantly, your low back. These are all core elements of…your core!

Snowboarding requires a powerful torso and you need a strong core to support it. To build up your abs, I haven’t found a better exercise than the versatile Cable Torso Twists. These can be done at the gym on a cable apparatus or at home with an elastic band. You simply stand and hold onto the cable or band at arm’s length, then turn your entire body as you pull the weight across your body and to the opposite side.

I like to think of my bellybutton as a gun turret for this exercise, following my direction as I turn powerfully through the full range of motion. Don’t ask me where I got the whole gun turret thing. Probably too many games of Battleship as a kid.


About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.