Sleddercise: A Simple Exercise Routine for Snowmobiling Fitness
It doesn’t matter what sport you partake in; your fitness levels will always directly correlate with your ability to perform. For snowmobiling in particular, your general fitness not only has a massive impact on your ability to ride, but also the ability of the snowmobile to lug your heavy, flabby butt up the mountain. Keeping your weight down and strength up is the ideal approach to pushing your riding to its full capability. It’s no secret. If a sledder wants to take their riding to the next level, getting healthy and fit is a good place to start.
I asked a Rob Derman—Head Coach for the Australian Olympic Skeleton Team and Certified Personal Trainer—to help develop a simple exercise routine for snowmobiling that will help push your riding further then ever before. Here it is!
Sleddercise: Exercise Routine for Snowmobiling
Self Myofascial Release (SMR) is a warm-up technique designed to ease or eliminate trigger points and knots, while loosening muscles tissue to improve blood flow—which will improve performance and speed up recovery. This will also restore optimal muscle motion and function. A foam roller—a common tool in a gym—is needed for this warm up. If you don’t have access to a foam roller, a tennis ball can be used instead.
Quadriceps, Lats and Calves
When performing SMR movements, the goal is to feel light discomfort but not pain. Once you have found the tightest muscle, pause there and slowly pulse in all directions. You will slowly feel the tightness melt away. Breathe deep and maintain core engagement throughout movement. Hold each pose for 30 seconds
Static Stretch Hip Flexor
This is a movement to strengthen the hip and back area, to reduce pain and lower the risk of injury. The key with the Static Hip Flexor Stretch is to tuck the pelvis underneath and not lean forward excessively. If done properly, you never need to move your knee past your toes. Tuck the pelvis. Perform this stretch once with the left foot forward and once with the right foot forward. Hold for 30 seconds each. Again, breathe deeply and continue to move slowly and deliberately while maintaining core engagement.
Prone Plank, Floor Bridge and Floor Prone Cobra
The purpose of these exercises is to prime the body for movement, and to strengthen the core and back muscles used when snowmobiling. Try not to move fast—these movements should be executed with a slow, deliberate pace.
This circuit follows a 4-2-1 tempo. For those who are unfamiliar with this, it is a 4 second eccentric (muscle lengthening), 2 second concentric (muscle shortening), and 1 second isometric (muscle hold) actions. In other words, 4 seconds down, 2 seconds up, 1 second pause and repeat. Complete 2 sets of 15 repetitions for desired effect.
Squat Jump with Stabilization
Squat jumps are an incredible way to build strength in the lower body. The major muscles used are the quads, hamstrings, glutes, lower back and abs. This sort of explosive movement is such a great way to train for sledding, especially for riders who execute jumps and big drops.
For the movements, watch the knees and lower back when landing. Knees should stay over top of the toes and keep your lower back in a straight line—no arching. Hold the landing for 3 seconds to really get those muscles working. Do 2 sets of 5 reps each with 30 seconds rest between.
Strength training should be an integral part of any workout and this one is no different. The benefits of strength training are numerous and include weight control, muscle gain and bone health. Strength training is also great for reducing inflammation from previous injuries, while helping to stave off future injuries.
This circuit is designed to challenge the body in various planes, utilizing a full range of motion. Ensure you stick to the 4-2-1 temp we used in the earlier circuit. Complete 2 sets of 15 reps for the Squat to Shoulder Press, Ball Dumbbell Chest Press, Standing Cable Row, Single Leg Bicep Curl and the Single Leg Scaption. For the Russian Twist and Medball Shoulder Lunge, complete 2 sets of 8 reps (per side/leg). Once again, maintain a tight core and make slow and deliberate movements.
Squat to Shoulder Press
Ball Dumbbell Chest Press
Standing Cable Row
Single Leg Bicep Curl
Single Leg Scaption
Medball Shoulder Lunge
It is important to not overexert yourself at any point in your workout. This is especially true when you first start out. Push yourself to no more than 65% of your full power. As your strength and mobility grow, you can push your workout intensity to higher levels.
Repeating the warm up is important to solidify any gains in ROM and joint flexibility from the workout. Make sure to be deliberate and purposeful with these movements. It might be the most important portion of the workout for lasting success in the body. Also, be sure to stretch anything tight.
For more snowmobiling fitness advice, check out Fit for Riding by chiropractor and Boondocker rider Anthony Oberti.