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What Bobsled training can teach you

Its more than a fast ride.
Its more than a fast ride.
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

At a glance bobsledding appears to be one of the least physically demanding winter sports. The start is the most important part and requires great strength and power. The first pull of the sled back is very important to achieve the most start speed. This motion loads the body for an explosive push. Latissimus dorsi (the V shaped back muscle) training is very important for generating this initial pull. Exercises are implemented to achieve strengthening in the vertical and horizontal planes. This is typically done with exercises such as chin/pull ups, rowing variation-such as cable standing/seated, bent over barbell/dumbbell. This is a valuable lesson for the average person in a training program. Building a strong upper back with balance out the chest development that is sought after by most people.

Power is the next component of the initial launch. Once the inertia of the resting sled is overcome by the pull back a quick push forward is required. Training for this utilizes Olympic lifts and plyometrics. The snatch and clean variations are used to create explosive hip strength. Having a greater ability to drive from the hips allows for the push that is needed to get the sled moving. Plyometrics augment this training by reducing the time between pull and push. Medicine ball throws and jumping are used to achieve the speed component of training. This sport presents us with an insight to a training philosophy that is applicable to most sports and fitness programs.