Tag Archives: strength

Getting to the Core of the Winter Olympics

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The more medals that are won at the Sochi Winter Olympics, the more medal winners come out of the closet and admit a dark secret: they regularly practise Pilates. From medal winners Kaetlyn Osmond to Julia Mancuso, it’s becoming very apparent that core exercises in general and Pilates in particular form a vital part of the athlete’s training. As a Pilates presenter and snowboarder myself, I know from personal experience just how true this is. But why is Pilates so relevant for alpine sports?

Skiing and snowboarding bring their own special demands on the body (check out http://www.skicorestrength.comfor more). If these demands are not adequately considered, then the skier or boarder, whatever their level, will reduce their performance potential, and thus reduce their success and enjoyment. By carrying out a specific Pilates training program, benefits can be gained such as:

·               Improved endurance, so ski and board for longer

·               Improved strength in the appropriate muscles

·               Improved flexibility and agility

·               Improved balance and control

·               A reduction in the risk of injury by strengthening areas such as the lower back and knee joints and muscles.

The fundamental skills needed to ski or board successfully are balance, rotary movements, edging movements, and pressure control. Most muscles of the lower body are used, as are the abdominal muscles and some upper body muscles. A planned training program carried out during the off-season can make dramatic improvements. Also, warm-up and warm-down routines can help before and after skiing and boarding.

In order to complete a turn, there must be adequate strength in the core, buttocks, lower back and legs. Flexibility is needed, especially in the hips. Pilates gives all of these things. Skiing and boarding places great demands on the lower body, which can lead to overuse injuries. The most obvious place for such injuries is the legs, and especially the thighs. It is not so obvious that the core has a vital role to play in keeping the body upright and balanced, and enabling the hips to turn.

The shoulders and back can also become fatigued, and are prone to falling injuries. Such injuries can be reduced by strengthening these areas. This also applies to hand and wrist injuries, which can again be reduced by strengthening the forearm and wrist.

I will be hitting the slopes of the Spanish Pyrenees this weekend, and whilst I will never have the ability or talent to snowboard for team GB, as a Pilates and functional trainer presenter, I know that my body is giving me the best possible chance to enjoy the mountain experience. If there was a competition for drinking Hot Chocolate, then I would definitely be in with a shout!

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Reverse Woodchop: Chris Hunt

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In the latest of my series of snap videos shot in location at La Molina, here is nice way to use your snowboard to get your obliques and your quadriceps warmed up for Snowboarding.

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Reverse woodchop is an exercise you have probably seen in the gym. There are many ways you can perform it using cables or weights (my favourite is using TRX). The rotation and lift builds a connection between your upper and lower body that is ideal for boarding or skiing, and it also strengthens the core.

If you want to know more about how Pilates can help your snowboarding or skiing then click on www.skicorestrength.com

 

 

Extreme TRX Training

Chris Hunt Fitness TRX 2

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Here I am using TRX to do an extreme chest push-up completely suspended off the ground.

if you have not yet used TRX, you should give it a go. It’s excellent for all Fitness Levels because it so versatile. It will help build functional strength, but will also help you improve anaerobic cardiovascular endurance. You have the choice to perform any exercise at a rapid pace or with a slow and controlled motion. Of course, the faster you go, the greater cardio training potential you will have. There are literally hundreds of different variations of exercises you can use to target every muscle of the body, and it’s really portable.

Suspension training is an excellent way to improve muscle imbalances primarily because of the amount of balance you must have to perform any of these exercise. Because of the constant instability, your body will perform as single unit to maintain the necessary balance. Many training injuries are a direct results of muscular imbalances throughout the body. As previously mentioned, TRX will help correct such imbalances, and can be a great tool for people who are recovering some injury.

Chris TRX

From my perspective as a Pilates presenter I love the way that TRX is an extremely attractive training technique because of its ability to active the core. This is due to the constant instability that the straps provide. You must be able to balance and keep your core tight throughout every movement. TRX can strengthen all muscles of the core including the rectus abdominis (front of abs), transverse abdominis (sides of abs), and lower back.

bodyFUNC

All TRX exercises are very low-impact and are excellent for people looking to give their joints a break. This is especially true for runners who tend to get overuse injuries due to repetitive movements. You don’t need to worry about being crushed by heavy weights because the only resistance you use is your own body.

Most of all for me this is a really fun way to train indoors our outside. Give it a try. Let me know if you want any more information or tips, I am here to help.

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