We all know that the first rides of the season take a physical toll on our bodies, unless of course you are a pro rider and have the luxury of riding eight months out of the year.
That toll on your body is due to the many weekend BBQs and lack of physical conditioning.
There is a way to combat those draining days of fresh deep powder and increase your riding ability to boot.
If you think about it, hitting the gym in the pre-season is standard protocol for all sports, so why not sledding? If you’re serious about the sport, which I know you all are, then you should be serious about your pre-season training.
October is the best time to prep for winter, trick or treat, maybe get that trophy buck, and … train for the upcoming snowmobile season. For most of you that last activity probably doesn’t fit into your fall schedule, but you’ll learn that being in optimal physical condition makes our sport a heck of a lot more fun.
You will want to consider starting your training regimen approximately one or two months before you plan on first riding. This will give you sufficient time to prepare your muscles for the super deep powder days. Building and strengthening muscle is no small feat as it takes a certain level of dedication, but the rewards are immense. Your overall physical condition will improve not only your riding skills, but your day-to-day life.
I’ve heard that it takes about 15 muscles to smile. Now imagine how many you use when maneuvering your sled through a tight tree line. This regimen is heavily based on upper body strength training, but also consists of some lower body and cardio training.
I designed this workout as a circuit type training program. It will get your heart pumping and have you done in just over an hour.
This routine targets the muscles that get the most use when snowmobiling: shoulders/ forearms, back, lower body and abs. These circuits are done by completing a series of six lifts of the same muscle group at 10 repetitions (reps) one after the other with no rest.
After completing all six lifts (1 cycle) you rest for 90 seconds then repeat the lifts again for a total of 4 cycles through the circuit.
The cardio consists of a treadmill slow walk, 1.5 to 2.5 mph, at maximum incline for 40 minutes. This will get those calves in shape for the days you find yourself having to trek uphill to dig out your buddy.
The cardio will be done every day you lift, either before or after your weight training, while the specific muscle targets are done one per day. You will want to plan on three days a week for your pre-season routine. For example, if you plan on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, your workout would look like this:
Monday you will choose four of the shoulder lifts, one forearm lift and one abs plus cardio. You can do cardio either before or after your circuit training.
Wednesday you will do the five lower body lifts and one abs plus cardio.
Friday you will choose four of the back lifts, one forearm lift and one abs plus cardio. Repeat each week for two months, increasing weight as needed to keep up resistance. If you’re not fatigued at the end of each circuit either increase weight or increase reps.
To get started you will select the lifts for the particular muscle group you are lifting for that day from below. If you need help with understanding the dynamics or techniques of each lift, shapeFit.com offers a superb site for explanation. If you search for each lift below (spelled exactly the same) at shapefit.com, it will be the first search link in the list.
Shoulders – Upright barbell row. Dumbbell lateral raise. Bent over lateral raise. Dumbbell shrugs. Barbell front raises. Seated military press.
Forearms – Palms down wrist curls. Palms up wrist curls. Barbell wrist curls behind the back.
Back – Seated cable rows (wide grip). Single arm dumbbell row. Pullups. Wide grip pulldowns. Reverse grip bent over rows.
Lower body – Dumbbell squats. Dumbbell side lunges. Dumbbell rear lunges. Dumbbell step ups. Dumbbell calf raises.
Abs – Abdominal crunch. Flat bench abdominal leg pull in. Flat bench abdominal leg raises. Lying reverse crunch.
(Primm, who owns and rides a 2007 Ski-Doo Rev 800R, lives in Utah and has been weight training for 10 years. He developed this routine based on the muscles that were the most sore after the first couple of days of hard riding two years ago. He said, “I figure since I’ve learned a fair amount of my technique from SnoWest, I would give something back.” Of course, you should consult a physician before starting any exercise program. Primm can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)