One thing I have learned about snowmobiling is “If you don’t get stuck, you’re not snowmobiling.” Or at least that’s what the good riders tell you to make you feel better when the only thing left of your sled are the ski loops sticking out of the snow. Don’t get me wrong, the good and great snowmobilers get stuck too, they’ve just had more practice getting unstuck.
As popularity of snowmobiling increased, so did the number of back and shoulder injuries. These injuries can often be easily avoided by doing a strengthening workout routine prior to the riding season.
I know, you have no time for a gym and they are expensive? You are busy, I get it. Do you have time for a doc? Probably not. Now you have no excuses, the workout below can be done at home, in the garage or a shop, no weights needed. It consists of simple strengthening upper body and full body moves that target essential muscle groups used in snowmobiling. Pick 4 exercises from the list below and do 4 sets of 10-12 reps. The beauty of this routine is its simple, quick, and it can be adjusted to any fitness level. As you get stronger, you can add another exercise to the routine and/or another rep, if you want.
Basic Pushup – The push up may just be a perfect total body exercise that builds both upper body and core strength both vital in snowmobiling. If done correctly, this compound exercise uses muscles in the chest, shoulders, triceps, back, abs and even the legs. To begin, get on the floor and position your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Placing your shoulders directly in line with your wrists. Raise-up onto your toes so you are balanced on your hands and toes. Keep your body in a straight line from head to toe without sagging in the middle or arching your back.
Wide Pushup – Do a standard pushup, but with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart.
Diamond Pushup – Do a pushup with your hands close enough for the tips of your thumbs and index fingers to touch, forming a diamond shape.
Spiderman Pushups – While performing a pushup, when in down position raise your right foot and bring your right knee towards your right elbow. As you push back up, bring your leg back to starting position and repeat on the other side. Try keeping you back straight, no arching.
Plyometric Pushups – Perform a powerful pushup and catch air. You may clap in the air if you wish. This is a fast and continuous movement using maximum momentum. Variations: Incline Plyometric Pushups. Where you elevate your feet by placing them on a sturdy object (like a step of a stair or running boards of a sled).
T-Pushup – Start off in the pushup position, only this time explode up and turn to one side. Your feet should go from balancing on the toes to balancing on the sides (one in front of the other not stacked). Raise one arm up, creating a sideways T-shape with your body. Since the majority of your weight will be on one arm, you’ll realize how important it is to have your wrist and arm directly in alignment with your shoulder.
Alternating Front Punch Pushup – Start in a pushup position. Bend elbows and drop into a pushup. Press up, straightening arms back to starting position. Punch forward with one arm overhead. Alternate arms after each pushup.
Shuffle or Moving Pushup – Start in pushup position. Move your right hand to the left until your two hands are next to each other, your feet mimicking your arms. Now step your right hand and your right foot at the same time to the side, until your hands and feet are at least shoulder-width apart or wider. Do a pushup, comeback to the center and repeat the process, this time moving to the left and doing another pushup. That’s 1 rep.
Burpee - Squat on the ground and have your hands flat on the floor in front of you. Shift your body weight to the hands and kick your feet back to the floor, resulting in the pushup position. Retract your feet and revert back into the squat position like before. Then jump straight up from the squatting position, making sure you leap as high as you can with your hands in the air. Land and repeat.
Triceps Dips – To do dips you will need to use a bench or chair (snowmobile tunnel!). Sit on the bench, hold on to its edge with your hands fully extended, separated at shoulder width. With your legs extended forward, bend at the waist and move your hips off the bench fully supporting your torso with your shoulders. This will be your starting position. Slowly lower your body by bending at the elbows until you lower yourself far enough to where there is an angle slightly smaller than 90 degrees between the upper arm and the forearm. Tip: Keep the elbows as close as possible throughout the movement. Using your triceps to bring your torso up again, lift yourself back to the starting position. Variations: You can place your legs on top of another bench or a sled tunnel in front of you in order to make the exercise more challenging. If that variation also becomes easy, then you can place weights on top of your lap.
Ride safe, ride smart, ride often, rider to ride another day!