Navigation follows, skip to content? New England Baptist Hospital Logo Utility navigation follows, skip to content? Primary navigation follows, skip to content?

Life in Motion

What does it take to be a winter athlete? Q & A with NEBH Sports Performance Center Athletic Trainer

Olympics, Sports & Exercise

With the Olympics kicking off this weekend, we were curious: What are some challenges of training for a winter sport? And what can the average athlete take away from the way Olympians train? We asked these questions and more to Bryan Truscott, LAT, ATC, CSCS, Athletic Trainer in the NEBH Sports Performance Center.

What are some of the challenges of training an athlete for a winter sport?

There a few unique challenges athletes face when they are training for a winter sport. I feel that one of the biggest challenges is how to properly train and prepare for their sport. If you look at most winter sports, they usually have some sort of footwear strapped to their feet (ski or snowboard boots, ice skates, etc.), and involve a lot of lateral motion to propel them forward. We tend to see an increase in hip injuries in our winter athletes as the skiing and skating season progresses. The one common theme we find when we look at these athletes’ training programs is a real lack of focus on lateral and rotational movements for their lower body and trunk. They tend to train in just one motion, straight ahead, and perform too many machine based exercises. Training should target the specific demands of each sport while also building universal body movement skills that are required in every sport.

What is one thing that winter athletes of all sports have in common?

Most winter sports are played in cold conditions. Think about it: skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, hockey and figure skating are all either played outside or in a cold rink. Two major things winter athletes need to consider while working out is proper hydration and appropriate clothing.

Winter athletes can be especially susceptible to dehydration because they may not feel like they are sweating during their workouts. However, their bodies work extremely hard in cold conditions, so it is important to drink plenty of fluids. A good rule of thumb is to drink 4-6 ounces of water or sports drink every 15 to 20 minutes during a work out.

Winter athletes should dress in layered, breathable clothing so that they can stay warm during the day, but are not too hot causing excessive sweat. Excessive sweat can actually conduct the cold temperatures to your body and may lead to hypothermia or frost bite, especially in the feet and hands.

Olympic athletes are no doubt training all year long. When should a casual skier, hockey player or other winter athlete begin training for the season?

While it would be a luxury to be able to train year round, in reality most of us do not have the time to do this. In order to truly get ready for your winter sport, your sport specific strength and conditioning should begin 6-8 weeks prior to the start of your season.

What can the average athlete take away from the way Olympians train?

Olympic athletes are considered to be the very best in their sport. Their genetic makeup and years of dedication and training help them reach their peak performance in their sport. We all can reach our individual peak performance if we properly train our bodies to meet the specific demands of our sport.

Any other advice for winter athletes?

You will get so much more enjoyment out of whatever sport you participate in if you are in proper condition for it. Participating in a sport specific strength and conditioning program will also reduce the chance of injuring yourself when participating in your sport. So train up and get out and enjoy the cold and snow of winter!

Read More

Footer navigation follows, return to top?

Our Cookie Policy

Your privacy is important to us. We use cookies and other tracking technologies to ensure the performance and security of our website and to monitor website use for business and website optimization purposes. This may include disclosures about your use of the website to third parties. By using our website, you agree to its use of these technologies. To learn more, please read our Terms of Use.