Even though three-time Olympian, world champion, and undisputed GOAT of downhill skiing Mikaela Shiffrin takes a break from the slopes during the off season, she still spends a considerable amount of time in the gym working to maintain her status as the best in the world. Shiffrin recently shared on Instagram that she stays in peak snow-carving condition through a regimen of weightlifting and Pilates. These moves are “super effective in prepping for those race-turn forces,” according to Shiffrin, one of the most decorated American alpine skiers of all time. Let me give you some background: Shiffrin competes in the slalom, giant slalom, and downhill disciplines, reaching speeds of 43, 50, and 80 miles per hour, respectively. It’s no surprise that she’s committed to serious off-season training.
What are some of Shiffrin’s go-to moves right now? Exercises like the Bulgarian split squat and kettlebell swings, as well as the current fitness fad that is Pilates, are all included.
The multijoint nature and adaptability of Bulgarian split squats appeal to the 27-year-old. She explains that you can add resistance to the exercises by using your own bodyweight, dumbbells, a kettlebell, a barbell, or any combination of the three. She also notes that when performed correctly, Bulgarian split squats are “[g]reat for building a wide range of stability and strength for the mountain” by strengthening the core, quads, glutes, and hamstrings.
Shiffrin says that kettlebell swings are “super effective” at strengthening the glutes, hamstrings, and back (the “posterior chain”) and stabilizing her lower back without putting too much strain on it.
In contrast, Shiffrin describes Pilates as “straight up nourishment for the whole body.” The skier describes her sessions of this trendy exercise method as “a serious combo of a lot of core, upper body, hip, leg strength and active mobility,” and says that they vary from day to day depending on her needs (some days are focused on recovery, others on intense core work). “It has been a godsend for me over the past few years,” she says.
Despite the fact that most of us won’t be competing for downhill skiing medals this winter (and that’s totally fine, BTW), the exercises and workouts that Shiffrin recommends can help you achieve your goals. Pilates is a great way to combine mobility, core work, and bodyweight resistance training, while the Bulgarian split squat and kettlebell swing are excellent ways to build functional strength in the legs and core. If you’re looking for some motivation to hit the mat and the weights, Shiffrin’s world title-winning runs in March are sure to do the trick. If not, try this lower-body strength workout and these Pilates workouts.
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