Pre-season prep—Part 4: Your body

Doing some exercise in the fall will help you experience less fatigue, ride better and reduce the chance of injury on your first days of a new sledding season

by Matthew Mallory

Julie-Ann Chapman in the gym.
Julie-Ann Chapman, owner and operator of She Shreds Mountain Adventures, hits the gym to work on her fitness in preparation of a new snowmobiling season. photo courtesy She Shreds Mountain Adventures

The final step in all of the preseason maintenance and gear check comes down to the body. If you’ve been active, doing something that keeps the body moving since putting the sled away—such as riding moto, mountain biking or wakeboarding—then you can be excused from the gym. But if you’ve done what many do—too much work and too little play—then spending a month or two before the season starts pushing plates will do you some good. Not only will you enjoy those first days of the season, but you will experience less fatigue, ride better and reduce the chance of injury as well.

If you have some experience in the gym, then you can figure out a routine that will benefit you for sledding. On the other hand, if you are not familiar with the human structure or various exercises, then hooking up with a personal trainer and explaining what mountain sledding is like will make your gym time more efficient and rewarding as well as productive. When breaking it down, freeride sledding is amazing in how it works over the whole body. There are very few sports that stress the muscle system like it. We aren’t just sitting down out there! A weight program that focuses on everything from legs to stomach (the centre of every movement), back, shoulders, arms and chest will get you going just nicely.

Cardio = power to shred

As the season gets closer, moving away from static weights to explosive/dynamic exercises like box jumps (hop overs) to burpees will give you the explosive power to shred. Two things that people often forget about when getting ready to sled is the body's cardiovascular system and stretching. Due to the fact that the side of the sport we chose to participate in happens at elevation, a good cardio workout will probably do more for you than hitting the weights.

Check out most of the top sledders: Chris Brown, KJ and Jon Jean. Though they are muscular, they are more on the lean side than the overly muscular. And then there is Dan Gardiner who runs 100-mile marathons. Leaning out the body is good. Whether it’s running, cycling, step machine, whatever, get that heart rate above 120 and hold it there. Cardio helps your body deliver blood and oxygen to your lungs more efficiently, which will help you not just maintain your riding longer at elevation but also help you shred harder!

Stretch it out

The final step in the program is stretching. Not only will stretching give you a wider range of movement, it also helps you recover faster from your workouts and from sledding. Stretching also helps prevent injuries to your muscles and tendons when rag dolling during an epic bail. Again, with stretching, getting a personal trainer to help develop a program for you is the best way to go but it’s amazing what you can find on Google. The real beauty with stretching is that it doesn’t take long; 15 minutes a day will help you immensely.

So . . . it’s fall, the snow has hit the peaks, the stoke is high and if you follow these steps for your truck, sled, gear and body, you should be ready to rip when everything is finally filled in deep enough.

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