How does an Olympic slopestyle skier gear up for his first Games? Aussie Russ Henshaw reveals his training schedule and workout secrets ahead of Sochi.
As a slopestyle skier, risk plays a huge part of your sport. Do you ever fear hurting yourself?
Injury is a part of what I do but its something I never think about. When I am skiing I am thinking of landing my tricks and trying to push my self to learn new ones. There isn't really any way to overcome the fear of hurting yourself. It’s always in the back of your mind but you just have to try and focus on the positives instead of the negatives, such as about how good it will be to land that trick rather than, I don't land this trick I could really hurt myself.
During the early season (Australia season May-June and Oct-Nov for the northern hemisphere) my training involves working on strength in the gym combined with on-snow training – but this is weather dependent. When the season kicks into full swing my gym sessions are more designed for maintenance than to build strength.
I spend a lot of time training my legs and core. Having solid legs is super important for skiing. Strong legs help me through take offs and take on bigger jumps, allowing me to build explosive power along with stamina so I can ski all day long. Core is also important to help with landings. If you have a super weak core, you will find yourself breaking at the hips and dragging your hands on the landings, which is a huge point deduction during a slopestyle competition.
I start with a 15 minute warm up, followed by a strength circuit involving squats, power cleans, dead lifts, single leg press, calf press. Repeat the circuit three times, 8 to 10 reps of each set with 30 seconds rest in-between. Finish up with a core workout.
My diet is not super strict, although I try and eat as clean as I can. My typical day involves a bowl of cereal for breakfast. On the drive up to the mountains I’ll have a can of Red Bull Zero to help boost my energy levels pre-workout. Lunch is usually a sweet chili chicken wrap and water. A banana or an apple to refuel before another workout. Then dinner depends on what my girlfriend feels like cooking – most of the time its a high-protein, low carb meal. She is an epic cook!
Training and travelling don't really seem to work. I find that training throughout the peak season involves more maintenance than anything else. I follow much lighter sessions at the gym than I would usually do which is good because I feel fresh on my skis but I am still managing what I worked for in the off season.
I can’t ski without music. It helps me to focus and block out outside distractions like the crowd, the announcer [before a race]. I’m so focused that once the race starts, it goes silent and I can't hear anything. I only realise I am listening to music once I land my last trick.
Definitely Perisher (Australia, NSW) in the spring. They have a super fast park lap and it’s when all my friends are in town.
Have fun! It’s something I live by, no matter what you are doing. Have fun doing it and you will enjoy everything.
Russ Henshaw will compete in Ski Slopestyle, a new event for the Sochi 2014 Olympics.
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