Nov. 19, 2013 at 4:10 PM ET
Sarah Hendrickson, ski jumping, 19
The pint-sized Park City, Utah native suffered knee ligament damage and had surgery after a crash in Germany in August, but just two months later she was out practicing on powder. No injury is holding back this 22-time World Cup medalist, who is vying to make history in the first ever women’s ski jumping competition at the Olympics. Here, she shares her moves for strong legs going into the Games.
Her go-to move:
Weighted squats. “For ski jumping, quads are really important to get that final push at the end of the takeoff, so with our training, we do a lot of squats, usually about three times a week,” Sarah said. “It can be anything from five sets of eight or four sets of six, it just depends on the weights we’re lifting and if we’re maxing out.”
Hendrickson says the dumbbells you lift should be evenly spaced on either side of your body, and you should rest your body weight on your heels.
“You want to set your butt back up to counter-balance [the weights] … most squats you want to go down past a 90-degree angle, but I’m recovering from an injury so it’s not going to be perfect,” she advised.
The workout she dreads most:
“Sled runs,” Sarah said. “We pull a sled around from around our waist and you put weight on the back and you just go – it’s cardio and everything is burning and it’s one of those things that you just want to throw up afterwards, but you just put your head down and do it cause that’s what your trainer tells you to do. We have a track in the gym that about 75 meters so we do that six or eight times, it’s pretty exhausting.”
Her diet tip:
Eat breakfast. “My diet is just all around being healthy,” she said. “I’m naturally pretty small, so technically I could probably eat whatever I want, but for me I like to stay healthy and that includes getting a healthy breakfast in the morning. It’s really important for me to not leave my house for training without a good, well-balanced meal at the beginning of the day, because the rest of the day can get hectic so the least you can do is start it off healthy.”
“I’m an ice cream fanatic – vanilla with caramel and chocolate,” she said. “I try and stay away from it because once I start, I can’t stop.”