A Day in the Life: Beckett Ledger

In most sports, training techniques will change with the seasons. In the sport of Nordic combined- which combines the thrill of ski jumping and the endurance and challenge of skate skiing, training is very similar in all seasons. The artificial jumping surfaces allow us to train exactly the same way in the summer as in the winter and a cleanly paved road works well for roller skiing. The major things that will change with the addition of snow are the amount of competitions and traveling as well as the effort to fit school in with all this training.

Since each day is different for training, I will take you through a week of my training schedule (where I would not be traveling or competing at all).

At Northwood, Mondays are a day off, so the most I will do on a Monday is go for a small run and stretch.

Tuesdays, I go to the weight room at the Olympic Training Center to improve strength, balance, agility and flexibility. To start, I will warm up on the bike for 10 minutes, followed by about 15 minutes of static stretching and 4 different dynamic workouts with just a normal bar. Then it is right to the agility ladder where the emphasis is on not only being fast but also precise. Next, the lifting begins. Since ski jumping is performed with mainly the legs, the focus of every workout is on the legs, with a good amount of core exercises mixed. Just like in most sports, the core is a crucial part, providing extra stability. Some upper body work is mixed in as well for the cross country skiing part but it is not quite as important as the legs. This workout is followed up by another 10 minutes of spinning on the bike and 10 minutes of stretching.

During the winter, the training on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays depends on the weather. If it is too warm, we cannot jump because the track on the in-run has to be ice. When it is too warm, I will skate ski on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with one day of easier skiing as an endurance session, one day of short intervals (going as fast as possible for 30 seconds then easy for 30 seconds 10 times) and one day of longer intervals (going fast for 5 minutes then easy for 5 minutes 3 times). However, if it is cold enough to jump, Wednesdays I will usually go for an easy ski or run in the morning before classes then jump (4-5 jumps) in the afternoon during my off periods. Then on Fridays I will jump (5-6 jumps) after classes and Saturdays I will jump (5-6 jumps) in the morning and do mid-length intervals on skate skis in the afternoon.

On Thursdays, I am in the gym again. This time I am focusing on explosiveness, flexibility, balance and awareness. The warmup will be the same as on Tuesdays with spinning and stretching, but the lifting will be traded out for plyometrics. During the winter, the emphasis is more on maintaining the fast twitch muscles that were developed over the summer. Most the exercises are based around hurdles- 4 hurdles in a row (jumping off two feet), jumping over a hurdle from a squat on balance discs and jumping over a hurdle from a moving roller board. Some of the exercises incorporate bungees that hook to the top of a squat rack or the floor. These bungees either help you jump higher or pull you down with more resistance, both forcing you to be aware of where your body is. After this, a cool down on the bike and stretching again.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to follow this schedule as closely as I would have liked so far this winter due to the weather, but there is nothing I can do about that. However, I have been able to have some awesome experiences all over the world in places that do have enough snow like Colorado, Utah, Slovenia, Poland and Norway.

Beckett Ledger ’17

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