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posted: 3/1/2014 5:01 AM

Training schedule for a bobsledder

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By Vicky Hallett
The Washington Post

The first step to becoming a bobsledder? Score high enough on this test:

• A 60-meter sprint (or a 45-meter sprint for women).

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• Broad jump.

• Shot toss. Men throw a 16-pound shot, women a 12-pound shot.

• Power clean (1 rep max).

• Back squat (3 rep max).

An impressive performance is a ticket to more training.

John Philbin has his athletes lift, run and jump -- as well as do some nuttier things. That includes "overspeed training," which involves running with bungee cords, and pushing cars (or other heavy objects).

Even though TJ Burns is retired from the sport, he gets anxious whenever he's near the middle school where Philbin had him haul sleds up a hill.

Hurdles, box jumps and other plyometric exercises are standard for bobsled training. Burns points to the scars along his shins from missed attempts on wooden boxes.

For Mike Savitch, his secret weapon was in Washington's Georgetown neighborhood: the steps featured in the "Exorcist" movie.

"I ran them four times a week, triple hopping all the way up," he says.

Athletes today, Savitch adds, are fortunate that CrossFit has popularized Olympic lifting.

Power moves are key for bobsledders, but they usually require dropping the weights, which wasn't allowed at most gyms back when he was competing.

The results of improved training techniques were evident in Sochi, Mike Kohn says.

"They're better than I wished I could be," he said.

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