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January 12, 2010

Get an Olympic Workout

woman alpine skiing

Photo Credit: Doug Berry/iStock

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THE EXPERT: Julia Mancuso, 25
Mancuso's no ski bum — she started racing at age 7 and now competes in five different events, clocking in at around 100 miles per hour during downhill events. "I've always loved the speed," she says. "It's a total rush — you use gravity and flow down the mountain."

WOW FACTOR: Mancuso is a 2006 Olympic gold medalist in giant slalom.

WANNA TRY IT? "It's never too late to start. There are 90-year-olds who ski every day," she says. "It's a fun sport you can enjoy with friends."

PRO MOVES: Alpine skiers need rock-hard core muscles and superb balance to maneuver around the obstacle poles (called gates) without falling. Mancuso works on both by standing on an agility ball, then doing eight to 12 slow chair squats. When gripping the ball, your inner thighs will want to take over, but use your glutes and outer thighs to stabilize yourself.

UPHILL BATTLE: For endurance training, Mancuso sprints up hills and slowly jogs back down about six to 12 times. "At first you feel like you're going to pass out. By sprinting uphill, I'm trying to use the maximum effort in a short amount of time."

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