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January 12, 2010

Get an Olympic Workout

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woman biathlon athlete

Photo Credit: Technotr/iStock

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TRY IT: BIATHLON

THE EXPERT: Haley Johnson, 28
The biathlon event — cross-country skiing sprints plus rounds of shooting at a target — is so physically and mentally demanding that racers often collapse the moment after they cross the finish line. "What's unique about biathlon is you use your entire body," says Johnson. And that includes your brain: "Biathlon involves two completely different sports, and training your mind helps you combine the two."

WOW FACTOR: Johnson is a member of the 2008 and 2009 World Championship Team.

WANNA TRY IT? Johnson welcomes anyone who wants to challenge herself with biathlon — even if it's a different version (e.g., running/shooting). "It's really exhilarating when you can combine two sports together in a race," she says.

PRO MOVES: Every muscle in a biathlon racer's core has to be solid with strength to hold the arms and legs in perfect form, whether she's going downhill or shooting a target. Johnson found a killer move that even hits those tough-to-target lower ab muscles: Lie flat on your back with your legs straight, hands under your hips. Using your abs, keep your back from arching and slowly lift your legs 2 to 3 inches off the ground. Hold as long as you can without clenching your thigh muscles, even if it's only for one second.


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