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Getting Stronger (6/13/13)

BY SARAH HENDRICKSON

Summer jumps at the beautiful Utah Olympic Park!
My high school class graduated from the high school last week and
these are my closest friends from my high school/middle school
years.

After numerous weeks of media commitments and personal side training, the team is back in the gym for the summer! We have now been lifting for six weeks and took our first summer jumps last week. It is hard to believe that the spring months are over and as the heat rolls into Park City, it’s time to put in the hours to prepare for winter. Even though ski jumping is a winter sport, we get most of our training jumps in the summer jumps, making it really important to stay healthy and focused through these months.

Last year at this time, I was going through rehab for my knee and getting back to “normal,” or my pre-operation, condition. Luckily this year, I am healthy and can focus on getting stronger and eventually gain weight through muscle mass. As some of you heard, I had to move down ski lengths last winter because I lost weight with my injury and I am looking to gain that back this summer.

I am working specifically with my strength coach at the U.S. Ski Team to build this mass in the correct way. In the sport of ski jumping, weight plays a huge role with the BMI (body mass index) formula that combines height, weight and ski length. Although it is more beneficial to be lighter, one must find what’s right for each individual jumper taking into account strength potential and the effects of jumping on shorter skis. Since Sochi is a new hill, it is really important to have a strong take off (more so than others) and this is another reason I want to build that muscle in the case that I make the Olympic team.

As mentioned before, we started jumping a week ago and, yes, it was just like riding a bike – you never forget. It is crazy to think that after over two months of no jumping, the second I get in my in-run, my muscle memory is switched on. The feeling under my feet, the rhythm of the take-off and the feeling in the flight demonstrates that after 11 years of jumping, your brain knows exactly what to do. Granted I am always making changes when I train, but the basics are constantly there. I’ve had two sessions already and I’m feeling pretty good. Summer jumping in Park City is always a huge challenge due to the heat and high altitude. Since I live at such a high elevation, the air is extremely thin, making it difficult to feel pressure in the in-run but the pressure on our skis in the air is must less compared to other places. However, this is a huge benefit for training because it teaches you to have better technique and when traveling to any other hill... well, it feels like Christmas!

The month of June we are focusing on the training at home before we head off to a small competition in Steamboat Springs, Colo., for our annual Fourth of July event. Every year we drive over to jump with the development girls and train on a smaller hill (K68). I am so excited for these next few months of hard training and hope everyone follows my blogs up until the next season!

 
Last week I met Taylor Swift when she came to SLC for a concert. She is one of my favorite singers and this was an awesome experience.