Andy Wood's Blog

GB Skeleton Athlete

Summer Training

University of Bath Sports Training Village

With the Olympic season coming up, I decided that to get the most out of my summer training, I needed to be located closer to my training facilities.  The GB skeleton team are predominantly based in Bath and although I’ve been training in Bath for the last couple of years, the drive to and from Weston-super-Mare each day was a bit too much!  I started looking for a flat to rent for the summer and I ended up sharing a 2 bedroom place with Patrick Singleton, who does skeleton for Bermuda and is training with us in preparation for the winter.  Best of all, it’s only a 5 minute drive from the gym 🙂

Patrick Singleton on the push trackSummer training is a long, pretty intense process.  I generally do 3 training sessions per day, 5 to 6 days per week.  The University of Bath has a push track, which is used by skeleton and bobsleigh athletes to replicate pushing the sleds at the start of a run.  It can take a large portion of the summer getting the technique right for running in a bent over position, so it’s important that by the time we get out onto the ice, we’re pushing the sled as best we can.

For us to be able to accelerate the sled from the start as fast as we can, one of the elements required is to be a fast sprinter!  Therefore as part of our summer training, we do sprint training over 20-40 metres, sometimes pulling a weighted sled behind us for resistance training.

Squatting 175kgAnother element we need is power.  A skeleton sled can weigh up to 43kg for men, so to get that weight accelerating quickly, we do strength training in the gym.  There are a few different weight lifts that skeleton athletes can do, although I’ve found that squatting works best for me.

Now power is nothing unless you have control.  For us to direct our power in the most efficient way, we need to do core training.  Working on our stomach, back, shoulders, glutes and hips gives us the stability so that our movements while pushing the sled are hopefully in one direction!

Before we can do our training sessions, we need to make sure we do a vigorous warmup so that we’re less likely to pull a muscle or strain something.  Lots of stretching after training also helps the muscles to recover, as well as help improve the range of movement in our limbs.  Hydration and nutrition are also very important to fuel the muscles before and during training and to give them what they need to grow once we’ve finished the session.

Yummy!Working with a nutritionist this summer has helped me to tweek my diet so that I’m getting the right amount of carbohydrates, proteins, fibre and fat etc from what I eat, as well as planning when to take on nutrition throughout the day.

However, The nutritionist isn’t the only support staff I’ve been working with.  I regularly go for sports massages to work out any tight areas in my muscles.  A nice relaxing massage eh?  Nope.  I could use a wooden stick to bite on!  I also see a psychologist on a regular basis.  I’m not mad, honest!  We go over things like goal setting, mental preparation for races and anything else that’s on my mind.

So that’s pretty much been my summer, apart from a few days of testing here and there and the odd meeting.  I’ll be heading off to Italy soon with the rest of the team for a 1 week training camp.  There’s an indoor ice push track there, so we’ll be able to get used to running on the ice, which can feel quite different to the rubber of the Bath push track!

August 29, 2009 - Posted by | Blog Archive

2 Comments »

  1. Hi Andy,
    I feel priveleged to be your 1st blogger on your new website.It looks pretty good so far – but could do with a few more photos on it (you’ve got some with me in haven’t you?)
    You’ve just started the new season and I wish you the very, very best of luck (and a bit of skill!!) for the exciting months ahead.
    Don’t forget that I’m with you every step of the way and giving you an extra push at each start.

    Dad XX

    Comment by PETER WOOD | September 8, 2009 | Reply

  2. Hello Buddy,

    Hope all is well and you are training hard! Love the picture of you TRYING to lift those weights! HA HA!

    I know the lads are with me when i say good luck but as you know their not the most ‘tech savvy’ so this is also on their behalf as i know they would want to wish you well and we look forward to seeing you soon for a beer or two!

    Go on the HAYES!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Carl Gates | September 9, 2009 | Reply


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