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Marcel Hirscher: athletic preparation is the key to success

Skier, athlete, phenomenon, champion, there are many ways to describe Marcel Hirscher, but one thing is certain: the Austrian athlete belongs to the elite circle of the best skiers of all time. Born on 3 March 1989 in Hallein, a small town near Salzburg, his parents both ski instructors, he began his experience on the slopes as a child and in 1996 he took part in his first races. Hirscher won everything there was to win, World Cup races, crystal cups, two Olympic gold medals, and the title of World Champion. Yet, even after seven consecutive World Cup victories, ten specialties and one general European Cup, an incredible record.

The best season in career for Marcel Hirscher

Hirscher always manages to break his own records: last winter he achieved more than 13 World Cup victories in one season, previously only Ingemar Stenmark and Hermann Maier had managed to do so. He also won the gold in the combined and giant slalom at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, under immense pressure, because the Olympic gold was the missing piece of the puzzle: This season I will no longer be outdated, even Hirscher knew what he would achieve.
He loves skiing, competition and training and it is the mix of all these factors that makes the difference, distinguishing him from other athletes. Hirscher doesn't know his days off, he works hard every day to improve and achieve his goals.

I still like skiing, that's the key to it all. Training is part of my job and my preparation for competitions, it's my daily bread. But it's also much more, because for me training means enthusiasm, I never want to stop training.

How Marcel Hirscher trains

The most important thing in Marcel Hirscher's daily training is the variety: "New stimuli are crucial to keep up with the competition. Everyone does their utmost to improve faster. My training is always changing, and it's more about quality than about routine.
Hirscher has been a Technogym Ambassador since summer 2016 and has been able to take his training to a new level thanks to the modern, high-quality equipment and solutions that the world market leader provides. Professionalism and personalisation are the key words of the collaboration: "Thanks to Technogym I have excellent and top quality products available in my daily training. Innovative equipment such as SKILLMILL is ideal for preparing for an intense season. A minute and a half full of drive may not seem like much, but whoever has trained on Skillmill knows what I'm talking about".

Still at the top

The result of years of quality training can be seen in Hirscher's fitness. He has only suffered two injuries in his career: a scaphoid fracture in 2011 and an ankle fracture in 2017, which is very little for a high-risk sport like skiing.
Hirscher has worked hard for his next successes again this summer. The standard he sets for himself is very high and the start of the season has shown Hirscher is still the measure of all things. The first World Cup race of the season in Levi went to the technical dominator. And suddenly it doesn't seem so impossible for Marcel Hirscher to break his own records.

Preparation of the skier

In downhill skiing the technical component is very important and affects the physical effort. Optimal control of the technique is based on strength in the muscles of the lower limbs and great neuromuscular coordination. The athletic gesture common to all the specialties of skiing is the curve, made repeatedly during the descent and which involves the involvement of all muscle groups. The execution of the curve is composed of two movements: the flexion-extension of the lower limbs and the twisting of the trunk with the involvement of hip and knee. Strength, flexibility and mobility are fundamental in skiing, and are achieved through constant, good training, which is essential for preventing injuries.
Cardiovascular work involving the lower limbs and trunk is useful because it simulates the stresses on the snow, i.e. alternating thrusts of the lower limbs and the ability to absorb irregularities in the ground. As far as the training of the strength of the other lower limbs is concerned, the horizontal Leg Press is certainly the ideal tool as it involves the main muscles used on the slopes.

To improve speed and athletic movement it is important to train the core, the centre of balance of our body. To train the core you can distinguish the training in two phases:

  • Activation and training in isolation of the core muscles
  • Activation of the core in the execution of the movements of daily life and sport.
The typical exercises that activate the core are those in which we use both arms and legs, and so also the exercises in precarious conditions of balance and all the positions that force us to activate to keep the spine aligned that go to solicit our muscles in an important way.
The latter group includes the so-called "bridges" (plank and bridge), i.e. exercises that are mainly static, or that involve minimal movements, aimed at developing the strength and endurance of the core. Exercises carried out in unstable conditions, on the other hand, involve the use of gym balls such as the Wellness Ball, foam roller, etc. and are based on a coordinated, continuous work of resistance and strength.

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