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Get Great Legs With Ski Jumper Sarah Hendrickson's Lower-Body Builder

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By Thailan Pham, SELF

Qualifying for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi has begun, and we couldn't be more excited for the Opening Ceremonies on Feb. 7. To get you ready for the games, we'll be showing you awesome fitness moves from some our favorite U.S. team all-stars. Get ready to get fit, Olympian-style!

For Olympic hopeful Sarah Hendrickson, simply being present at the Sochi games this year is a testament to her will and determination. The 19-year-old World Cup champion, who injured her knee in August during training, spent the winter with her eyes on one prize: to get back in fighting shape.

Or shall we say, flying shape? Women's ski jumping, which will make its debut at the Sochi Olympics in February 2014, requires a skier to reach 70 miles per hour on a slope and then sail 100 yards through the air, frozen in flight position.

"You just... fly," says Hendrickson. "It takes a lot of years of perfection. It's an amazing feeling -- who else can say they fly over a football field with skis on their feet??"

Okay, our hearts just dropped down to our stomachs.

In order for ski jumpers to nail their landings (and heal up from injuries!), it's essential to build up strong legs with moves like the hamstring-toning Romanian Dead Lifts. In regular training, Hendrickson routinely pairs quad-focused moves like squats with RDLs. "I believe in total body balance," she says.

Hendrickson competed in Olympic team trials in Utah.



(gif: Cheryl Carlin)

Stand with legs apart hip- or shoulder-width. Hold dumbbells in both hands down at your sides. Hinge at the hips with a slight bend in your knees until you feel a moderate stretch, taking care to avoid rounding your back. Reverse the position and return to standing. Do 8-10 reps.

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