Although they may not see the same levels of pay or pricey endorsements, there is something that bobsledders do share with their footballer counterparts: massive strength and explosive speed.
That’s precisely why the evolution from one sport to another isn’t unprecedented: Former Dallas Cowboy Herschel Walker competed on the 1992 Winter Olympics bobsled team; Thomas White, former walk-on football player at Baylor University, has set his sights on the 2014 Winter Olympics; and Todd Hays, a former college linebacker, is the head coach of the women’s team, to name a few.
So for Dominic Crucitti, a former college football player himself, the transition to USA Bobsled push athlete has been a natural one. We sat down recently to chat about his Olympic aspirations, training techniques and tips for pushing the limits.
KineticFix: So, how exactly did you get into bobsledding?
Dominic Crucitti: I got involved in the sport after figuring out that you could try out for the US team in 2010. After playing football in college I was searching for a new sport, and bobsled requires similar physical qualities to football. I thought, “What the hell? I’m going to try this.” I emailed a few of the coaches, and I was up in Lake Placid pushing for one of the developmental drivers soon after. I’ve been addicted to the sport ever since.
KF: What specific skills are required to be an Olympic-caliber bobsledder?
DC: The guys on the US Bobsled team are incredible athletes. +500lb squats, +350lb cleans and and sub-4.4 second 40-yard dashes are a common occurrence. I don’t think bobsled athletes get enough credit as the combination of size, strength and speed is unmatched in any other sport. All anyone thinks about is the movie Cool Runnings when they think of bobsled!
KF: Where are you with your training, and what goals are you working toward?
DC: My current training is revolving around getting bigger and stronger. My current goals are to squat 500 pounds and put on 3-5 pounds of muscle. I’m about 212 pounds right now, and I’d like to get my body weight to around 215-218. I’m doing minimal sprint work at the moment because my weight room training volume is very high, and you can only train so much!
KF: What’s your training philosophy for accomplishing all of that?
DC: Currently my focus is on pushing the weights on up on my lower body compound lifts (squat and deadlift variations) and strengthening some of my weak spots with accessory movements. I’m doing a lot of work for the hamstrings and lower back.
KF: Walk us through a typical week of workouts when you’re in training.
DC: My training changes pretty frequently throughout the year, I’m constantly reevaluating and changing things to ensure I’m progressing. I think once someone gets to a more advanced level of strength training, it becomes much more individualized and instinctive. If something isn’t working it has to go!
Currently I’m lifting four days a week: two upper-body workouts and two lower-body workouts. One workout will focus on absolute strength (1-3 reps) and the other is more of a traditional “bodybuilding” type day with higher reps on accessory movements. I also sprint at the track twice per week.
KF: How does your nutrition come into play?
DC: Nutritionally, I’m eating about +200g of protein a day and +500g carbs a day. I don’t really keep track of dietary fat, but I don’t shy away from high-fat foods. I’m not too strict with the type of foods I eat as long as I’m hitting my macronutrient goals. If you want to train hard and progress, you need to give your body lots of fuel.
KF: Speaking of training, tell us about your job as a strength & conditioning coach.
DC: I actually started working as a personal trainer before I played college football. I started working at a 24hr Fitness. I ended up meeting and working with Adam Shipley, who would later become the strength coach at Santa Barbara City College, at Fueled Sports Performance in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Ever since I met Adam and started training some of his high school athletes for him, I knew this was the career for me. I was lucky enough while I was living in NYC to get a job at Sports Lab NYC and work with some rockstar coaches and a lot of great athletes. I’m currently coaching people in San Francisco at an independent facility called Synergy Fitness Studio.
KF: Can you share your top tips for those of us who are interested in gaining speed?
DC: A lot of people and coaches make training for speed very complicated, but in reality anyone can get faster by understanding that sprinting speed is mostly about an individuals power-to-weight ratio. Most of the fastest people also have very high relative strength. The more force you put into the ground, the faster you will move forward!
The top tips I can give would be to increase absolute strength with compound lower body exercises like deadlifts and squats, train the glutes and hamstrings with additional exercises, and increase explosive strength with jumping exercises and/or sprinting. Of course, this advice assumes that the person asking is physically prepared to train in this fashion.
KF: Finally, what’s the question you get asked most by clients, and how do you answer it?
DC: The number one question I get asked, by a large margin, is “How do I get abs/lose body fat?!” My initial advice is very simple: I tell people to 1. Drink lots of water; 2. Build all of your meals around a protein source; 3. Get as strong as you can. Usually that’s all I have to tell my clients, and they get pretty dramatic physique changes just from that.
The next variable is to adjust carbohydrate intake, but this is usually not necessary unless someone wants to get very lean for a vacation, reunion or something very specific. I, of course, could get more complicated than that but I need to constantly remind myself that not everyone is as excited about training and eating protein as I am!
Want to follow along on Dominic’s quest to represent Team USA in Bobsled? Check out his website, DominicCrucitti.com.
Lots of good info–great article!!
Thanks! He’ll be keeping me posted on his progress, so hopefully more updates (and good news) to come!