(Jens Meyer/AP Photo)
Like one of the sports it includes, cross-country skiing, biathlon demands tremendous cardiovascular fitness. To improve your own aerobic endurance, you can do almost any activity—rowing, cycling, hiking—that you can keep up for a sustained period of time. Biathlon also is a full-body workout, so focus on exercises like lunges that work more than one muscle group at a time. To specifically strengthen the back (necessary to carry around that rifle), Burke suggests extensions: Lie face down on a back extension apparatus, which comes to the waist (leaving the torso free). Tuck your feet under the stabilizing bar. Cross your arms in front of your chest and bend forward as far as you can while keeping your spine neutral (i.e. not bent). Slowly return to the starting position.
Of course, it's tough to mimic the actual shooting part of biathlon in the gym, but circuit training—especially alternating periods of intense aerobic activity and then lifting or other forms of strength training—gives you the same variety. Mixing things up also helps you learn to focus intently on what's in front of you—an essential skill for biathletes.