The move I love to hate: Tennis player Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova's snow climb

AP Photo/Vincent Yu

The offseason is short in tennis, leaving little time to lose fitness before heading Down Under for the Australian summer season.

Courtesy of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

So for Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, currently ranked No. 15 in the world, it's time to break free from the court while still improving her strength and stamina for the upcoming Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia. Her favorite way to cross-train? Conquering a steep snowshoe climb.

The move: High-altitude mountain hiking in the French Alps.

How to do it: The last time I did this was in 2008, and I did it again this year with my fitness coach and tennis coach Simon Goffin. We spent one week in the French Alps in the resort of Val d'Isère, and we climbed for 90 minutes going about 750 meters up. We wore snowshoes, but didn't use any poles or sticks.

When I do it: The first week of my preseason training, before getting back on court. I play a lot of tennis during the year so it's nice to stay away from hitting a ball for a while!

Why I do it: First, it's great for your fitness. But doing it in a different location makes it more interesting and the French Alps are such a cool place. It helps your core as you need to keep your balance on the climb. And your feet slip a lot due to all the ice and snow, so it's good for quickening your reflexes.

If you compare it to a treadmill, it's like setting it to a 50 percent incline, which builds strength in your legs. Also, the view at the top is beautiful!

Why it's so killer: You are basically doing cardio nonstop for 1 hour and 30 minutes -- your heart rate is almost at the maximum level. It's also a big test of your mental strength, as it is very cold and you're in a completely foreign climate.

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