Want to Be an Olympian? Train Smarter, Train Harder

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July 19, 2021 -- When watching our favourite athletes vie successful the Olympic Games, galore of america often statesman to see what it took for them to make specified accomplishment and mastery. Some of america whitethorn adjacent fantasize astir what it would beryllium similar to vie connected the Olympic signifier ourselves.

Be cautious what you privation for.

We interruption down grooming schedules, muscles targeted during workouts, communal injuries, and remainder and betterment techniques for antithetic sports.

Track and Field

For way and tract Olympians, determination is nary one-size-fits-all grooming approach.

Training schedules alteration based connected the athlete’s circumstantial event, says Ricky Simms, cause of Olympic runners Usain Bolt and Trayvon Bromell, to sanction a few, and CEO of PACE Sports Management.

Bromell volition vie successful this year's Tokyo Olympics aft winning the 100-meter contention astatine the U.S. Olympic Trials for way and field.

“Long-distance runners volition tally implicit 100 miles per week, positive strength training,” Simms says. “Sprinters volition walk 4 to 5 hours per time connected the way oregon successful the value room.”

Despite what you whitethorn think, grooming for runners does not solely absorption connected legs, but alternatively the full body. It is existent that the quads and calves are moving hard erstwhile you stride. But the effort you request to instrumentality disconnected successful a guardant question requires engaging each of your muscles.

“Our main absorption is to make highly coordinated movements for much businesslike athletes, truthful it's much of a whole-body focus,” says Sterling Roberts, subordinate caput manager of Eastern Michigan University men’s way and field. He’s besides manager to Donald Scott and Tori Franklin, who volition beryllium competing successful the 2020 Olympic Games successful way and field.

For those of america astatine location who privation to tally much similar an Olympian, archetypal get your moving signifier assessed for arm-leg coordination, gait issues, and however your arms swing, says trainer Summer Stevenhagen Montabone, proprietor of Summer’s Fitness successful Canton, OH.

“In way action, your powerfulness comes from the glutes (or butt muscles),” she says. “The beforehand is for show, and the backmost is for go.”

Generally, you’ll request to enactment retired your legs for beardown hep flexors, quads, glutes, and hamstrings, she says. And don’t hide astir the precocious back, which is cardinal to a beardown “posterior chain.”

Mix up the magnitude of your runs. Dynamic warmups are important and often overlooked, she says.

Roberts says that portion his athletes whitethorn bid 5 to 6 days a week, depending connected the clip of year, determination are days erstwhile they bid heavier oregon lighter, and they ever get clip disconnected to recharge.

For galore powerfulness and velocity athletes, similar jumpers and sprinters, hamstring injuries are common, says Roberts. For elite way and tract athletes, hip tightness and soreness tin besides beryllium an issue, on with lower-leg injuries.

“The high-level athletes that I enactment with are jumpers, truthful they person a batch of pounding with their lower legs,” helium says.

Elite athletes are besides much apt to prioritize remainder and recovery, says Roberts.

“In general, the higher the level they are, the amended they bash the small things that assistance their bodies heal and recover, specified arsenic nutrition, sleep, hydration,” helium says.

Whether they’re racing toward the 200-meter people oregon moving a marathon, Simms says that prioritizing self-care is cardinal for each runners.

“All runners volition walk further clip getting carnal therapy, massages,” helium says.


Olympic weightlifters whitethorn bid 4 to 8 times a week, each league lasting astir 2 hours, on with immoderate betterment enactment extracurricular of weightlifting, says Meagan Nielsen, a board-certified specializer successful sports dietetics and squad dietitian for USA Weightlifting.

Classic Olympic lifts, similar the snatch and cleanable and jerk, are full-body exercises.

“If you look astatine a weightlifter, they person particularly developed quadriceps, shoulders, back, and glutes,” Nielsen says.

Tim Swords, proprietor of Team Houston weightlifting and manager of Sarah Robles, who volition vie successful Tokyo for her 3rd Olympics, says that portion weightlifting is simply a full-body movement, it is important to dedicate clip to physique up your little body.

“If you don’t person limb strength, you can’t bash this sport,” helium says.

During the off-season, Olympians are gathering foundational strength, musculus size, and fixing immoderate musculus imbalances, with measurement and strength ramping up. In pre-season, the measurement of exercises volition taper disconnected arsenic the strength increases, helping the jock summation powerfulness output, says trainer Sergio Pedemonte, CEO of Your House Fitness successful Toronto. During the in-season, the absorption is connected refinement and remaining escaped of injuries -- with ample betterment time.

“If musculus summation is your goal, you request to make a calorie surplus -- devour much calories,” says Anthony Ortiz, laminitis of Fitly and the creator SmartPlate. “When you are dieting for musculus building, your nutrition indispensable beryllium connected constituent astatine each times. You can’t out-train a atrocious diet.”

Swords besides says that due posture is essential.

“If you cannot support a good, static presumption due to the fact that you person a anemic musculus oregon static imbalance somewhere, that’s a large deal,” helium says. “It takes enactment to make that unchangeable spine and bully posture. This is simply a athletics wherever you don’t conscionable travel into it and you’re a nationalist champion.”

Swords says that successful each the years helium has been grooming weightlifters, superior injuries person not happened often. But determination person been insignificant injuries.

“The little back is going to beryllium thing that hurts you sometimes,” helium says.

He says determination are galore betterment techniques for weightlifters.

“We’ve got sauna, stretching, antithetic types of massaging tools, blistery tubs, crystal baths,” Swords says. “People person to find retired what works champion for them. If you person a bigger jock and enactment them successful a sauna, that mightiness deterioration them out. For immoderate athletes, an crystal bath would beryllium better.”

The astir important betterment method of each is getting due sleep, helium says.

“Your assemblage is not recovering erstwhile you’re awake,” helium says. “It’s recovering erstwhile you’re asleep.”


Olympic gymnasts, with their grace and bonzer flexibility, are known to person rigorous grooming schedules.

Dominique Dawes, a three-time Olympic gymnast and Olympic golden medalist, and proprietor of Dominique Dawes Gymnastics & Ninja Academy successful Maryland, says galore Olympic gymnasts cannot instrumentality disconnected days.

Dawes made history arsenic the archetypal African American gymnast to triumph an Olympic golden medal.

She says she dedicated astir 36 hours a week to grooming erstwhile preparing for the Olympics.

“We had greeting grooming aggregate days a week from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.,” says Dawes. “Then, evening grooming from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. On Saturdays, we would bid 5 hours. I would bid astatine a fittingness gym, instrumentality a stretch oregon ballet people connected Sunday, oregon information connected my ain astatine location conscionable for fun.”

Dawes says processing a beardown core is simply a large absorption erstwhile training.

Core conditioning is cardinal successful the athletics of gymnastics, the abdominals and muscles successful your back,” she says. “A gymnast has to beryllium successful afloat power of his oregon her assemblage erstwhile performing specified hard maneuvers.”

While determination tin beryllium various injuries successful gymnastics, Dawes says that accent fractures are rather common. Stress fractures are cracks successful the bones that tin origin terrible pain. They often hap successful the shin, foot, and little back.


Olympic fencing is 1 of the fewer sports that person stood the trial of clip aft debuting astatine the 1896 Olympic Games successful Athens, Greece. While swordplay whitethorn look similar each amusive and games, it requires intelligence and carnal discipline.

Fencers whitethorn bid up to 3 times a day, with workouts including weight training, footwork, and backstage fencing lessons, says Sergei Golubitsky, a three-time Olympic fencer, four-time satellite champion successful men’s foil, and proprietor of Golubitsky Fencing Center successful Tustin, CA.

“Your moves person to beryllium precise speedy and precise,” helium says. “Legs are the astir important assemblage portion to bid due to the fact that you determination a batch successful fencing.”

Golubitsky says it is important to springiness your assemblage clip to retrieve to forestall injury.

One communal wounded is “fencing elbow,” akin to tennis elbow. Tendons statesman to swell due to the fact that of repetitive motions, which tin pb to tiny tears successful tissue.

Golubitsky says superior injuries tin hap successful galore different parts of the assemblage arsenic well.

“Neck, back, legs, knees, ankles, hips, everything,” helium says. “Many erstwhile fencers person problems with hips, and galore person hep replacements. It is not conscionable aged people. So, it’s a precise delicate topic.”

Strengthening your core tin assistance forestall fencing injuries.

Pilates and planks assistance a lot,” Golubitsky says. “Core exercises truly assistance you support your hips.”

Despite the differences successful grooming requirements for assorted Olympic sports, determination are 2 things each Olympians share: the utmost subject and hard enactment it takes to maestro a athletics and incorporating remainder and betterment to execute astatine their best.


The Olympics ever substance an uptick successful enthusiasm for boxing arsenic a workout, says Frank Dennison, a idiosyncratic trainer and the merchandise manager for RockBox Fitness, a nationalist boxing and kickboxing franchise.

Boxing is bully for bosom health, musculus tone, agility, and processing coordination successful the hands, eyes, and feet, helium says.

And we’ve travel a agelong mode since Rocky and its gym afloat of large bruisers. Boxing-training classes are commonly disposable and geared much toward fittingness for each than fighting.

“Being stronger, healthier, and looking amended volition boost your self-confidence. How you look and however you comprehend yourself straight interaction your self-esteem,” Dennison says.

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