Have you ever watched the Olympic games and thought, “Man, I wish I could get as fit and muscular as they are?” If the answer to this question is yes, then we’ve got some good news for you: it’s possible.
It doesn’t matter if your most recent athletic accomplishment is lasting until the end of your Pilates class, all it takes is dedication to healthy living and the tenacity to persevere through whatever may come to get to your dream level of muscle strength and fitness.
Even Olympians, regardless of their natural talent, need training programs to get them to where they are today. Having a program that you adhere to doesn’t just make your body stronger overall, it also improves your body’s muscular signature, tone, and energy.
If you’re ready to get into tip-top shape and train like an Olympian, try adding some of these workouts into your routine the next time you hit the gym. You never know, you might just bag a medal or two in the process.
Exercise #1: Bosu Jumps
This one’s a favorite for snowboarders or athletes from any kind of sport that needs to work on balance. To develop surgical steadiness and control, it’s important to pay special attention to developing balance and core stability. This is where the Bosu jump comes in. Don’t let the looks of this exercise fool you.
While a Bosu jump may seem easy at first, it definitely takes a lot of core strength to keep going. For this exercise, start by bouncing up and down on the Bosu. Attempt a couple small jumps on the Bosu with both feet, ensuring that your hips and knees stay aligned throughout the jump.
Keeping this alignment ensures that your body maximizes your core strength for control rather than other parts of your body. Once you’ve got regular jumps perfected, it’s time to add a 180-degree turn to your jump. Do this for 10 reps, switching directions as you go. If a 180-degree turn is a piece of cake for you, try a 360-degree turn. An added bonus of this is that you actually tone your legs in addition to building core strength and stability.
Exercise 2: Bird-Dog Extensions
Here’s another one that’s great for core strength and balance: Bird-Dog Extensions. While this exercise is admittedly a rather awkward one to perform, there’s no denying that this pose is incredibly effective at ramping up your abdominal and back strength while elongating the spine.
It’s always a powerful pose for increasing balance and flexibility. In order to perform bird-dog extensions, you will need to start in a standard push-up position. This means that your arms should be straight and directly under your shoulder. You should be on your toes with your back and legs forming a straight line as well. From here, engage your core and lift your left leg, keeping it aligned with your back. At the same time, lift your opposite arm and keep it straight as well.
Hold this position for 2 to 3 seconds before returning to your starting position and repeating the movement on your alternate arm and leg. Repeat the alternations for 10 reps. Make sure that your hips do not twist or drop during the exercises. If it’s too difficult, try lifting your leg first and then lifting your arm once your steady.
Exercise 3: Twist and Turn with Medicine Balls
Got a feeling that you need to put some extra effort into your coordination and overall strength? Or maybe you’re an avid skier that wants to improve on your jump landings and the like? Whatever the case, it’s always a fantastic idea to add medicine ball twist and turns to your workout routine.
Not only does this exercise improve core strength and coordination, it’s also great at increasing agility and your muscle’s reaction time. Start by standing with your feet at hip-width distance and your knees slightly bent while holding a medicine ball (3 pounds is good place to start). In the beginning, while you’re still getting used to the exercise, you should be tossing the ball up in front of you and catching it with bent knees to help absorb the impact.
Repeat this action 10 times to help you get comfortable with it. Once you’re more confident with tossing and catching the medicine ball, add a 180-degree turn in the middle of throwing and catching the ball. When you’re ready to progress to an Olympic-level workout, throw the ball up high and spin a full 360 degrees before catching it.
You’ll want to keep your core tight when you progress to this advanced modification. Trust us your agility, coordination and core strength will improve leaps and bounds when you perform this exercise regularly.
Exercise 4: Snatch Pulls
Power, strength and speed are three things that Olympic athletes need to have in spades. This means working on power as well as total body strength. Olympians that need to develop in this area often make use of exercises like snatch pulls to accomplish this goal in particular.
To perform snatch pulls, position yourself in a standard squat and grab a barbell or dumbbells tightly with an overhanded grip (think deadlifts). With your arms at a shoulder-width’s distance and your back straight, press all the way up to your toes with as much power as you can muster.
You’re going to want to use explosive movement to get the most out of the first part of this exercise, shrugging your shoulders at the end. To finish one rep of this exercise, perform an upright row. While performing the row, the weights should be held at waist level with your palms facing the back.
Pull the barbell or dumbbell up to your upper chest area, before lowering your arms again and returning to your first position. If you’re just starting out, try 10 reps to start and rest for 20 to 30 seconds before starting your second set.