Competing in the Olympics is a dream of many young athletes, and if you've had that dream, or you would like to develop the physique of the Olympic athlete, read on to learn how to train to be an Olympic athlete. In ancient Greece, many young men trained in wrestling and athletics to become fit for military service, and athletes were trained in the same ways that Olympic athletes are trained today. Athletes balanced their fitness and nutrition and trained to use proper form to maximize strength, power, and agility, and to reduce injury. Follow the leads of the ancients and draw from the exercise science of today to train most effectively to be an Olympic athlete.
What you'll need:
- an inner well of strength greater than those around you
- balanced nutrition
- access to training facilities
- dedication to your sport
- Choose your sport. Olympic athletes compete in many types of competition, but they can be broken down to sports of accuracy, endurance, strength/power and sports of strategy. Many sports, such as archery or wrestling, use multiple skills. In any case, athletes wishing to perform at an Olympic level must develop the skills required of their discipline in order to progress.
- Begin a basic training regimen. Each sport will have some tried and true basic training regimens that will get you in shape and keep you in shape for your sport. If you are a runner, that will be different than if you are an Olympic weightlifter. The distance runner will focus on endurance while the sprinter will focus on explosive power out of the blocks. The Olympic weightlifter will focus on explosive power with heavy weights.
- Evaluate your level and set goals. Each athlete will have strengths and weaknesses. Assess your strengths and set goals to grow where you see opportunity. An Olympic weightlifter may have brute strength, but may need to develop flexibility in the hips and shoulders to perfect the lift called "the snatch." A sprinter may have great consistency at the end of the 400 meter dash, but may also need explosive power out of the blocks to get those precious seconds that can mean victory or defeat.
- Find the right trainers. To reach the height of Olympic perfection, you'll need to find trainers that can assist you in building your whole game plan. To compete in biathlon, you'll need trainers to help you build endurance, develop your cross country ski strategy and build accuracy with your .22 rifle under stress. Select conditioning coaches, rifle experts and ski coaches that you work well with and that can see and be direct with you about your strengths and weaknesses.
- Condition. When you watch the Olympic women's hockey team train, you'll see them do High Intensity Interval Training, flip a tractor tire, do snatches, bench press and sit ups. Be sure you change up your training, and you do more than practice your sport.
- Nutrition. Olympic athlete Michael Phelps is known for eating 12,000 calories per day. While we do not recommend this, unless you are a special guest for one day on "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives," you must balance your nutrition with your effort. Hit the local library and check out the latest books on sports nutrition, and eat! Some athletes stay stuck in the concept of keeping their food intake far below what they need. Make sure you are not starving yourself while you increase your effort.
- Develop Technique. Technique was an essential part of the ancient Grecian Olympic athlete's training. Study the techniques of the great Olympic athletes of the past to develop your ability to overcome obstacles.
- Compete. To prepare to be an Olympic athlete, you must compete in your sport regularly. Getting your game face on is one of the most important skills, and the only place to do it is to compete against other athletes.
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