olympians gold medal secrets of the

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gold medal secrets of the
28 muscle and fitness tips from america’s best
photoGRAPHY portfolio by peter yang
Pool Shark
Ryan Lochte knifes
through the water,
Gainesville, Florida.
olympic muscle
Race the Man
in the Mirror
Some guys visit Florida to swim
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124 J u ly / A u g u s t 2 0 1 2 MEN ’ S HEALTH
T W O EM ;
Ryan Lochte’s quest for speed and swimming perfection
By Jim Thornton
Illustrations by
with dolphins. I’ve come to swim with Ryan
Lochte. If you haven’t heard much about this
man-porpoise hybrid, you will soon. Lochte was
named FINA Swimmer of the Year after winning
five gold medals at the 2011 World Championships. It was there that he finally and decisively
emerged from the wake of his friend and rival
Michael Phelps. Not only did Lochte, 27, vanquish the octo-golden boy in their head-to-head
races, but Lochte’s winning time of 1:54.00 in
the 200-meter individual medley was the first
world record set since performance-enhancing
suits were banned in 2009. “The World
Championships were just an appetizer of what
I’m capable of doing,” Lochte tells me.
Some of Lochte’s physical gifts were conferred
at birth: broad, flexible shoulders to power his
stroke, hyperextending knees to bolster his kick.
But genetics is only a starting point. He averages
40 miles of interval training over nine swim
practices a week. Often he’s rigged up to contraptions designed to make a hard sport harder.
Case in point: This morning, Lochte dons a belt
connected by pulleys to a cable tower that’s
calibrated to 50 pounds; as he swims, he’s
raising the weight. It mimics the fatigue at the
end of a race, when your arms and legs feel
like lead. He reels off a dozen 15-second sprints,
but his stroke never turns to garbage.
Four days a week, Lochte’s strength and conditioning coach, Matt DeLancey, directs grueling
90-minute sessions. Today’s first circuit, for
instance, began with Lochte hoisting a medicine
ball overhead and then slamming it onto a 30-inch
elevated box. As the ball bounced, Lochte leaped
up and snagged it in midair before he landed on
the platform. After 5 reps, he moved to the next
exercises: five snatches with a heavy barbell; five
heavy deadlifts; and finally, a 20-yard sprint. After
a 1-minute rest, he repeated the circuit. By the end
of the fifth round, his arms and legs were twitching. This high-power, low-rest approach, says
DeLancey, extends Lochte’s endurance by forcing
his muscles to adapt and burn lactic acid more efficiently. On a deeper level, it has helped him learn
to live within—and even embrace—a world of hurt.
A swimmer’s forearms and core are where
strength gains from exercises done on land transfer best to performance in the water, DeLancey
says. Forearm strength, for example, is essential
to the ability to catch the water and hold it throughout the propulsive phase of the stroke. That’s one
reason Lochte’s second circuit involves lots of
strongman-inspired moves that fry his forearms—
farmer’s walks, battling-rope waves, sledgehammer hits. But as hard as it is to swim with weak
oars, inadequate core strength makes it impossible
to achieve any velocity. Swimming is 90 percent
core driven, says Lochte. A strong core keeps you
Faster acceleration
and the ability to
maintain peak
velocity will boost
performance in any
game you play.
The secret to speed is patience
and relaxation, says Tyson Gay,
one of the few men to have
recently beaten Usain Bolt in the
100 meters. To perfect your form,
Gay recommends running in place
in front of a mirror while holding
two 15-pound dumbbells. “Make
sure your shoulders are relaxed,
and let the weights pull your
arms into a natural swing,” says
Gay. Go as hard as you can for
10 seconds. That’s 1 set. Rest for
30 seconds and repeat. Do 8 sets.
streamlined and transfers power to your shoulders and hips for pulling and kicking. That’s why
Lochte does 30 minutes of ab work every day.
Lochte’s first form lesson came at age 8, courtesy of his coach: his Cuban-born mom. She
taught him that strength alone is not enough; the
best swimmers learn to slice through the water
with minimal resistance. Though his mother’s
instruction left Lochte with great technique, he’s
had to make refinements as the sport has evolved.
Without a doubt, one of the biggest of those
tweaks has been SDKs, or streamlined dolphin
kicks. Many elite swimmers can travel under
water faster than they can swim on the surface.
Remaining submerged, it turns out, eliminates a
form of drag that occurs topside. Using core drills
in the gym and breath-holding kick sets in the
pool—sometimes wearing fins or tennis shoes—
Lochte has fashioned himself into the world’s
fastest underwater dolphin kicker. He recently
SDK’d 50 meters in 22.9 seconds—on his back.
Compare that to last year’s winning freestyle time
at the World Championships, 21.52.
As remarkable as Lochte is physically, his
mindset is what truly sets him apart. It’s a blend
of savage intensity combined with a “What, me
worry?” nonchalance. “I’ve worked with some
tough athletes,” says DeLancey, who also trains
the University of Florida’s Olympic volleyball
and track teams. “There’s none tougher than
Ryan. He’s not afraid to throw up.” In fact, Lochte
seeks opportunities to toughen his ferocious
Twist for
Any sport that depends
on trunk rotation for
speed and acceleration—
from golf to baseball to
mixed martial arts—
requires a strong, stable
core. To train his core,
national champion sprint
kayaker Ryan Dolan does
Russian twists with his
feet elevated. Sit on the
floor with your knees
bent and feet flat. Hold
your arms straight out
in front of you, palms
together. Lean back so
your torso is at a 45degree angle, and raise
your feet a few inches off
the floor. Now rotate your
torso to the right and
then the left as fast as
you can for 30 seconds.
Rest for 30 seconds.
That’s 1 set; do 2 more.
spirit. “Pain, tolerance, endurance—when it
comes down to that point, there’s always something left. You just have to find it,” says Lochte.
Training half to death, of course, guarantees
a less-than-stellar midseason performance, and
this is where Lochte’s chill personality kicks in.
At a meet in late March, Phelps beat him by 3 seconds in the 200 I.M. Lochte didn’t like losing,
but he wasn’t particularly disheartened. “During
heavy training, I’m not great because I’m so beat
up,” he says. By the time London’s big show rolls
around, he’ll be tapered, rested, and ready to go.
For me, the big show is now. As a swimmer,
I’ve placed as high as fourth in the world master’s
rankings. But here in the 50-meter pool with
Lochte, I feel like a saddled schnauzer at the
Kentucky Derby. We’ve agreed on a head start
so I can watch. Lochte pushes off in my direction.
Even swimming at quarter speed, he torpedoes
off the wall with such cetacean grace that it’s hard
to believe we’re the same species. He takes his
first stroke around the 10-meter mark. His stroke
is elegantly efficient, his body perfectly streamlined, his body roll timed to channel the power
of his core into each arm pull. His four-beat kick
keeps the whole kinetic chain in balance.
At the far wall, Lochte somersaults, plants his
feet with toes pointing skyward, and then
pushes off on his back. At this point his outstretched arms resemble a marlin’s bill—biceps
squeezed tight above his ears, overlapping
hands fused into one, fingertips narrowing to
Tim Morehouse is a
fencer, but he trains like
a sprinter. “It takes only
1 to 8 seconds to score
a point during a match,”
says Morehouse, who
won silver in Beijing. “To
beat my competitor, I
need to hit peak speed
immediately and maintain it.” To improve his
acceleration and build
speed stamina, he does
treadmill and hill intervals: After a good warm­up, sprint up a hill (or set
your treadmill to a steep
incline) for 8 seconds.
Then jog down for
30 seconds. Do this a
total of 10 times.
Triathlete Hunter Kemper
is heading to his fourth
Olympics. One drill that
helps him feel more comfortable when he’s going
fast are easy speed
intervals. “You accelerate gradually to a fast
speed, but not an all-out
sprint,” he says. “Then
you just hold it.” Do these
to cap off an aerobic session: In the pool, push
off and take 15 strokes
to accelerate. Hold your
speed for 10 strokes, and
then cruise to the wall.
Recover your breath.
Repeat 6 times. On the
bike, accelerate for 30
seconds until you reach
a fast pace. Hold it for 15
seconds, and then cruise
for 30 seconds. Recover
your breath. Repeat 6
times. On the road, accelerate for 50 yards, run
for 30, and then cruise
for 20. Repeat 6 times.
a point that skewers the water. For the first
second or two he glides forward, the only movement a gradual rotation from back to side.
This is when the SDKs start: a series of kicks
that gather force from his core through his hips
and knees and ankles until his feet whip like a
dolphin’s tail. His kicks seem effortless, the
only hint of the power fueling them, the circular
concussion waves that bloom at the surface.
After six kicks, he takes his first pull.
For the rest of our 100 meters, Lochte stays
relaxed, never leaving first gear. This allows me to
keep up by swimming in my own third gear. Like
most guys, I have four gears. An elite athlete may
have seven. Lochte’s total is harder to tally, because
he keeps discovering new ones. After years of
pushing himself to his limits and beyond, he’s bolstered by a hard-earned confidence that his best
is yet to come. “I know I haven’t had those perfect
swims yet,” he says. As much as I’ve enjoyed my
swim with Ryan Lochte today, I can’t help but pity
those who’ll swim against him in London.
what winners eat
190 lb
Calories burned swimming
intervals for 30 minutes
Ryan Lochte’s Secret Fuel
“My recovery meal is two grilled
chicken breasts with Alfredo sauce,
whole-grain spaghetti, and a salad
with lemon juice and olive oil.”
olympic muscle
Go Longer, Go Harder
A typical day for Beijing Olympian
and Team USA rower Giuseppe
Lanzone includes 2 hours of intervals on the water, followed by an
hour of weightlifting in the gym.
“Rowing is a brutal test of power
and endurance,” he says. “You’re
using all your major muscles.” For
Lanzone, 26, the foundation of
power and stamina is core stability,
and he builds it with these exercises, performed as a circuit. Hold
each for 30 seconds, and then rest
for 30 seconds. Do three circuits.
Side plank: Lie on your right side,
prop yourself up on your right forearm, and raise your hips so your
body is straight from ankles to
head. Hold 30 seconds. Switch sides
and repeat. Plank: Assume a pushup position but with your weight
on your forearms and toes. Swiss
ball back extension: Lie facedown
with your hips over a Swiss ball and
your feet secured beneath a bench
or sturdy chair. Lift your torso
so your body forms a straight line.
Fancy Up Your Footwork
What you need to know about
tae kwon do: It emphasizes kicks,
specifically spinning kicks to the
head. Those score four points,
compared with one point for a
punch to the head. Spinning kicks
are a specialty for Steven Lopez,
33, who’s already won two gold
medals and wants a third in London. To kick with power and accuracy, Lopez needs to be able to
do on one leg anything the rest of
us can do on two. So he performs
pistol squats—butt-to-calves deepknee bends with one leg extended
in front. “You can’t lift your leg
if you have a weak core,” he says.
“That’s the basis for everything.”
Start with this version: Stand on
your left foot near the edge of a low
box or bench, with your right foot
hanging off. Push your hips back
and lower yourself as far as you
can. Shoot for 2 or 3 sets of 8 to 10
reps with each leg. For counter­
balance, hold a dumbbell with both
arms extended in front of you.
MEN ’ S HEALTH j u ly / a u g u s t 2 0 1 2
olympic muscle
Make More Muscle
John Orozco’s favorite exercise is
called the ice cream maker, but it’s
also a magnificent upper-body
muscle maker. “Do a chinup. Then,
as you descend and straighten your
arms, simultaneously lift your hips
and feet until your body is parallel
to the ground,” he says. Sets of
20 are cake for the 19-year-old
national team gymnast. You? One
good rep would be great. You’ll
have better luck with his leg lifts:
Grab a chinup bar using an overhand grip just wider than your
shoulders. Lift your legs, keeping
them straight, until your toes touch
the bar. Try to complete 2 sets of 5.
Take solace in knowing that Orozco
trains 6 hours a day, 6 days a week,
12 months a year, for a sport in
which events last from 6 to 40 seconds. But he needs more than just
brute strength: “You’re releasing
the bar, flipping and twisting, then
catching it again—it’s tricky and
scary,” says national team coach
Vitaly Marinitch. “It takes bravery.”
128 J u ly / A u g u s t 2 0 1 2 MEN ’ S HEALTH
Detonate on Command
They call it the gauntlet: Five men
line up in the pool’s deep end, and
one lucky guy swims up to the first
one and wrestles with him for 15
seconds. The reward for getting
past him is grappling with the next
four. “It’s 90 seconds of suffering,”
says Ryan Bailey, 36, a center for
USA Water Polo. Games are a 32minute aquatic fight club: Players
battle for every possession, using
such tactics as knees to the groin,
yanking armpit hair, and wedgies.
They swim up to 2 miles and hurl
the ball at 55 miles an hour. To
power up your own game, do these
intervals: After swimming 200
yards at an easy pace to warm up,
swim all-out for 50 yards. Rest 30
seconds and repeat, for a total of
10 sprints. Next, do rise-ups: Tread
water for 20 seconds, circling your
legs in opposite directions. Then
kick hard and jump out of the
water as high as possible. After 10,
rest with 20 seconds of easy treading. Aim for 3 sets.
olympic muscle
the medal round
20 more fitness-boosting tips from america’s greatest athletes
balance better
More than razzledazzle moves, agility
is a winning mix of
strength, balance,
stability, and superior
reaction time.
Trey Hardee, the 2011
decathlon world champion, does speed skaters
to stay sharp. Stand on
your right foot with your
left foot behind your right
ankle. Bend your right
knee and bound to the
left, reaching toward the
floor with your right
hand. Land on your left
foot and bring your
right foot behind your
left ankle. Jump back to
the right, landing on
your right foot as you
reach toward the floor
with your left hand.
Do 3 sets of 10, resting
30 seconds in between.
To slalom faster through
big bodies on the hoops
court, forward Carmelo
Anthony trains with ladder drills. Create your
own warmup by marking
off four to eight consecutive 18-inch squares and
doing moves that mimic
the activity you’re about
to perform. Hop through
as fast as you can for 20
seconds, going forward
and backward. Then mix
it up: left leg only, right
leg only, sideways, high
knees. Do 10 sets with 20
seconds’ rest after each.
Step LIVELier
London-bound table
tennis maestro Timothy
Wang hones his footwork
with this partnered cone
drill: Arrange six numbered cones in a 6-foot
circle. Stand in the center
and have your partner call
out numbers. Sidestep to
the corresponding cone
and then race back to the
center. At any point, your
partner can throw a
10-pound medicine ball
to you. Twist and squat
to the side of your body
where you caught it.
Do three 20-second intervals with 30 seconds of
rest in between.
Fly Higher
“Gravity is a diver’s number one enemy,” says
David Boudia, winner of
14 national championships. He fights the good
fight against gravity by
Technically, power is
defined as force times doing a variety of box
jumps at different heights,
distance over time.
sometimes with dumbInformally, it’s the
bells. Your version: Jump
speed at which you
can use your strength. to the highest box you can
while maintaining smooth
landings. Step down
and repeat. Do 2 or 3 sets
of 5 to 8 jumps.
Play Your Game
The best training doesn’t feel like
training at all. World champion
high jumper Jesse Williams
spends his off-season playing
basketball. “It’s fun, and it trains
you to react and jump faster off
both legs,” he says. Steffen Peters,
the 2011 World Dressage Masters
champ­ion (think horse ballet),
plays tennis. Then there’s gymnast
John Orozco, who recovers from
his grueling workouts by playing
laser tag. “You’re sprinting,
jumping, and squatting,” he says.
“It’s draining, but fun!”
olympic rivalry
China is gunning for
the overall medal title
the United States won
in Beijing. Traditionally, China taps promising toddlers and
enrolls them in one of
3,000 state-sponsored
training programs.
That tradition continues, but this year, 70
Chinese athletes are
using instructors from
Arizona-based Athletes’
Performance, which
also trains members
of Team USA. The
takeaway: To vanquish
your nemeses, steal
their tactics.
130 J u ly / A u g u s t 2 0 1 2 MEN ’ S HEALTH
olympic rivalry
Ryan Lochte
Michael Phelps
190 lb
burned doing
tae kwon do
for 30 minutes
Secret Fuel
“My competition-day
snack is a peanut butter
and jelly sandwich: It’s
easy to digest and gives me
sustained energy.”
burned playing
water polo
for 30 minutes
Secret Fuel
“My power breakfast is
gluten- and dairy-free
buckwheat banana
pancakes with fruit.”
250 lb
forge totalbody fitness
what winners eat
Wipe Away Weakness
U.S. pole vault record
holder Brad Walker muscles his 185-pound body
over a bar nearly 20 feet
high. One drill that develops the required core
strength and hip mobility
is the windshield wiper.
He does it hanging from a
pullup bar; you can start
out on the floor. Lie on
your back and lift your
feet, with your hips and
knees bent 90 degrees.
Rotate your thighs to the
right until your outer
thigh touches the floor.
Then rotate to the left and
touch. Do 3 sets of 10.
what winners eat
Swimming ’s mar­
quee event is the
200-meter I.M. (individual medley). To win
it, Lochte will need to
stay close in the butterfly, establish a lead
in the back­stroke
and breaststroke legs,
and then hang on in
the freestyle, says
Anders Rasmussen,
a swimming analyst.
Phelps’s strategy: Go
out fast, stay close,
and surge ahead in the
freestyle. Knowing
your limits and pacing
a race perfectly are
critical to winning.
At 5'7" and 185 pounds,
2012 national weightlifting champion and 2008
Olympian Kendrick Farris
can clean-and-jerk 447
pounds—the equivalent
of hoisting an adult black
bear over his head. Like
all Olympic lifts, the clean
and jerk is highly technical, but you can learn a
version called the high
pull, which delivers many
of the same total-body
benefits. Grab a barbell
using a shoulder-width,
overhand grip, and hold it
at midshin; keep your feet
flat, hips back, shoulders
down, and chest out. The
first part of the high pull
is a deadlift, but instead
of stopping when the bar
reaches your thighs, continue the upward trajectory with a powerful
shoulder shrug, and rise
up on your toes. Bend
your elbows to allow the
bar to come up to chest
level. Do 3 sets of 5, resting 2 minutes in between.
Gain weight, gain
You know how draining it
is to run in sand. Imagine
sprinting, jumping, shuffling, and diving through it
for hours at a time. That’s
why 2008 beach volleyball gold medalist Phil
Dalhausser wears a
25-pound vest while he
trains. It helps build his
“sand legs”—muscles
that make him feel lighter
and more explosive. Try
two of his drills, wearing
a weighted vest or a backpack loaded with sand.
Start with jump squats:
Jump as high as you can,
land on your toes, and
immediately descend for
the next squat. Then try
pop-ups (add the weighted
vest after you’re comfortable with the move): Start
on your belly, pop up to
your feet, and jump. Do 3
sets of 5 reps of each.
Snatch speed
and strength
World champion high
jumper Jesse Williams
doesn’t lift weights in
competition, but he
depends on lifting. “The
stronger you are in the
Olympic lifts, the quicker
you’re able to put force
into the ground to jump,”
he says. His go-to move is
the snatch; the best regularguy version is the dumbbell single-arm snatch.
Hold a dumbbell in your
right hand just below
knee height, with your
feet shoulder-width apart
and knees slightly bent.
Thrust your hips forward
as you straighten your
knees, shrug your shoulders, and rise up on your
toes. Let momentum
carry the weight to chest
height as you bend your
elbow. Now rotate your
upper arm and push your
hips back so your body dips
as your arm straightens.
The weight will be over
your shoulder and your
legs straight. Do 3 sets
of 5 reps with each arm.
Win Power Ball
To upgrade from the silver he won
in the decathlon at the 2011 world
championships, Ashton Eaton
knows he has to improve his
throws by generating more upperbody explosiveness. To dial up his
voltage, he’s doing more medicine
ball work. Do three rounds of this
medicine ball circuit, with 45 seconds of rest in between sets.
Slam down: Hold the ball above
your head and slam it down forcefully. Catch it and repeat for a total
of 10 times. Chest pass: Stand
5 feet from a wall with your feet
shoulder-width apart, holding the
ball at chest height. Using both
hands, throw as hard a pass as
you can at the wall. Catch the ball
and repeat for a total of 10 times.
Lateral: Stand sideways to the
wall, holding the ball at chest
height. Rotate forcefully, rising
a little, and release the ball;
catch it. Repeat for a total of 10
times (5 each side).
olympic muscle
what winners eat
Wrangle a
Stronger Core
Win with Consistency
If you can maintain
your performance as
your rivals weaken,
it almost guarantees
that you’ll win more
often than not.
Don’t try to match miles
with Olympic marathoner
Meb Keflezighi, who runs
100-plus of them every
week. Instead, focus on
maintaining a consistent
pace with his once-a-week
interval drill. “You’ll run
with more composure,
which will help you run
faster,” he says. Warm up
at an easy pace for 1 mile.
Time yourself as you run
8 quarter-mile repeats,
each at the fastest pace
you can maintain for the
entire drill. Your rest
period is the same as your
quarter-mile pace. Finish
with a relaxing 2-mile jog.
lift longer
olympic rivalry
Usain Bolt
Usain Bolt
No one can touch the
blazing Jamaican’s
world-record speed—
9.58 seconds in the
100 meters, 19.19 in
the 200. But as his
false-start disqualifi­
ca­­tion at the 2011
World Champ­ion­ships
showed, Usain Bolt
can beat himself. To
avoid complacency,
set your goals higher:
Bolt is seeking to top
the three gold medals
he won at the 2008
Beijing Games by also
running the 4 x 400-​
meter relay in London.
Your heart isn’t the only
muscle that needs stamina. U.S. national team
rower Glenn Ochal uses
this drill to build endurance in his back, shoulders, and biceps: Set an
adjustable flat bench at a
low incline. Lie facedown,
holding a light barbell
with an overhand grip.
Why a light barbell?
Because you’re going to
do chest-supported rows
for a long time. Ochal
goes for 7 straight
minutes with 75 pounds,
shooting for 200 total
reps. “It’s a good burn,”
he says. A regular guy
should shoot for 30 to 60
seconds. Rest for twice as
long as you worked, and
repeat at least once.
132 J u ly / A u g u s t 2 0 1 2 MEN ’ S HEALTH
Performance depends
on the muscle you
build in the weight
room and the skillspecific practice that
allows you to use it.
G iuseppe
climb pyramids
Pyramid schemes have
a justifiably bad rep in
finance. But pyramid
intervals are a great way
to work up to your maximum heart rate. Rower
Dan Walsh, a 2008
bronze medalist, does six
10-minute intervals on
the rowing machine,
starting with 18 strokes
a minute on the first and
working up to 24 a minute
by the fourth. Then he
works back down to 18
for the final interval. Sixty
minutes of this is all-pro
level, but you can use the
pyramid technique for any
endurance sport, with any
interval length. Shoot for
20 minutes of short intervals (30 to 60 seconds)
or 30 minutes of longer
challenges. Just make
sure you hit your fastest
pace in the middle interval, and work at an easy
pace for at least a minute
in between.
rowing for
30 minutes
Secret Fuel
“I make a power shake
out of chocolate
milk, almond butter,
and a whey-casein
protein-powder mix.”
To strengthen his core and shoulders, swimmer Michael Phelps
uses this battling-rope circuit. Do
the first exercise for 30 to 45 seconds, rest 15 seconds, and move on
to the next. When you’ve done all
three, rest 1 minute and then do
two more circuits. Grab a rope end
in each hand and stand with your
feet shoulder-width apart, knees
slightly bent. This is the starting
position for all three exercises.
Up and down: Make waves by lifting and lowering both arms as fast
and hard as you can while keeping
the rest of your body braced.
In and out: Move your arms out to
either side and back in as fast and
hard as you can, creating lateral
waves. Alternating: Do the up-anddown wave, but alternate arms so
one is up when the other is down.
Stay low to
get strong
Keeping a low center of
gravity is crucial in most
sports, none more so
than wrestling. Jordan
Burroughs, a world
champion at 163 pounds,
uses this walking side
lunge drill: Stand with
your feet shoulder-width
apart. Push your hips
back and squat low
enough for your hands to
touch the floor. Without
raising your body, take a
long step to the left with
your left foot and drop
into a side lunge, with
your left knee bent and
right knee straight. Bring
your right foot toward
your left so you’re back
in the original squat position. Repeat until you’ve
finished a circle roughly
10 feet in diameter.
Rest 30 seconds, and
then circle in the
other direction by lunging to your right.
Grow a bigger
pair (of legs)
For Matt Chrabot, one of
America’s top-ranked triathletes, balanced leg
strength is a key to swimming, riding, and running
faster, and the single-leg
deadlift helps him achieve
it. Grab a pair of light
dumbbells—Chrabot uses
15-pounders—and stand
on your left foot. Lift your
right leg and bend the
knee so your shin is parallel to the floor. Push your
hips back as you bend forward and slowly lower
your body as far as you
can, or until your right leg
nearly touches the floor.
Pause and push yourself
back up. Do 10 reps,
switch legs, and repeat.
Rest 2 minutes and do
2 more sets with each leg.
Swing to victory
Kerron Clement, 2008
silver medalist in the
400-meter hurdles, hates
the final third of a race.
“As you fatigue, your form
starts to slip, which can
cause you to stutter-step
and slow down.” Clement
focuses on the posteriorchain muscles, primarily
the glutes and hamstrings, so they continue
to provide propulsion
when he needs it most.
The kettlebell single-arm
swing is a classic for the
posterior chain: Stand
with your feet shoulderwidth apart, holding the
kettlebell in your left
hand in front of you.
Push your hips back as
you swing it through
your legs, and then snap
your hips forward to
bring it up to chest level.
Do 5 sets of 5 reps with
each arm, resting 30
seconds between sets.
230 lb
go hard core
Swimmer Tyler Clary
has a gut-wrenching
approach to core training—
literally. His U.S. record in
the 400-meter individual
medley is just over 4 minutes, so he trains by doing
this plank variation: He
extends his right arm and
left leg for 30 seconds,
and then switches to the
opposite arm and leg, and
continues like that . . . for
4 minutes. “By that time
my body is convulsing,”
he says. Regular-guy version: Do the arm-and-leg
raise for 15 seconds,
switch sides, and repeat
for a minute. Rest a
minute and repeat.
what winners eat
Hammer Out
Bigger Forearms
Olympic-level badminton, where
the shuttlecock flies 75 mph, bears
little resemblance to the backyard
whiff-fests you grew up playing.
“You generate 75 percent of the
power from your forearm and
wrist,” says Howard Bach, a player
heading to his third Olympics. You
also have to repeat that effort over
and over, which is why Bach does
this endurance-building drill during training or while watching
TV at home: Grab a hammer or
light dumbbell, rest your elbow
on your thigh, and make figure 8s
moving only at the wrist joint. Go
for 10 minutes if you can, switch
hands, and repeat. If you can’t go
that long, stop when you need to
and alternate hands until you’ve
completed 10 minutes total.
Build Lean Muscle
Middle-distance runners
need to be strong and
lean. That’s why Lopez
Lomong, a 2008 Beijing
Olympian in the 1,500
meters, does this circuit,
holding a 25-pound
kettlebell in each hand at
arm’s length: 1 Walk
50 yards; rest 5 seconds.
2 Do 10 squats; rest 5 seconds. 3 Do 10 lunges with
each leg; rest 2 minutes.
Repeat for a total
of three circuits.
olympic rivalry
Ralph Lauren
vs. Stella
Call it new cool versus
old school. It’s not
that we don’t appre­
ciate the ultramodern aesthetic of the
uniforms that Stella
McCartney designed
for the British athletes. But the MH
style team is partial to
Ralph Lauren’s classic
red, white, and blue
take on the U.S. outfits. To wear white
shorts or white pants
stylishly this summer,
pair them with a simple navy polo shirt or
a bold-colored knit.
j ohn
156 lb
Burned Doing
for 30 Minutes
Secret Fuel
“My power snack is Chobani
Greek yogurt. I often eat
it before workouts for an
energy boost, and after for
a protein-packed snack.”
By Lila Battis, Kevin Cirilli, Ben Court,
Michael Easter, Michael Slenske,
Stephanie Smith, and Jill Yaworski