Six Olympic-inspired moves to add to your workout
As you’re watching Michael Phelps collect Olympic gold after Olympic gold, and Simone Biles vault her way to the top of the podium, it’s time to start thinking about your own Olympic training. Or, at the very least, Olympic-inspired training. That’s why we’ve consulted with Andia Winslow, professional athlete and sports performance and conditioning coach, to get her best Olympic-inspired moves.
Get ready for some serious gold-medal-worthy sweat.
1. Russian twists (kayak slalom, whitewater)
Do 10-15 on each side, repeat 3 sets
How: Sit on your butt with knees bent. This move can be done with feet elevated or grounded. While keeping legs steady, lean back slightly to create “V” shape with your body. Hips stay straight ahead while you twist your torso and extended your arms to the right, hold for a count, then twist to the left. The goal is to create the biggest separation between the legs and torso as possible.
Why: The greater torque – rotational spring effect – you create the better you’ll be able to maneuver the white caps on the slalom course.
2. Single leg bent knee tucks (track and field, sprints)
Do 15-20 on each side, repeat 3 sets
How: While seated, fully extend one leg and ground the foot, then bend the opposite leg in towards chest. This is the starting position. Next, switch the orientation of your legs. Every time there is a switch from bend to extend, the upper body/back will move toward (but not touch) the ground and return to the start position once the new knee is bent. To add difficulty, add arms. Opposite arm, opposite leg – like running. Next, add speed.
Why: Can a core exercise help you speed up on the track? You better believe it. Not only does this move work your midsection but it will get your heart pumping too as you speed up arm and leg action. You’ll develop coordination skills to boot.
3. Split jumps (fencing)
Do 8-10 on each side, repeat 3 sets
How: Start in lunge position with knees and feet facing in the same direction. Jump as high as possible by extending hips and knees and switch legs in midair. Use arms to help propel body skywards and land squarely and quietly. Repeat.
Why: There’s nothing quite like bodyweight-only moves that don’t require any equipment and require you to stick your landings in Olympic fashion.
4. Push press (weightlifting)
Do 10-15, repeat 3 sets
How: Grasp the Olympic Bar at shoulder-height with elbows bent, palms facing outwards and hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and slightly flex hips and knees while keeping core engaged and torso straight. Take a deep inhale and on a big exhale thrust bar directly overhead by straightening arms while driving through balls of feet and straightening (extending) hips and knees fully.
Why: Is a push press an Olympic move in itself? Not quite, but it is one of the most important upward movement phases of the Olympic clean and jerk. One critical part of the move is the “bar path” which must be vertical from floor through sky.
5. Superman (swimming, butterfly)
Do 10-15, repeat 3 sets
How: Lay on your stomach, with tops of feet grounded and arms extended towards your sides, palms up. While keeping the lower body as quiet as possible, squeeze glutes and elevate chest off of the floor as high as possible while reaching arms up and overhead. Arms return to sides as though sweeping through water. Repeat.
Why: Imagine soaring out of the water as high as possible on the upward part of this move and you will progress down the pool by “covering more ground” on each rep.
6. Tug of war
Best of 3
How: Divide into two equally-distributed teams (based on number and general strength). Mark the center of a battle rope with tape (or tie a flag or towel around the center) and mark the midpoint of competition on the ground. Opposing teams pull the rope in opposite directions trying to pull a majority of the rope past the midpoint.
Why: It’s one of the oldest sports and was actually an Olympic sport from 1900 until 1920; USA won all the medals in 1904.
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