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Give Your Fitness Routine an Olympics-Styled Makeover

Give Your Fitness Routine an Olympics-Styled Makeover

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By    |   Friday, 05 August 2016 11:15 AM

Inspired by the Olympic Games to launch a new fitness routine or give your workout regimen a makeover inspired by champions? You have plenty of company, says Dr. Timothy Miller, a sports medicine specialist with Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Miller notes that weekend warriors and armchair athletes of all stripes typically look to up their fitness game during the Olympics. That’s particularly true of older Americans who were once physically active, but have become sedentary with age.

“Without question the lead up to the Olympic Games and watching Olympic athletes compete at the highest level for their country inspires many recreational and weekend warrior athletes to get started with a new fitness program,” he tells Newsmax Health.

“Many individuals who were once active in sports during their teens and twenties feel the pressure of their careers and family responsibilities as they get older neglecting their health and childhood passions. Thankfully every four years Olympic athletes remind us of how important strength and physical fitness can be and evokes a nostalgia for our days as competitive athletes.”

Miller notes that while the Olympics feature the world’s best athletes — who have spent years building their strength and fitness — average Joes and Janes can also benefit from the rudimentary training exercises that are building blocks for all those Gold-, Silver-, and Bronze-medal winners.

“Many of these basic exercises can be incorporated safely and effectively as part of an average person's workout thus improving general health, balance, strength, and cardiovascular fitness,” he says. “Examples of these training techniques include eccentric and isometric strengthening, plyometrics, combination exercises, and interval workouts.”

To get you started, or kick up your regular workout a notch, Miller offers the following suggestions:


What is it? Interval training — sometimes called high-intensity interval training, or HIIT for short — involves short bursts of all-out high-intensity exercise that are separated by intervals of more moderate- or low-intensity exercise.

How is it done? Run, swim, or spin (on a stationary bike) as fast as you can for 10- to 20 seconds, then reduce your level of activity to a lower or more moderate rate for a minute or two. Work your way up to repeating the pattern at least five or six times for a total workout of 12 to 15 minutes (or longer, if you can) several times a week. Studies have shown such training is as effective as longer 30- to 40-minute workouts on a treadmill or bike for boosting cardiovascular fitness.

What Olympics athletes do this? Cyclists, distance runners, and others.


What is it? The most efficient way of strength training, eccentric exercises work your muscles during the negative part of weight lifting — when you’re lowering a barbell, for instance after a dead lift. Such exercises make your muscles strong, but not super bulky, in a short period of time.

How is it done? For a bicep curl, keep your arm muscles continuously contracted as you slowly lower the barbell after fully flexing your bicep to lift the weight up. Use a mirror to help you monitor and control your movements.

What Olympics athletes do this? Power lifters, others who require muscular strength.


What is it? For this type of weight and strength training, you hold your muscles in mid-lift to keep them contracted, instead of allowing them to extend. This helps with muscle conditioning and strength.

How is it done? When doing a bicep curl, hold the barbell in place halfway through the lift — for 30 seconds to a minute — then finish the curl. Hang on a pull-up bar you’re your elbows bent for up to a minute, before completing a chin-up.

What Olympics athletes do this? Gymnasts.


What is it? Explosive, powerful movements are used in this type of exercise to build strength and power — by jumping up a stairway, for instance, or onto boxes of various heights.

How is it done? Set up a series of workout boxes — available at most gyms — of different heights (18 inch, 24 inch, 36 inch). Jump up and onto each one one-by-one. If no boxes are available, use stairs — taking one, then two, then three at a time.

What Olympic athletes do this? High jumpers, pole vaulters, gymnasts, sprinters, basketball players.


What is it? This exercise technique combines multiple movements in a single exercise to work both the upper and lower body. The goal is to isolate three different muscle groups in one move.

How is it done? The most basic move is called a “lunge press.” To do one, hold a dumbbell in your hands, step forward to do a lunge, and then do an overhead press with the weights when you come out of the lunge. Repeat as many times as you can, walking your way across the gym floor.

What Olympic athletes do this? Gymnasts.

Miller notes that not all of these exercises work for everyone. But he suggests these Olympics-styled techniques can help inspire even the most sedentary individual to get in touch with his or her inner champion, while watching the games in Rio de Janeiro.

“Though Olympic athletes make many astonishing feats of strength and endurance look way too easy, their ability to perform those feats starts with very basic movements that they perfect through practice and repetition,” Miller says.


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Inspired by the Olympics to launch a new fitness routine or give your workout regimen a makeover inspired by champions? One of the nation’s top sports medicine specialists offers a handful of routines — based on typical Olympic training programs — for weekend warriors to try.
olympics, workout, fitness, routine
Friday, 05 August 2016 11:15 AM
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