People all over the world tuned into the recent Summer Olympics in Tokyo to be amazed by the world’s best athletes — and to be inspired by them.
We mere mortals of any age can pick up tips, apply them to our own movement and exercise patterns, and try to keep our performance as high as possible. That’s true whether you’re just starting your fitness program or if you participate in big events.
So, if you found yourself watching the athletes and thinking, “How do they do that” – well, here are a few basic pointers from trainers all across the USA. Resistance training at a gym or fitness studio is essential for strength, endurance, and agility.
For any track-and-field events, first get your running form assessed for arm-leg coordination, gait issues, and how your arms swing, says Summer Stevenhagen Montabone, owner of Summer’s Fitness in Canton, Ohio.
“In track action, your power comes from the glutes (or butt muscles),” she says. “The front is for show, and the back is for go.”
Sprinting is a fun way to practice high-intensity interval training. It needs powerful glutes and stronger arms than we associate with most running, says Atlanta’s Myrie Jackson. You want to develop leg and arm strength for maximum power and velocity.
If running a marathon is on your bucket list, you can find training programs to get you ready in 16 to 20 weeks, says certified USA Track & Field coach Jonathan Poston of Asheville, North Carolina. But he recommends taking a year to build up the endurance needed to run 26.2 miles.
That will mean logging a lot of miles every week – and varying lengths depending on your training and recovery schedule. Start small. Gradually increase weekly long runs as the race date approaches.
If you want to lift like an Olympian, focus on the snatch and the clean & jerk, says trainer Sergio Pedemonte, CEO of Your House Fitness in Toronto.
“Have a timeline of when the game day is and prepare by considering differences between the off-season, pre-season, and in-season approaches,” Pedemonte says. Eat more calories than you burn if you want to get bigger.
The Olympics always fuel enthusiasm, says Frank Dennison, a personal trainer and the product manager for RockBox Fitness, a national franchise.
Boxing is good for heart health, muscle tone, agility, and developing hand, eye and feet coordination, he says. It also is used to mitigate symptoms of Parkinson’s and can boost mental agility.
>The National Senior Games attracts thousands of mature athletes for competitions like these and lots more. It is scheduled to return next year. You can learn how to join the fun here.
Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.