The Fitness and Workout Regimens of Top AthletesCrew, · Categories: American Football, Basketball, Fitness of Top Athletes, Football (Soccer), Golf · Tags: Training
Professional athletes are by definition the most talented individuals at what they do. But to be successful and even one of the best, it takes more than relying on talent. The greatest players in their respective sports have intense workouts and dedicate an unimaginable amount of time each day to perfecting their craft. While no two sports or even positions are the same, one thing remains true; training and exercising harder than the competition can give players an edge. Through exploring the following five players’ workout regimen, you should get an idea of what it takes to succeed at the highest level.
No athlete can reach a high level of success without constantly working on their craft and technique, along with a workout plan to match. Lebron James is no different. His dedication is undeniable, for example his strict no-social-network policy during the playoffs to keep his mind on a game that can sometimes be as mental as it is physical. While he has popularly become known to exercise his brain by reading young-adult literature, he is always getting physical exercise as well.
James’ workouts span from the most basic to complex. He will often ride a bike for miles, even from his home to practice in Miami, for cardio. Push-ups and pull-ups are also staples of his regimen, along with bar and weight lifting. Dumbbell squats, cable rows, and lat pull downs are also included. For leg strengthening and durability, he will do various types of lunges and jumps while utilizing medicine balls and dumbbells. Overall, the exercises focus on improving core strength and muscle endurance.
Lebron’s diet has recently made headlines because he began following the Paleo diet, which emphasizes lean meats and low carbs. He has since lost a noticeable amount of weight, but whether that’ll last during training leading up to and during the season has yet to be determined.
Tiger Woods took the golfing world by storm, dominating every stage of the game, to the point where golf tournaments have had to “Tiger-proof” their courses. Woods’ power and endurance are unmatched in the golf world, and this is purely a product of one of the more intense workout regimen’s in not only golf, but all of sports. Some have even said his workouts can be on par with Navy SEALs training.
In 2007, Men’s Fitness gave details on Woods routine with his trainer Ken Kleven. Woods’ routines revolve around two components: Manual therapy and high-rep weight training. The manual training component involves intense stretching to ensure maximum flexibility. Then he begins his high-rep weight training where he will do dozens of reps with (relatively) lighter weights. Woods will use basically every machine and technique possible, from bench-pressing to row machines. Back and chest are his two main focuses, but he tries to attack each muscle in his body. As he told Men’s Fitness that “I do different things so the muscles don’t get accustomed to doing the same thing all the time.” These trainings can go on for many hours and he will do the regimen six days a week, even when he’s golfing. Although many claim that his insistence on doing these workouts have led to his injury issues, there’s no denying that they were what allowed him to be the dominant force that he was for so many years.
Peyton Manning isn’t the strongest or fastest quarterback by a long shot. Instead of pure speed or immense strength, Manning relies on perfect footwork, pocket presence, and precise throws to gain an edge over the opponents. His main technique for maintaining and improving his elite status is to throw, throw, and throw again. He will stay after practice for hours with receivers ensuring that they’re on the same page and that their connections are second nature.
While much of Manning’s skill comes from his brains and technique, he does still go through pretty intense training workouts too to stay in shape. Inside the gym, Manning focuses on his arms and back in order to ensure his throws make it to the receivers quickly and anywhere on the field. Exercises include back hypers and dumb-bell bench presses. On the practice field, Manning will use bungee resistance and shuffle training exercises to strengthen his footwork and power during his drop backs.
J.J. Watt plays on the other side of the ball from Peyton Manning, and his position on the defensive line requires a very different regimen from Manning’s. Watt’s greatness comes from his strength and agility when the ball is hiked, registering a league-best 20.5 sacks in 2012. His gifts were revealed in the combine when he finished second in the broad and vertical jump while also finishing tied for 4th with 34 reps in the bench press.
Watt, according to Grantland, is almost Spartan in his approach to exercise and training. Unlike many other players profiled, he is all about maxing out and bulking up. His weight lifting and exercises focus on the use of kettlebells, dumbbells, and squat bars more than cardio machines like rowing machines. Specific workouts include chaos lunges, bench and floor presses, and box squats, among plenty others. The training combines intense lower body exercises to ensure he has the powerful jump that helps him speed past linemen, and intense arm training to let him push past linemen and punish running backs. In order to maintain his fitness levels, he refrains from certain unhealthy foods and alcohol, and focuses on fruits, vegetables and carbs. Watt also avoids overusing supplements.
Swimming is a sport where the difference between first and second place can be hundredths of a second. Therefore, every tiny edge in endurance and strength that a swimmer has can be the difference between winning gold and disappointment. Since Michael Phelps broke onto the swimming scene during the 2004 Olympics, his jaw-dropping diet and exercises gained nearly as much notoriety.
Phelps exercises both outside and inside the water. He will swim for miles a day, often for more than five hours every day a week except one rest day. His swimming exercises include regular endurance swims for distance and exercises to specifically improve certain kicks or strokes. Phelps also uses training equipment to target certain muscles, including a kick-board to isolate his legs and training paddles. Along with the swimming, Phelps also works out in a gym three times a week. Since he doesn’t want to bulk up, he focuses on high-rep and low-weight workouts like pull-ups and sit-ups.
Obviously this much exercise requires plenty of nutrients to burn, and for Phelps that means a diet that involves, at its peak, a rumored 12,000 calories. His diet contains plenty of eggs and carbs for breakfast and pasta or related foods that are high-in-carbs for lunch and dinner.