Build Your Olympic Body

Dec 12 / Build Muscle

musclemorphosis.comLegend has it, when Arnold Schwarzenegger was training for bodybuilding contests in his 20s, he'd study his form in a mirror and pick out his weakest points. Then he’d modify his workouts to emphasize these areas. When we look at Olympians, it’s just the opposite: We see their strong points, and we want to have them. We admire the rock-hard abs a gymnast uses to work the rings, the bulging quads that power a cyclist to victory, and a rower’s strong upper back powering the shell through water. So we asked our panel of perfect-body experts—seven Olympians currently in Lo...

musclemorphosis.comLegend has it, when Arnold Schwarzenegger was training for bodybuilding contests in his 20s, he'd study his form in a mirror and pick out his weakest points. Then he’d modify his workouts to emphasize these areas.

When we look at Olympians, it’s just the opposite: We see their strong points, and we want to have them. We admire the rock-hard abs a gymnast uses to work the rings, the bulging quads that power a cyclist to victory, and a rower’s strong upper back powering the shell through water. So we asked our panel of perfect-body experts—seven Olympians currently in London—about their best attribute and what they do to keep it in shape.

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A Volleyball Player’s Shoulders 

“If I had to pick one body part that we specifically work hard to build in the gym, I'd say it's the shoulders,” says beach volleyball player Jake Gibb, a two-time Olympian (he and his partner Sean Rosenthal placed fifth in Beijing).

Jake Gibb’s strong-shoulders move: Y, T, W
Lie chest down on a medicine ball (or on a flat bench) with five-pound dumbbells in each hand. Extend your arms toward the floor, your palms facing each other. Form a “T” with your arms outstretched to your sides. Do 10 reps. Then use your arms to form a “Y” above your head. Do 10 reps. Finally form a “W” bending at the elbows. Do 10 reps.

A Sprinter’s Arms

“By pumping a weight for 20 seconds, my arms are going to be more open when I’m sprinting, which allows me to get a bigger step and cover more ground,” says Tyson Gay, the Adidas sprinter who beat Usain Bolt in the 100m in Stockholm in 2010.

Tyson Gay’s arm exercise: Dumbbell Arm Swings
Put your left foot about three feet in front of your right so you’re in a staggered stance. Hold lightweight dumbbells at your sides. With your elbows bent at 90 degrees, drive your arms forward and back, as if you’re running with your upper body. Repeat for 20 seconds. That’s one set. Do three sets, switching the lead leg each set. (Flatten your belly and reveal six-pack abs with the FREE weekly tips in our musclemorphosis.com. Sign up today!)

A Gymnast’s Abs

“Gymnasts need to be able to lift our own weight, throw it around, and still have control of our bodies,” says John Orozco, who finished second at the U.S. Gymnastics Trials earlier this summer.

John Orozco’s abs move: V Ups

Lie flat on your back with your legs straight and arms extended above the top of your head. Raise your shoulders off the ground to form a “V” position, lifting your torso and legs as if you're trying to touch your toes. (Don't bend your knees or crane your neck.) Then lower your body back to the start. Hold each for 30 seconds. That’s one set. Orozco does 30 sets.

A Cyclist’s Quads

“There's a lot of crazy things you can do out there to build muscle, but the basics are what really work,” says Team Liquigas-Cannondale's Timmy Duggan, who was just crowned the 2012 USA Cycling Professional Road National Champion.

Timmy Duggan’s quad exercise: Box jumps

Stand in front of a sturdy, secure box that's high enough so that you have to jump with great effort in order to land on top of it. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Dip your knees. Jump up onto the box with a soft landing. Step down and reset your feet. See how many you can do in 30 seconds.

A Fencer’s Calves

“Calf muscles can help propel a fencer’s lunge, so having strong and explosive calves is really important,” says fencer Tim Morehouse, a silver medalist at Beijing.

Tim’s calf muscle move: Calf raise

Place a small sturdy block flat on the floor in front of you. The block should be just high enough to slightly elevate your feet. Place the balls of both feet on the block, about hip-width apart, with your heels hanging off the back of the block. Simultaneously drive your heels up and then lower them below the edge of the block. That's one rep. Do three sets of 20 reps. Want more ways to build up your chicken legs? Click here to find musclemorphosis.com.

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