The Olympic athlete strength challenge

Team AX July 30, 2012 Training Articles
The Olympic athlete strength challenge

Swimming was not thought of as an Olympic highlight until Michael Phelps stepped on the platform. Well, Ryan Lochte got tired of being outshined by Phelps. Lochte embarked on a strength journey outside the normal realms. He called upon a former strongman to amp up his off-season training routine. This routine has already paid dividends as Lochte already secured one gold medal in the 2012 Olympic games. It’s time to put on your swim cap and dive into his off-season strength program!

Tire flipping is common in the strongman world, but you would never catch a swimmer doing tire flips, right? Well, for Lochte, that was not the case. He flipped tires for a WARM-UP. Not just any tire, but a 650 pound tire. He did not stop there and would move up to a tire of over 800 pounds! He stated that this move is what helps kickstart his backstroke. In case you missed it, the backstroke is Lochte’s strength during competition.

After the brutal warm-up, Lochte moved to other exercises like the keg toss. This is not some simple move performed by your drunken frat buddy. It involves tossing the keg over and behind your head as high as possible. The move is risky, but has paid huge dividends in his training. He used other strongman exercises, like chain dragging, which he used chains from 450 to nearly 600 pounds. He had to drag the chain 350 feet across the pavement. This is taxing on every part of the body and requires tremendous strength.

Lochte also completed other movements like the overhead press with a metal “log”. An Olympic athlete would not quit there! He also incorporated rope swings. This involves a thick rope that is around 20 feet in length and 2 inches thick, attached to a fixed surface. The ropes are lifted, one in each arm, and then the ropes are swung up and down from the shoulder. This requires endurance and shoulder strength as the lactic acid burn is very intense.

This session is usually performed once per week for over two hours. This is on top of his normal strength training which takes up six hours throughout the week. If you add all of this time to his time in the pool, you can tell this is quite a bit more than a full time job.

Lochte has shown that this type of routine is well worth the efforts. In his first head-to-head matchup for medals, he stomped Michael Phelps. Lochte already has achieved one gold in his first Olympic event this year. Time will only tell how many more he will bring home. Whether you are Team Lochte or Team Phelps, you are still Team USA! Bring it home fellas!

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