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Team USA Olympic Athletes Reveal Their Go-to Workouts and Tips for Motivation

6 Team USA Athletes on How They’re Training for the Games

Do you ever marvel at the fitness of Team USA Olympic athletes and wonder how they make those seemingly impossible athletic feats possible? Their athleticism might seem unattainable, but it turns out many Team USA athletes actually use pretty straightforward workout tactics and motivation techniques in their training – they just happen to implement them in high-caliber ways to support their endeavors.

RELATED: Nutrition Tips From Team USA Olympic Athletes

While the 2021 Olympic Games certainly come with a lot of unprecedented and unfortunate changes, from a performance perspective, the extra year of preparation might prove to be beneficial for some athletes.

“The extra year definitely helped me a lot,” says Karate athlete Ariel Torres. “I was able to grow my understanding of my kata technique and dive deep into other aspects of my training like nutrition, physical preparation, and mental training.”

To get the inside scoop on just how some of our country’s best athletes are kicking their training into high gear – and what elements can be applied to your everyday workout at home – we caught up with a few Team USA members before they took off for Tokyo.

Surfer Caroline Marks of team USA during a Olympic exhibitionKeith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

Assault Bike, Battle Ropes, and Hydration

“I love using the assault bike a lot in addition to battle ropes,” the 19-year-old surfing phenom says. Marks adds that since surfing involves quite a bit of cardio exercise, adding strength training to her routine keeps her on track.

She notes that hydration and rest are key to her success as well. She plans to use Thorne products that include electrolytes to help replenish the water and salt she’ll lose as a result of the striking humidity in Japan.

“I’m also checking out my equipment and trying to practice on smaller waves since that’s what we’re going to see in Tokyo,” she adds.

Nathaniel Coleman of the USA competes during the men’s boulder finalsMarco Kost/Getty Images

Train in Different Areas and Find a Group

Like surfing, climbing is a new addition to the Olympics, and that means new demands and changes in the ways elite athletes like Coleman train for the Games. “The Olympics will be a combined format of speed bouldering, lead, and discipline-specific (in contrast to other competitions, which focus on just one area), so we have to be fit in three different ways,” he says.

Coleman notes that it’s a challenge to train your body to be ready for success in all three areas, but, in preparation, he spends at least 30 percent of his time strength training: weightlifting, squats, and deadlifts.

When it comes to motivation, he suggests finding a group of friends you can do your activity with (climbing, in his case) as that tends to push you harder and leads you to take on your desired activity more frequently.

Chris Hammer pours water over himself during the running stageDanny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images

Confidence and Rest

As a 35-year-old heading into his third Paralympic Games, Hammer could rest on the laurels of advanced age in elite athletics, but that counters his own motivation. “I had an experience within the last year or so when I was working with a sport scientist and he said ‘you’re just getting stronger and stronger – you shouldn’t look at Tokyo as your last one.’ I’m confident age isn’t going to get the best of me,” he says.

It’s a lighthearted, yet serious approach that helps to keep him young and nimble – along with getting plenty of rest, which he partly attributes to having kids. “I sleep a lot more than I used to,” he says. “It’s rare for me to see 11 p.m. or even midnight.”


RELATED: Pro Athletes’ Tips for Fitness Motivation


Ryan BoltonRyan Bolton

As a coach for elite endurance triathletes, Ryan Bolton works with some of the fastest and most adaptable bodies in the world. He says that one of the biggest things that helps his athletes is setting small, attainable goals as opposed to anything larger. “(Thinking about) what you want to accomplish, making adventures out of training, or keeping things simple. Or, maybe it’s planning a training vacation where you can train without any formal structure.”

He adds that the pandemic allowed athletes to not only explore the joy of what they were doing, but allowed them to focus more on weaknesses (as triathletes have to be unbelievably skilled in three sports).

As things opened up again, he brought the focus back to those small goals through “periodization.” Which means: “Whatever you’re training for, you start with a broader focus and your training gets more specific as your event gets closer.”

Roderick Townsend-Roberts of the USA looks on during the Men's T47 Long Jump Final Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

The 29-year-old’s approach to training focuses on diversity. One of his favorite workouts is something he and his coach call “continuous makes.”

“We put a high jump bar up that I should clear no problem ten times in a row, but if I miss it once, practice is over,” he says. The threat of ending on a whim keeps him on his toes. “Practices shouldn’t be perfect because competitions aren’t,” he adds.

Townsend’s coach won’t keep the bar at the same height every time, either. Some days it’s medium, some high, some low. It’s an applicable approach to any sport – switching things up to keep it interesting and to keep you guessing.

Ariel Torres of the USA in action during round 1 of the Men's Individual KataBryn Lennon/Getty Images

Although it seems obvious, the gym was not synonymous with Torres’ training before last December. “I had never gone to the gym, all I did was Karate,” he says. “As we get closer to the Olympics, I’m focusing more on short bursts of strength so weight training becomes important.”

Since mental and emotional preparation is a huge part of his sport, he has to walk into the dojo with a clear mind and purpose. “I know what I’m going to do, I know my plan and I know my goal,” he says. “I have to improve one percent. And not every day is a great day. Not every day I’m going to be the best version of myself, but it’s important that I continue to strive for that.”


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Due Credit: Askmen.com

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