1. Do a proper warm-up and cool-downSo important, yet so often overlooked. To begin with, an athlete should jog at an easy pace for around 10 minutes before moving into a dynamic warm up such as lunges or skipping for between 10 and 15 minutes. This helps to improve the body’s flexibility and coordination and will help reduce the risk of injuries during their event. For a post-workout cool down, the aim is to reduce muscle soreness (DOMS). Different recovery techniques can be used for this, including foam rolling, stretching and massage.
2. Get the correct amount of sleep (and more!)We hear this all the time, yet the majority of us rarely get enough high quality sleep. First of all, it is a big mistake to sit on your phone, laptop or even watch TV within 30 minutes of your bedtime. To ensure a deeper sleep, make your bedroom as dark as possible and let yourself drift off. If you're a highly active person and hit the gym most days, then you will need between 8-10 hours of sleep per night for optimal hormonal release.
3. Lift heavyGetting strong is the aim of the game! By lifting heavy you will maximise your hormonal response, building muscle at a faster rate. To do this, you must challenge yourself to at least one heavy session per week, which can consist of 3 sets of 4-6 heavy reps.
4. Train earlier in the dayYou often hear about Olympic athletes getting up extremely early to train and this is true. Not only is there no agonising wait for the squat rack, there are also no distractions meaning your session is more intense and out of the way before your day has even started! You will also find that an early workout 'clears your head' as exercise helps to reduces your stress levels.
5. Find a training partnerThis tip is all about increasing adherence. You will know that when you train with a partner that is equally motivated, your session is likely to be of a higher intensity, especially on those days where you feel lethargic and ready to skip your workout. This is no different for Olympic athletes, who train together every day before eventually competing with each other in a main event. This is all down to adherence and keeping motivation high to be at their best.
6. Boss your pull upsPull ups are a great all round workout, especially for your larger upper back muscles which help with posture and improving your running speed. Start off by having your partner assist with you and then build this up until you are able to perform the exercise yourself.
7. Mental preparationFor an Olympian, getting their mindset right is key to their success. They spend a lot of time rehearsing their movements, reading up on books and quotes and watching videos of their successful past performances. No matter what your goals are, it is important that you set your mindset right to achieve success.