Exercise is important for a healthy lifestyle. But for some it is more than just that – it is a way of life. A professional athlete workout plan is more demanding and intense as compared to a normal fitness routine. It requires more time and lots of determination. To achieve an athletic body, you have to follow a personalized workout plan, eat healthily and say no to junk food and alcohol. The main aim is to lose fat, build muscle, gain strength and get a lean, refined body. Below is an athlete workout plan and the tips to help you train like a pro athlete.
How To Train Like An Athlete
Most athletes start their day with an early morning gym session followed by breakfast then track practice then take a break. After lunch, they take a power nap and then do another training session. And while it may not be possible to follow this exact routine, you can train using an athlete’s workout program.
And much as different sports may require different training programs they do have some similar characteristics including:
Let’s take a quick look at the following:
In sports, strength is defined as the ability to do work against resistance (4). Strength is fundamental for success in any sport. You can also think of strength as the ability to accelerate a mass from its stationary state, resulting in the production of muscular force.
That can be measured based on the amount of weight lifted for one rep. Upper and lower body strength are measured differently and the most common strength tests include bench press for the upper body and squats for the lower body. In sports such as weightlifting, boxing, rowing, and weight throwing strength is the most crucial physical characteristic. Having both strength and speed makes you an enviable athlete.
All good athletes are quick. Whether you are a swimmer, skater, cyclist, sprinter, Speed is crucial. Speed is not just about how fast you can move. It includes acceleration, maximal speed of movement, and maintenance of speed. And speed can only be achieved with proper training. Remember the goal is to be a great athlete, with a to-die-for physique while avoiding injury as much as possible.
Read More: Pilates For Athletes: Do They Need Them For Improved Performance?
This involves workouts that target muscles in your whole body to help build, shape and tone your muscles (7). Performing well isn’t enough; you need to look the part too. What we are talking about is – muscular legs, a broad chest, and perfect abs.
Stronger muscles also mean improved endurance and increased flexibility (2). Weight lifting is often used to achieve this. However, exercises such as squats, burpees, mountain climbers, split jacks, and lunges can also be used.
Training like an athlete requires that you put in a lot of hard work as it can be intense. You need to ensure that you keep your stress levels as low as possible and get enough sleep so that your muscles grow properly and you’re not prone to injuries. It also follows that you need to cut back on refined carbs, fast foods, sugary drinks, and alcohol to get the most out of this workout plan.
So, whatever sport or activity you set out to do, this workout plan is guaranteed to work for you. The best part is that you will become an all-rounder and be able to do well when it comes to hiking, basketball, obstacle course racing, and cycling.
Pro Athlete Workout Plan
Athlete training requires that you exercise 5 days a week for about 60 minutes each day. This plan is of intermediate intensity, thus it can work well for both beginners and pros. Both men and women can use this sample training plan as a female athlete workout plan is not very different from that of males.
Below is a sample athlete workout plan at home:
Day 1: Lower Body
Equipment: dumbbells, barbell
- Single leg hip thrust – Do 3 sets of 6 reps for each leg.
- Dumbbell squat jump – Do 3 sets of 6 repetitions and rest for 60 seconds in between.
- Barbell hang power clean – Do 4 sets of 3 reps with a 90-second rest in between. To increase the load, do 2 to 3 warm-up sets for each set.
- Squats – Do 5 sets of 5 reps each with a 2 minute rest period. You can do either front or back squats, but choose one and stick with it.
- Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift – Do 4 sets of 10 reps with a 60 second rest period in between.
- Goblet Bulgarian Split Squat – Do 2 sets of 10 repetitions and rest for about 60 seconds.
- Leg presses – Do 2 sets and take a 90 second rest period. Each set should be about 60 seconds.
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Day 2 – Total-Body Strength And Conditioning Circuit I
- Side lunge – 1 set of 10 reps on each side (Hold for 2 seconds).
- Leg cradle – 1 set of 10 reps on each side.
- Glute Bridge – 1 set of 10 reps.
- Mini-band external knee rotation – 1 set of 10 reps on each leg.
Do 3 rounds.
Equipment: dumbbells, cable machine, medicine ball, box
- Alternating Dumbbell bench press – 10 reps.
- Jump squat – Do 10 reps.
- Half- kneeling cable chop – Do 10 reps on each side.
- Medicine ball rotational throw – Perform 10 reps each side.
- Burpee – 10 reps with a 60 second rest period.
- Push-ups – Do 30 reps. Do 10 push-ups in each of the 3 ways: hands facing forward, hands pointing inwards at a 45° angle, and hands facing outwards at a 45° angle.
- High box jump – Do 10 reps.
- One-arm dumbbell row – Do 10 reps on each arm.
Day 3 – Upper Body
Equipment: barbells, dumbbells
- Subscapular pushup – Do 3 sets of 6 reps. At the top, pause for at least 2 seconds.
- Barbell push press – 4 sets of 3 reps with a 90-second rest duration. 2 to 3 warm-up sets to increase the load.
- Barbell bench press – Do 4 sets of 5 reps with a 2 minutes rest duration.
- Dumbbell incline bench press (3-4 second eccentric) – Do 2 sets of 10 reps with 45 seconds of rest in between the sets.
- Dumbbell chest-supported row (3-4 second eccentric) – Do 3 sets of 10 reps with 45 seconds of rest in between.
- Dips – Do 2 sets of 5 reps and rest for 30 seconds between the sets.
- Inverted row – Do 2 sets of 5 reps and rest for 30 seconds between the sets.
- Alternating dumbbell biceps curl – Do 3 sets of 12 reps
- Dumbbell skull crusher – Do 3 sets of 12 reps with 30 seconds of rest in between.
Day 4 – Rest
Here you can choose any activity of your choice that helps you relax – be it crocheting, knitting, gardening, dancing, reading a book, or taking an outdoor walk.
Day 5 – Power Production Circuit
- Sprint start – Do 5 reps. Rest for 30 seconds between reps
- 3 hurdle drill – 30 seconds (You will need a 2-4 inch board)
- Over the line jump drill – 10 reps for the first part and 30 seconds for the lateral jumps
- 5-10-5 drill – Do 10 repetitions
- Lateral bound – 10 reps on each side with a 60 second rest period
Read More: Athletic Body Type: Getting Into The Nitty Gritty Of Attaining This Body Shape
Day 6 – Total-Body Strength And Conditioning Circuit II
Do 3 rounds
Equipment: Swiss ball, medicine ball
- Cow/cat yoga pose – Do 1 set of 10 reps
- Swiss ball leg curl – Do 1 set of 10 reps
- Side Plank- Do 1 set of 10 reps on each side. Hold for 3 seconds on each side.
Equipment: pull-up bar, Kettlebell, dumbbells, medicine ball
- Pull-ups – Do a total of 10 repetitions
- Goblet squat – Do 10 reps
- Farmer’s walk – Do 3 reps. Walk 10 yards out and then another 10 yards back
- Push-ups – Do 10 reps
- Mountain climbers – Do 20 reps on each side with a 60 second rest period in between
- Weighted burpees – Do 10 repetitions. At the end of each, lift the dumbbells overhead
- V-ups – Do 10 reps and rest for 60 seconds
Day 7 – Active Rest
Do some light exercise and remain active. This can be something as simple as a hike or a 60-minute walk or some light cardio.
How To Get The Most Out Of A Pro Athlete Workout Plan
While sticking to your workout plan is fundamental, it might not be enough. Habits such as sleeping late in the night and eating fast foods can derail your efforts. Below are tips to help you reap maximum benefits from an athlete workout for strength plan:
Warm-Up And Cool Down
Warming up is important whenever exercising. A warm-up readies your body for a workout. It increases blood supply to your muscles and raises your body temperature. Warming up also reduces your risk of injury and muscle stiffness (12).
A cool down on the other hand allows for the recovery of your pre-workout blood pressure and heart rate. It enables your heart and vessels to ease out of the workout session (12).
Go for dynamic exercises instead of simple ones. To warm up do jumping jacks, side shuffles, squats, lunges, or leg swings. To warm down do the reclining butterfly pose, child’s pose, a jog, or light walk.
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This cannot be emphasized enough. Drinking plenty of water is crucial in everyday life as well as during workouts and sports. Water enables the proper functioning of muscles. It also regulates temperature, lubricates joints, and transports nutrients (9).
So, if you are dehydrated then your body won’t work optimally and your muscles will be strained. You may also take electrolyte drinks which help improve performance (10).
Eat Healthy Meals
Working out regularly requires proper fueling. You, therefore, cannot continue following your low-calorie or restrictive diet. This is because you need energy when exercising.
Lean protein is one of the key components of your diet at this time. Protein helps build muscle and prevent loss of muscle mass (3). The best sources of lean protein include tuna, salmon, chicken, Greek yogurt, eggs, and protein bars.
Carbs are equally as important. During exercise your glycogen stores are used up, thus eating carbs after a workout replenishes these stores (6). Eating a combination of protein and carbs also helps maximize glycogen and protein synthesis (5). Incorporate some healthy fats such as avocado, olive, and coconut oils into your post-workout diet.
Get Enough Rest
It is pretty easy to overtrain. When you exercise without rest, your muscles don’t recover properly and the effect is decreased performance and fatigue. Often, it results in mood changes and increases the risk of injuries. This condition is referred to as overtraining syndrome or burnout (8).
To avoid this make sure you get about 7 to 9 hours of sleep and properly time the rest intervals. Also, have rest days. On rest days you can opt for active or passive recovery. This ensures proper muscle recovery and optimal athletic performance.
Dress For Success
Can you imagine what it would be like if you were to exercise in tight jeans and a polo-neck sweater? Uncomfortable, right? It is important to invest in the right pants, shirts, shoes, and sports bras.
Here are a few pointers:
- Go for breathable fabric and avoid clothes made out of plastic and rubber-based materials.
- Consider cotton shirts and pants because they absorb sweat.
- Wear loose and comfortable fitting clothes.
- When it’s cold, dress in layers.
- Find shoes that fit properly and provide proper heel and foot support.
Stress is a natural human response to a challenge or demand. In the short term, stress can be positive as it helps you overcome a challenge. However, in excess it is counterproductive.
Excess stress results in the overproduction of the stress hormone, cortisol. This then stimulates your fat and carbohydrate metabolism. It also results in an increased appetite which can cause you to gain and gain abdominal fat (11). One of the goals is to get an athletic physique and weight gain sabotages these efforts.
If you are experiencing any kind of stress, take some time to destress. You can meditate, talk to a friend, watch your favorite comedy show, journal or do any other activity that you love.
Stay Within Your Limits
It is important not to push yourself too hard. Start slow and as time progresses and your body adapts to the stress, you can increase the intensity of your workouts. Also, listen to your body and get rest when there’s a need.
Opt For Active Recovery
Active recovery is an effective way to speed up the recovery of muscles. It involves doing low-intensity exercises after your routine strenuous workouts. Active rest helps improve your performance, eliminates toxins, increases, increases blood flow, and reduces the build-up of lactic acid in muscles.
Do low-intensity work outside on some rest days. Anything from a walk to 15 minutes of dynamic stretching should do the trick.
Get A Training Partner
One of the best ways to stay motivated is to find a training partner. It could be a friend or co-worker who shares the same workout interest as you.
A workout partner helps you stay focused and keeps you accountable (1). They also can help to create a friendly competitive environment that gets things done and even more. If you are worried about losing motivation along your journey, you should consider getting a workout buddy.
The Bottom Line
Training like a pro athlete can be challenging. It requires extra effort and a lot of determination. All you need to do is strictly follow your athlete workout plan. Remember to eat proteins, complex carbs and drink plenty of water. Also, talk to a fitness instructor in case you hit a plateau or have any doubt. So have fun, training, and challenge yourself to do more every day.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 3 Reasons to Work Out With a Friend (2021, cdc.gov)
- Adaptations to Endurance and Strength Training (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Dietary Protein and Muscle Mass: Translating Science to Application and Health Benefit (2019, mdpi.com)
- How to improve your strength and flexibility – Exercise (2019, nhs.uk)
- Independent and Combined Effects of Amino Acids and Glucose…: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (2003, journals.lww.com)
- International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: Nutrient timing (2008, jissn.biomedcentral.com)
- Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review of Advanced Resistance Training Techniques and Methods (2019, mdpi.com)
- Overtraining Syndrome (2012, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Practical Hydration Solutions for Sports (2019, mdpi.com)
- Role of Functional Beverages on Sport Performance and Recovery (2018, mdpi.com)
- Stress, cortisol, and obesity: a role for cortisol responsiveness in identifying individuals prone to obesity (2016, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Importance of Warm Up and Cool Down Article (2020, researchgate.net)