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How to lift like an Olympian

28th July 2016

It might be a little late to get yourself onto the squad for Rio, but that’s no reason not to put the pedal to the metal and pump iron like a pro. In actual body terms, there are only a few minor differences between you and, say, Eddie Hall, and whilst they make a whole lot of difference, training like the big guy might get you some of the way there.

Check out just five handy tips on how to professionalise your lifting regime and lift like an Olympian.

1. Be organised
Whether it be a tackling a new diet, learning a new language, or mastering a new lifting regime, the fact is that the majority of failed projects are due to a poorly planned outline of what to do and when. There are hundreds of good practise guides out there, all differing slightly - try to settle on one, create training blocks of 2-3 weeks and set yourself realistic goals. It’s worth keeping an anecdotal journal of your progress, too.

2. Keep an eye on your tempo
Step into any old gym anywhere on the planet and you’ll see variations on the same old deadlift - one second concentric, one second eccentric, repeat. The truth is that for best results, you’re better off varying the length of your lifts, making sure you work these variations into your carefully scheduled programme. Elongate periods of tension force your muscles to adapt to a different stress, which in simple terms builds muscle mass and strengthens the muscle’s core. For starters, we recommend shifting to a five second eccentric and to go from there.

3. Rest between sets
This might sound a little counter productive to the untrained ear, but blitzing your body to the point of injury does nothing for you long or indeed short term. You should know by now that the heavier the weight, the fewer the reps, and a good rule of thumb is to elongate your rest period between sets according to the weight you are lifting. Heavier weight should mean fewer reps, which should mean a longer rest. It’s all to do with the spread of energy within your muscle - a tired muscle gains mass slower and vastly increases the risk of injury.

4. Don’t just bench!
It’s tempting to just to set up camp and lift away until your arms inflate. The fact is that an imbalanced training routine can cause huge issues both to your physique in the short term, and your health going forward. It is important that you train both your agonist and antagonist muscle groups to build a healthy, balanced body. Plus, it keeps from boredom creeping in!

5. Kick off with some cardio
It’s a widely ignored fact that, really, you should kick off each and every weights session with 5 to 20 minutes of light cardio. Aside from the mental benefits of preparing your mind for a workout and the obvious physical benefits to your muscles, raising your body temperature gets the blood flowing and significantly reduces the risk of injury.