We’d all like to work out the same way as our favorite pro athlete. There are a couple of reasons this is true. First of all, training like the pros do, whether your idol is Kobe Bryant or big wave surfer Laird Hamilton is fun. It may even make you feel like a pro if you aren’t already. Following a workout similar to what the pros do can help you succeed as well. While you may have to modify things a bit for your own needs, learning from the pros and applying what works for you is one of the best ways to learn.
The problem with doing a workout that’s similar to what the pro athletes do is that scant information exists in one place. Try Googling your favorite athlete for yourself and you’ll see what I mean. Your likely to get little more than a few sentences of vague information and maybe a quote. In order to really learn what the pros do to become bigger, leaner, faster, and stronger you have spend hours researching for more information or pay their trainers thousands of dollars.
This article makes being able to work out like an elite athlete a reality. We’ve done hours of research to learn how the world’s best athletes train to compete, and win at the highest level and put it all into this post. After reading it, you too will be able to train like the pros in your favorite sport. Best of all, you will be do these workouts anywhere, whether you work out in a gym or your home.
In it, I detail the exercises, sets, reps, and equipment that 8 professional athletes from a variety of sports use to perform their best. Whether you’re into basketball, surfing, or golf you’ll get tips on what you can do in the weight room to improve your game.
Give the tips a try at your next workout. After enough hard work you may end up winning a world championship too!!
Workout Tips Of The Pros
1. Alex Morgan
Soccer is a sport that requires you to be fast, strong, and powerful. You also need to have of world-class endurance levels to be able to last 90 plus minutes every game.
The average elite soccer player runs an average of 7 miles over the course of a 90 minute game. This isn’t an easy jog either, most of the running is all out sprints that range anywhere between 5-100 yards. Add in the kicking, heading, and tackling you have to do and you can see how important it is to build a bullet proof body.
Giving up on something hard is never going to make you stronger.
US Women’s National Team star Alex Morgan has her training dialed in for sure. According to her website, Alex’s workouts include plenty of body weight and medicine ball exercises that strengthen and build more power every muscle in her body.
Her workouts include:
- Overhead lunges with a medicine ball – builds your legs, abs, and shoulders.
- Medicine ball rotations – builds rotational strength throughout your abs and lower back.
- Step Ups – builds your calves, hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps muscles.
- Push Ups – on and off a medicine ball
- Mountain Climbers
Alex realizes that you don’t have to be a huge fan of every exercise to do them either. Here’s what she has to say about push ups. “I actually hate them,” she laughs. “But I do them all the time because it’s a great workout.” “Giving up on something hard is never going to make you stronger.”
How You Can Train This Way Too
Here’s an example circuit that trains the muscles you use during a soccer match.
2. Andy Murray – Grand Slam And Olympic Gold Medal Tennis Player
The first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years, Andy is known for being one of the fittest players on the men’s pro tennis tour. He gets super fit by training hard in the sweltering, tropical heat of Miami, Florida.
During the off-season, Andy’s workouts include 400 meter sprints on the beach, chin ups with 44 pounds added to his waist, lunges, and medicine ball slams.
Andy has to eat big to support his workouts, consuming thousands of calories a day. Here’s what has to say about what it takes to get everything done. “When I’m training in December, I have to eat like 6,000 calories a day to maintain my weight. It’s a bit tiring.”
How You Can Train This Way Too
Combining sprints and strength training in one workout is a great way to build a better body for tennis. All you need to do this is a little bit of space outside and a dumbell, kettlebll, or medicine ball.
Give the workout below a try for a couple of weeks and you’re sure to see a difference in your game.
1. Sprint 40 yards – immediately followed by – Dumbbell Or Kettlebell Lunges for 10 reps
Rest until you catch your breath and repeat 3-5 times.
2. Sprint 20 yards – immediately followed by – Push Ups for 10 reps
Rest until you catch your breath and repeat 3-5 times
3. Sprint 10 yards – immediately followed by – Medicine Ball Slams for 10 reps
Rest until you catch your breath and repeat 5-10 times
3. Drew Brees – Super Bowl Champion And Quarterback New Orleans Saints
At 6 feet and 209 pounds, Drew Brees is about 3 inches shorter and 11 pounds lighter than the average NFL quarterback. His workouts are the stuff of legend and help him more than compensate for his physical shortcomings.
Much of Drew’s workouts revolve around using one of the hottest pieces of training equipment on the market, the TRX Suspension trainer. He also uses kettlebells, medicine balls, and body weight exercises to condition himself for the brutal NFL season.
According to his strength coach Todd Durkin, Drew’s workouts can last up to 3 hours and consist of 100s of movements. Instead of worrying about adding lots of muscle to his body, Drew focuses on movements that build strength, flexibility, and core/rotational strength.
These workouts build mental toughness too. To quote Drew, “The body will only go as far as the mind will take it.”
Some of Todd’s favorite movements with the TRX are:
Below is a sample workout that uses some of the exercises Drew does in the off-season. You can use them too for building muscle and getting into great shape, whether you play football or are an armchair quarterback.
4. Jaime Sterling – Big Wave Surfer
Jaime makes a living surfing 60 foot waves that crash with such force one wrong move will leave him split into a million pieces. He prepares for these monster waves by following a Paleo diet and training hard with both Crossfit, kettlebell workouts, and jumping rope.
Here’s what Jaime has to say about the importance of working out. “Personally, when my fitness is at its peak I gain confidence and know I can surf at my best. It’s a proven fact that if you want to be the best in your sport, you need to train smart and train hard.”
Jaime’s favorite kettlebell exercises include:
Around The Worlds – build core strength. The rotational strength you develop with this exercise mimics the way you have to turn your upper body when surfing.
Kettlebell Swings – strengthen your calves, hamstrings, core (abs/lower back), back and shoulders. This will help you use your legs and core better when dropping in and turning.
Squats To Shoulder Press (aka Thrusters) – build strength and power in your legs, core, and shoulders. This will help you drive harder when turning into a wave, push up onto your board faster, and paddle faster.
Personally, when my fitness is at its peak I gain confidence and know I can surf at my best.
How You Can Do This Workout Too
Whether you are training to surf Pipeline or your local break, incorporating some of Jaime’s methods will help. Below is a kettlebell workout that includes the aforementioned exercises plus a few others to help improving your surfing strength and ability.
You can learn more about Jaime by visiting his website.
5. Jimmy Rollins – All Star Shortstop, Philadelphia Phillies
Becoming an All-Start player in professional baseball requires you to put maximal power into every swing, throw, and sprint. You also need to be able to do this repeatedly over the course of a long season. This means that every muscle, from your calves, glutes, abs, and shoulders need to be as strong as possible.
Philadelphia Phillies Jimmie Rollins workouts are designed to build total body power and muscular endurance. He accomplishes this by doing exercises like kettlebell swings. They are one of the best exercises you can do to teach your body to work as a whole in an explosive manner.
As you’ll see in the video below from Stack.com, the swings Jimmie performs are a little different than a normal kettlebell swing. He does his by starting the swing from the side of his body instead of between his legs. Then Jimmie rotates his upper and lower body while swinging the weight up to shoulder level. This variation helps him build rotational strength and power throughout his core.
How You Can Do This Exercise Too
If you decide to add this exercise to your workout I recommend performing it as one of your first exercises since it’s pretty taxing. I recommend performing 3-8 swings for 5 sets per workout. You can also do them as a 1-handed kettlebell swing for a more challenging workout.
Another way to really build your abs and total body power is to superset these kettlebell swings with kettlebell slams to further strengthen and build power throughout your core.
6. LeBron James – NBA All-Star and Olympic Gold Medalist
Many basketball coaches and experts say LeBron James is the fittest player in the NBA. The 2 time world champion and Olympic gold medalist stays super fit by working hard in the gym during the off-season.
One of the ways LeBron builds his world-class body is by doing lots of sprints, agility work, total body exercises, and supersets in the weight room. He’s also been known to pull a tractor – while walking backwards – to build total body strength.
According to Men’s Health magazine, some of LeBron’s favorite weight room exercises are:
Begin your workout with a total body exercise like kettlebell swings or snatches followed by supersets that use exercises for the upper and lower body, respectively. Focus on doing the total body movements as explosively as possible. This will really help increase your vertical leap, which is key in basketball.You can finish your workout like LeBron does by doing another total body movement. Feel free to push or pull your car for distance if possible. If you can’t, give Farmer’s Walks a try.
7. Matt HallidayMatt is a professional race car driver who loves to take to the great outdoors for his workouts. In an interview with L.A. Confidential he says that he hikes steep trails throughout Los Angeles and walks the famed Santa Monica stairs for 2-3 hours to give his body the strength and endurance it needs to perform its best throughout a race that lasts several hours.Here’s what Matt has to say about these workouts. “There’s no AC in a racing car and you’re covered head-to-toe in a racing suit for up to two hours, so I train outside two-three hours a day when the heat’s quite high at Runyon Canyon and the Santa Monica Stairs.”
How You Can Train This Way Too
You don’t have to live in L.A. to do a similar workout. If you don’t have access to 100+ stairs to climb or hills to hike you can instead find a short, steep hill or set of stairs to sprint. Even if you aren’t a race car driver these workouts will condition your body better than any other type of cardiovascular exercise.
Check out our article on hill sprints to learn more.
8. Michelle Wie – Professional Golfer
While she’s been setting records since she was a teenager as the youngest LGPA player ever and even played a few tournaments on the men’s tour, Michelle recently realized it was time to improve her strength and power so she could continue improving her game.
Michelle did this by hiring strength coach Paul Gange and physical therapist Gray Cook. According to Men’s Health magazine, kettlebell exercises made up a large part of her workouts. A few of these exercises she does include kettlebell swings, Turkish get ups, and bottoms up squats. She also uses battling ropes to improve her upper body strength and endurance levels.
The workouts paid off. Michelle added 8 pounds of muscle to her 6’ frame, recovered from previous injuries and added more speed and power to her swing.
How You Can Do This Workout Too
If you’re a golfer looking to improve your game exercises like kettlebell swings and bottoms up squats will help improve your ability to generate more power in a big way. Thats because they will strengthen all of the muscles in your lower body, core, upper back, and shoulders. Turkish get ups build total body strength in a coordinated manner like no other exercise. They’re especially good for shoulder and hip strength and mobility, both of which are important to golf.
Turkish Get Ups – 3-5 sets for 3-5 reps with each side of your body
Kettlebell Circuit – 5 circuits total, 5-10 reps per exercise.
Now you know the training tips and tricks of 8 professional athletes who are known for their committment to working out and being as fit as humanely possible. Give some of their workout secrets a try yourself to help you build the body you deserve.