How to Get a Pro-Athlete’s Body

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At the gym, Olympic gold medalist Sidney Crosby was taught to watch the way his muscles moved while lifting weights.

According to his trainer, Andy O’Brien (pictured), attention to movement is what sets star athletes like “Sid the Kid” apart from amateurs.

“We spend hours upon hours upon hours just working on technique for certain movements,” O’Brien says. “It’s probably the one thing that’s going to characterize training as an athlete.”

In fact, paying more attention during a workout can increase agility, range of motion and power — traits that make athletes like Crosby famous.

At a recent Reebok Canada event, we asked O’Brien for a few of his favorite exercise tips — use them the next time you hit the gym to take your workout from amateur to athlete, too.

Identify Weaknesses
Every athlete has specific soft spots, including inflexibility and muscle weakness. Many times, amateur exercisers avoid training their weak muscles and focus on strengthening the bigger, more common ones.

But O’Brien notes athletes must condition all of their muscles for the body to work — and get toned — properly.

To find out which of your muscles need work (aka: are the weakest), he suggests filming yourself doing a . Note your imbalances as you move from side-to-side.

Do your knees flare out? Do they flare in? Do you lean back too much? Are you bending over too much? Are you twisting? Shifting to one side?

“These things are really important because when you start to train like an athlete, you want to move dynamically. Pretty often, if you’re not balanced, your body will start to fall apart,” O’Brien said.

Next, Develop Core Strength
To correct imbalances, O’Brien suggests developing — working on your abs and glutes so they’ll work together to stabilize your spine. Sit-ups, and other ab exercises, work great — just watch your technique to make sure you’re doing them correctly.

“A lot of people do ab work, yet they’re not activating or contracting their abs at all,” he says.

While exercising, poke your stomach muscles with your index finger. If you’re performing any core exercise correctly, you’ll feel the appropriate muscles harden and contract.

For example, if you’re doing an oblique crunch, the sides of your abs should harden; when doing a sit-up, your upper abs should.

Return to Your Roots
Athletes remember the basic movements they learned in the gym when they perform professionally. As you move from the gym into a competitive sport, the movement patterns you’ve hardwired in your brain will help you perform more efficiently on the court or the field.

“Whether it’s rec hockey or whether you’re getting involved in running or hiking, your body is able to withstand stress because of what it has learned… You’re going to get the maximum benefit you can,” O’Brien says.

So, even when you start competing at a professional level, it’s important to look to your workout’s roots to make sure you’re still doing the basic moves properly. If you’re not, work to correct your technique.

Author by Jacqueline Delange

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