The first thing that comes into your mind when you hear the word “elite” is: “I don’t want to be one”. But if you think about it, there are many things that make someone an elite athlete. Let’s take a look at some of them.
1) They have been training for years without any significant breaks.
2) They train with high intensity and long periods of time.
3) Their body type is very well developed and they maintain their fitness level even after being older than most other people.
4) They are able to run marathons, ultra-marathons or ultramarathons.
5) They are able to compete against other professionals in races such as the Boston Marathon, Chicago Marathon, New York City Marathon or London Marathon.
6) They have won several awards such as the Ironman World Championship, the Tour de France, etc.
7) They have achieved certain goals like Olympic Games medals, world records or world championships titles.
So, while an elite endurance athlete may not be your cup of tea, it has to be said that they are fit and they have succeeded in what they do.
What is an endurance athlete:
An endurance athlete is someone who participates in various activities such as running, walking, swimming, cross-country skiing, canoeing, rowing, cycling, mountain biking or a combination of these.
Endurance athletes are often trained aerobically, which means that they develop the ability to do aerobic exercise for long periods of time. Most of them engage in their chosen sport on a professional level, but recreational endurance sports are also very popular.
Aerobic activity can reduce the risk of suffering from heart disease, stroke or certain types of cancer. It can also temporarily increase lung capacity and increase the amount of oxygen that reaches your muscles.
Endurance sports are often used to prepare soldiers, sailors and pilots to engage in battle. Some people take up endurance sports for the fun of it or as a way to keep themselves fit.
Elite endurance athletes:
Elite endurance athletes are considered to be professional if they receive payment for taking part in any type of competition, no matter whether it’s for a company, a public organisation, a private organisation or on their own behalf.
Elite endurance athletes generally have the following characteristics:
1) They eat a special diet that reduces their fat intake and increases their intake of carbohydrates.
2) They are able to train for many more hours than the average person.
3) They are able to recover faster from strenuous exercise than the average person.
4) They generally have a larger lung capacity than the average person.
5) They have a lower heart rate than the average person.
6) They have more efficient muscles than the average person.
7) They are able to handle pain better than the average person.
8) They often have a special mindset that helps them deal with the physical demands of their activity.
Elite endurance athletes are typically very health aware and take care of themselves in many ways because any small advantage can make all the difference in top level competition.
One of the most important factors in becoming an elite endurance athlete is motivation. It is important to find a particular type of motivation that works for you and that you can stick with. This might be a certain physique goal, a certain performance goal or just the pure joy of being active and competing with yourself or others.
Whether you’re a professional, an amateur or just an everyday fitness enthusiast, endurance exercise can be a fun and rewarding way to be physically active.
Plyometric training involves the stretchshortening cycle of muscles.
Whereas in normal strength training the time period between the muscle’s shortening and lengthening is maintained, in plyometric training this time period is reduced.
For example, when doing regular squats you might lower the bar until your legs are bent at the knees at a 90 degree angle and then push the bar back up to a full extension of the legs.
In plyometric training, you might do the same lowering and lifting motion, but pause at the bottom for only a brief moment before returning to the top position. This is called a pause squat.
To do this movement, stand with your legs apart and bend over and grip the barbell with an overhand grip. Bend your legs and lower the bar until your knees are bent at about a forty five degree angle. Try to maintain this angle when you lift the bar and only pause for a moment at this position before returning to the starting position.
The purpose of this exercise is to stretch your muscles to a certain length and then by pausing and contracting them quickly, you will increase their ability to contract rapidly, which is an important factor in many athletic endeavors.
These types of exercises should be performed at the beginning of your regular weight training program since they will fatigue the muscles very quickly.
How to get started with plyometric exercises?
The first thing you should do is talk to your doctor and get a complete physical to make sure that you are in good enough health for this type of exercise program. Then, once you get the “all clear” from him or her, you can begin your plyometric workout.
You will need a few pieces of equipment for this type of training, namely a step with a solid base and a medicine ball. The step should be 12 to 18 inches high and solid so that it doesn’t slide around on the floor while you are using it.
Choose a step height that is suitable for you based on your fitness level. Medicine ball sizes vary, but most are between six and sixteen pounds.
Here are some exercises to try:
1. Single leg extension: Begin by standing on the step with one leg and elevating the other one off the step.
Bend over at the waist as far as you can, keeping your back straight, and hold the medicine ball with both hands in front of your chest. Extend your arms forward and upward as you jump up off of the floor, raising your leg that is still on the ground until both legs are extended straight out. Bring your arms back down to your chest and slowly lower yourself back down in a controlled motion until you are sitting on the step. Do this in a slow and controlled manner and always maintain good posture and correct body alignment throughout the exercise.
2. Single leg squat: Begin by standing on the step with both feet and elevate your left leg off of the step.
Hold the medicine ball out in front of you with both hands. Keeping your back straight and your head up, bend forward and squat as low as you can (knees should be bent at about a 45 degree angle). Then, push back up to the starting position in a quick and explosive motion. When you reach the top, throw the medicine ball into the air as high as you can and catch it when it returns to earth. Repeat this movement for the desired number of times and then switch legs and do the same thing with your right leg.