With 9 Olympic gold medals in sprinting events under his belt, plus multiple world records, Usain Bolt is the fastest man alive today. Not a small feat, considering that the sprinting sport tests the limits of human ability on multiple levels; explosive power, focus, intensity, coordination, speed, and more. So, how does the fastest man in the world train?
In a conversation about sprinters, a friend made a remark that I thought was plain dumb. But we all do have such moments, so this is not about criticizing him. He said something like, “Training? It is just running. All they need is a damn stopwatch!” I’m not an expert in track runners’ training, but I couldn’t miss naivety of that remark.
As it turns out, there is more to it than just about going out to the track and trying to beat your last time on the stopwatch. Yes, this is a part of it. But there is more. Watch the following video:
As you can see – presuming you watched the video above – the world’s fastest runner trains more or less like a bodybuilder. There is a good deal of weights training, just not with as heavy weights as in bodybuilding for obvious reasons. You don’t want to be too bulky when you are a sprinter. But if you look at those runners’ bodies, you will notice that their physiques resemble those of bodybuilders.
Oh, a full disclosure is in order: I may be biased as I love weights training and bodybuilding.
Unlike long distance running such as the marathon, sprinters require short bursts of power over a short period of time. And while the runner mainly uses their legs, other muscles come into play as well. These include arms, shoulders, abs, back… the whole ten yards.
This is why you see Usain Bolt doing crunches, planks, upright rows, and bench presses, in addition to leg presses, calf raises, and leg extensions. Though the video doesn’t show everything he does, I’m sure he also does squats and dead-lifts.
Of course, there is a good deal of track work and speed drills. These include running while pulling weights. He also performs drills for improving rhythm and coordination.
The video is not about diet, an essential component of any sport. Not surprisingly, Usain Bolt eats like a bodybuilder; chicken breasts, yams, potatoes, rice, and fish, among other healthy foods. He is also said to love chicken wings. Contrary to what you might have heard, these are quite healthy when cooked the right way.
Usain does not take supplements but many sprinters do. A sprinter’s supplementation regimen is also not unlike that of bodybuilding. Of course, of most importance are protein supplements. Some also use creatine, BCAAs, and glutamine.