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Sharp Health News

Go for the gold with this Olympic workout challenge

July 30, 2021

Athlete kissing gold Olympic medal
The Tokyo Olympics are in full swing. Let’s celebrate the Summer Games and train like an Olympic athlete. These exercises from Tom Dodsworth, an exercise specialist at the Sewall Healthy Living Center at Sharp Coronado Hospital, will leave you feeling like you just won a gold medal.

How to play
While you watch the Olympics, do these exercises when the following events occur:

Every time you see the Olympic rings, do 15 arm circles
“You’ll be sure to see the Olympic rings during the Summer Games, so this is a great time to warm up and get some blood flowing to those tight muscles,” says Dodsworth.

To do arm circles, move your arms forward and backward, making both small and large circles. If your joints are “talkative” or make noise, it’s OK as long as there is no pain.

Every time you see your favorite athlete, do 10 push-ups
“Your favorite athlete pushes through pain to be the best they can be — if they can push, so can you! Let’s push (up),” says Dodsworth.

  • Begin by lying flat on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders, just outside chest width
  • Generate tension in your core, shoulders, arms and hands
  • Breathe out as you push your hands into the ground until your arms are fully extended
  • Flex the elbow and lower yourself to the ground
Do your best effort, then take a breather. If this is too difficult, modify the push-up by doing them on your knees.

When your favorite Olympic event comes on, try one of these workouts:

Archery — arm stretches
  • Reach your right arm out in front, keeping it straight
  • Draw the left elbow back and away, pulling the shoulder blade toward the spine (imagine you are pulling back a bow and arrow)
  • Repeat for 30 to 45 seconds, alternating arms
You could perform this movement with a band or with weight in the bent-over row position.

Track and field — march in place
  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart
  • Bring one knee up to about waist height while pumping the opposite arm (imagine walking: feet swing with opposite arm swing), then repeat with the other knee and arm
  • Lift the toes up when bringing up each knee
  • Go slower for a warmup or faster for a greater cardio exercise, continue for about one minute
This can be added to stairs or steps, with or without weight.

Swimming — straight-arm pulldowns
  • Reach the right hand forward with fingers extended out
  • Drag the right hand back and down toward the right-side hip
  • Alternate sides for 30 to 45 seconds
You could perform a similar movement using bands attached at chest height and pulling down to the hip with a stiff arm.

Every time there is a commercial, it’s time for sprints
“Perhaps it’s a sprint to the kitchen for some water or to the bathroom, but either way you are moving quickly so as not to miss the next event,” says Dodsworth.

Every time you see a medal, try 20, 30 or 50 squats
“It’s time to crank out some squats! When you see a medal, do the requisite number of repetitions for each medal earned: bronze, 20 squats; silver, 30 squats; and gold, 50 squats,” explains Dodsworth.

To perform a squat:
  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart
  • Lean forward slightly while bending your knees, pushing your hips backward
  • Remember to keep your eyes on the horizon, not on your feet
  • Drive your feet into the ground to create tension throughout as you stand up and return to the starting position
Maintain a braced core and straight back throughout this exercise. Try reaching out as you squat — this will help create a counterbalance, encouraging you to squat a little deeper. If it’s too difficult, put your hands on your hips to help you keep your balance.

“I hope this fun challenge can help you go for the gold and add a little movement to your day while watching the Summer Games,” says Dodsworth.

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