U.S. bobsled athlete Justin Olsen won a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and looks to repeat in the four-man bobsled event in Sochi. “A bobsled athlete has to be fast, train as a sprinter would, and be very powerful as well,” says Jason Hartman, strength coach to Olsen and other Olympic athletes. “They’re the most powerful athletes competing in the winter Olympics, and we best train them in the weight room.” Hartman gave us an exclusive look at how Olsen and his teammates eat and train during the off-season and Olympic season. Follow this gold standard workout routine to improve power and quickness in the most efficient way possible.
Olsen does the pre-season workout and variations of it one to two times per week into the early part of competition season. Higher volume and more moderate intensities are staples of this period. Olsen weighs 240-250 pounds during the off-season.
THE PRE-SEASON WORKOUT
1. BACK SQUAT (80-90% of 1-rep max)
2. BOX JUMP
Reps: 1 (moderately high box)
3. BARBELL STEP-UP
Reps: 5 each leg
4. ROMANIAN DEADLIFT
5. WEIGHTED DIPS
6. WEIGHTED PULLUPS
7. HILL SPRINTS
Distance: 30 meters
Olsen and crew do this workout and routines like it one to two times per week during the three to four weeks prior to a competition. Olsen competes at 230-235 pounds, and no one on the U.S. team has a body-fat percentage greater than 10%.
THE OLYMPICS WORKOUT
1. POWER CLEAN
Reps: 1 (90+% of 1-rep max)
2. CLEAN PULL FROM HANG POSITION*
Reps: 2 (10-20% heavier than heaviest power clean)
3. BARBELL JUMP SQUAT (30% of back squat 1-rep max)
4. HURDLE HOPS**
5. PUSH PRESS
6. HANGING LEG LIFTS
7. FLYING SPRINTS***
*Lower bar down to the top of your knee, explosively jump and shrug. Achieve full hip extension.
**Do a forward broad jump over a speed hurdle, official track hurdle or other apparatus to safely jump over. Land then repeat.
***Set up two cones 20 meters apart. Instead of just starting a 20-meter sprint at the first cone, start 15-20 meters behind the first cone. Gradually get up to speed with the goal of being up to top speed when you hit that first cone. Hold that maximum run speed for 20 meters.