How to Get an Olympic Diver’s Body

Featured Article, Fitness
on March 19, 2012

If you’ve caught a glimpse of the diving events at this summer’s Olympics, you’ve probably noticed the athletes’ precision, grace, guts—and amazing physiques. To help you get the sculpted shoulders, washboard abs and lean legs you’ve eyed at the Aquatics Centre, we scored insider diving know-how from personal trainer and former diving coach Rachel Pustilnik, and strength moves from The Sports Club/LA–Boston personal trainer Maryanne Blake. Do these moves 3-4 times per week in addition to a regular cardio routine, and you’ll have an Olympic diver’s body in no time!

The Goal: Toned Shoulders “It’s important to have strong shoulders, because divers have to be able to strike the water full force while keeping their arms overhead,” Pustilnik says.
The Move: Wall Plank Place your feet on a wall with your hips slightly higher than your shoulders, hands under your shoulders. Keeping your feet pressed firmly into the wall, bend your knees and walk your hands out a couple of steps, being sure to stay in contact with the wall. Straighten your legs and return to starting position by walking your hands back in and bending the knees. Perform as many reps as you can, shooting for six.
The Bonus: In addition to the shoulders, this exercise is a total body strengthener.

Woman exercising on the wall.

The Goal: Washboard Abs “The core is where every dive initiates,” Pustilnik says.
The Move: Walk the Plank Start in a plank position; then begin to walk in a circle starting with left leg and right hand, continuing to walk in as large a circle as possible for 45 seconds. Reverse directions, leading with your right leg and left hand for 45 seconds.
Bonus: In addition to working your core, this move strengthens shoulders, arms and chest.

Woman exercising with plank.

The Goal: Amazing Obliques “The obliques are heavily utilized in rotational dives (twists), helping the spine rotate efficiently and safely,” Pustilnik says.
The Move: Rotational Burpees Begin at the top of a push up. Jump both feet up toward the right wrist. Immediately jump up to standing, then hop to your right, back to center, and back to your plank. Repeat on the left side. Continue to alternate sides for a total of 45-60 seconds. For an added challenge, add a push up in between.
Bonus: Your legs will also feel the burn as you hop from side to side.

Woman exercising with burpee.

The Goal: Svelte Legs “Divers’ power comes from the legs, so it is important to build calf, quadriceps and hamstring strength,” Pustilnik says.
The Move: Explosive Skip Begin by jogging. Then, increase your speed to a run, followed by a high-knee skip, pulling your knees up toward chest, keeping your upper body tall and your core engaged. While skipping, push off as though your legs are spring-loaded, lifting your knees as high as you can. Repeat the jog-sprint-skip cycle for 2 minutes total.
Bonus: Keeping your core engaged works your abs, and your arms will naturally pump back and forth, building upper-body muscle.

Woman doing skip exercise.

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