Ever look at some of the athletes you see on SportsCenter and wish you could get that athletic build?
Here’s how you can do just that by building a body as amazing as some of the best athletes in the world.
You’ve seen them on TV. Their faces are all over magazine stands. They are often seen with supermodels. They’re the fittest athletes and it shows.
Ever wanted to look like them?
Here’s how to do it.
The Top 10 Athletic Build’s…
#10 Michael Phelps – Swimmer
You don’t get to be the most decorated American Olympian of all time without being in peak shape. Phelps will look to add to his legacy at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. But, his legacy as one of the fittest athletes of all time is already solidified.
To keep up with Phelps’ workouts, you’ll need to also keep up with his diet. This can max out at around 12,000 calories per day during its most intense periods. Without question, the most important part of Phelps’ workout is swimming on an almost daily basis for nearly 10 miles each day.
If you want to look like Phelps but don’t have access to a pool, you’ll have to swap swimming for another type of aerobic exercise. Try running, cycling or rowing. Loading up on cardio will give you endurance similar to that of a swimmer without the need for actual swimming. It will also help you shed fat and give you that ripped body that Phelps is famous for. To gain some of Phelps’ muscle, you’ll need to supplement your heavy cardio routine with lifting weights and body strength exercises.
#9 Brian Shaw – World’s Strongest Man
The other athletes on this list may be quicker or have more endurance, but, nobody, either on this list or in the world, is stronger than Brian Shaw. While he doesn’t have the physique that women necessarily go crazy for, there’s no denying that Shaw is one of the fittest people on the planet.
If you want to look like Shaw you’re going to have to pump some iron. And, not just pump some iron, but a lot of it. Shaw’s body isn’t built on lots of cardio. It is instead built on foundational compound lifts like the deadlift, bench press, and squat. On top of these, Shaw adds exercises that supplement his core compound lifts. Exercises such as the leg press, biceps curls, good mornings and other isolation moves help Shaw keep his size and strength among the best on earth.
Perhaps the hardest part of looking like Shaw, besides magically growing to 7 feet tall, is eating like the strongest man in the world. Shaw’s appetite is as big as he is. He eats 10 meals per day that are high in protein and lean meats. You may never reach Shaw’s exact weight or strength, but if you want to bulk up and have a similar look, power lifts will be the most important part of your routine.
#8 Jon “Bones” Jones – UFC
Love him or hate him for his in and out of the ring personality, there’s no denying that Jon Jones is a physical freak of nature. Other than one disqualification, Jones has used his raw power and athleticism to dominate the UFC. He even posted an undefeated record on his way to the light heavyweight championship.
To gain similar athletic abilities, you’ll need to really focus on explosiveness and endurance. If you want to really emulate Jones, you can use MMA workout routine to hone your endurance by hitting the heavy bag and the speed bag. Rather than focusing on one style of martial arts, you should mix in workouts from different styles. This is what helps Jones be so effective in the Octagon. He trains in many different styles, blending them to his own unique fighting style.
High-intensity weight lifting circuits will also allow you to build strength while working on your endurance. Make your circuit last for five minutes to replicate a full round in the Octagon. This will help you train like a true fighter. You’ll build some explosive power while also maintaining and improving your cardiovascular stamina.
#7 Tyron Smith – NFL
The anchor of the best offensive line in football, Tyron Smith combines a unique blend of strength, power and quickness. All of that makes him one of the best-left tackles in the NFL. Matched up against the best pass rushers in the game, Smith is able to withstand their ferocity by leveraging either his strength or his quickness at the right time.
Chances are you won’t have the frame to look exactly like Smith who’s 6’ 5” and 320 pounds, but you can still follow his routine. At the core of any NFL player’s regimen are compound lifts that emphasize strength and power. Think squats, power cleans, deadlifts and bench press. Using strength and power is only a part of a tackle’s job though. He follow a very similar routine to the rob gronkowski workout.
A guy like Smith has to be able to run to throw lead blocks. Try 100-yard sprints. They are a great exercise to really push you and are also the maximum distance an NFL player will run. Focusing on sprinting instead of long distance running will train the quick twitch muscles in your legs, allowing for more explosiveness in your lower body.
#6 Ashton Eaton – Decathlon
The gold medal winner in the decathlon at the 2012 Olympics, Ashton Eaton has a versatile set of athletic skills that make him one of the fittest men on the planet. He is the current world record holder in the decathlon, meaning he has a combination of both pure speed and strength needed to compete at a world-class level in events such as the 400 meters and the javelin throw.
Eaton has a true sprinter’s physique with a little bit of added muscle needed to compete in events like the shot put. With the majority of Eaton’s events being running based, it should come as no surprise that his routine mainly consists of running.
A combo of both sprints and long distance running are needed because while his events in the decathlon are short sprints, the decathlon as a whole is a true test of endurance. Supplementing your running with explosive lifts like squats, bench press, and deadlifts will help you build the necessary muscles to get out of the gates quickly for any race you may run.
#5 Cristiano Ronaldo – Soccer
One of the lighter athletes on this list at only 176 pounds, Ronaldo is world famous for his soccer skills. But, he should also be equally regarded for his athleticism. With a true soccer player’s physique, Ronaldo combines blazing speed with lateral quickness and incredible leaping ability, allowing him to corral the ball anywhere on the field.
Like any soccer player, Ronaldo’s legs are at the center of his ripped body. A healthy dose of jump squats, box jumps, lunges and old-fashioned power squats will provide you with the lower body size needed to blast a penalty kick. Ronaldo’s physique is built around more than just lifting with his lower body. Much of his routine is similar to that of a long distance runner.
Keep in mind that a soccer player of Ronaldo’s caliber runs around six miles in each match. This means they need to be conditioned for even more. Running eight miles with bursts of sprinting at each mile marker will keep your endurance up. It will also allow you to train yourself to use bursts of energy at critical moments, much like Ronaldo in the most crucial moments of each match.
#4 Rafael Nadal – Tennis
One of the greatest tennis players of all time, Nadal is best known for his absolute dominance on clay courts. That’s the main reason why he’s won the French Open a total of nine times.
A body like Nadal’s requires extreme endurance training, as well as upper body strength training. To train his upper body, Nadal uses mostly resistance training methods and cable machines. While his cardio is primarily made up of tennis practices (there’s really no better way to simulate the side-to-side movements in real speed than the actual sport), Nadal is also a big believer in aerobic pool exercises because they put less stress on his joints.
To simulate the side-to-side moves needed for a tennis match, a good alternative to playing tennis is to run suicides on a gym floor.
What are those?
These consist of running from line to line, back and forth, until you have successfully run between every line in the gym. This will help build your endurance, as well as your lateral movement.
#3 Rich Froning – CrossFit
At this point, Rich Froning is pretty much synonymous with the sport of CrossFit. Froning finished first in the CrossFit games between 2011 and 2014. That earned him the title of “Fittest Man on Earth.” Of course, if you want to look like Rich Froning, you need to focus on CrossFit cult exercises.
CrossFit workouts in general, are great ways to burn fat and build key strength through bodyweight and lightweight exercises. Traditional cardio exercises like running, biking or cycling can be nice accessories. But, they aren’t critical parts of the routine. Instead you’ll want to focus on circuit training. This means you’ll want to do multiple exercises in a row without taking a break.
The most important part of circuit training is working out different body parts during each station in your circuit. This will prevent exhaustion in one muscle group, as well as ensure that you are getting in a balanced workout throughout your entire routine. Exercises like pull-ups, push press and burpees are long time staples of CrossFit routines and should be a part of your quest to look like CrossFit champ Rich Froning.
#2 Adrian Peterson – NFL
The NFL’s 2015 rushing champion has only gotten better with age. Since he came into the league, Adrian Peterson has displayed the strength, speed and pure power that most athletes can only dream about. Breaking tackles and outrunning defenders has become a staple of Peterson’s runs and NFL fans of every team admire his physique.
To get as ripped as Peterson, you’ll need to undertake a variety of exercise routines. Peterson mixes up his training habits to improve different aspects of his game. To focus on his speed, he trains like a track star. This means he’ll do a healthy dose of sprints every day. For power, Peterson focuses on core lifts. These will include squats and deadlifts as most of his power is derived from his core and his constantly churning legs. Perhaps the biggest surprise of Peterson’s workout is that he is a large proponent of using MMA workouts. These allow him to train his power, agility and endurance at the same time.
If you want to look like AP, you’ll need to mix up your training plans and focus on improving specific areas one at a time. This means your routine will vary month to month, which will make you a more complete athlete.
#1 LeBron James – NBA
Steph Curry may be in the process of taking his title of best basketball player on earth, but there’s no denying that LeBron James is the most athletic person in the NBA and the world. He is the complete package in terms of explosiveness, speed, strength and power. A freak of nature in every sense of the term, James has dominated the NBA with his athleticism and superior fitness since he entered the league straight from high school.
Sprinting helps keep LeBron’s endurance at a high level so that he can go coast-to-coast for a dunk or block. It also helps keep his body fat at a low percentage. His otherworldly jumping ability is built upon old school weight lifting like squats and lunges. LeBron’s chiseled upper body that allows him to hit the glass hard is also built in the weight room through a variety of compound and isolation based gym exercises.
There’s no secret to LeBron’s routines, but it’s his intensity and dedication to exercising that helps set him apart. If you want to look like LeBron, you’ll have to live in the gym as much as he does. What does that mean? Working out three times per day, five days per week.
Looking like the fittest athletes takes time. It also takes hard work and determination. We told you we’d give you the info to look like your favorite athletes, but we definitely never said it’d be easy.
Are you up for the challenge?
By Mark Rubino