At 6' 5", Usain Bolt is taller than most of his competitors and his strides are nearly eight inches longer, giving him a tremendous advantage.
Usain Bolt burst onto the international scene with his epic 2008 Olympic performance, in which the sprinter set world records in the 100 and 200 meter dash, running 9.69 and 19.30 seconds respectively. Many people became fascinated with Bolt’s unprecedented speed and quickness, wondering if he could compete in other sports, notably the NFL. If Bolt can run the 100 m dash in 9.69 seconds then that would equate to Usain Bolt’s 40 yard dash time at 3.54 seconds, over half a second faster than the fastest NFL player (not taking into consideration that Bolt reaches maximal speed at around 50-60 meters, which could disprove the notion that Bolt could run that fast).
Usain Bolt spoke with STACK Magazine about his workout and training routine:
To start his workout, Bolt does strideouts, not laps. He usually does 10 to 15 strideouts to get warm. He then does some dynamic drills and stretching, a few more drills, and then finishes with strideouts. Strideouts are accelerations of approximately 100 meters each with a jog recovery of 100 meters in between. This is a great way to warm up your legs and get your heart rate up in preparation for more vigorous exercise. Dynamic stretching seems to be more effective at reducing muscle stiffness and can decrease the likelihood of muscle tears. Bolt obviously takes injury prevention very seriously so he makes sure that he does these kinds of things before exercise.
Sprints then make up the foundation of his workout. During the starting block, he remains focused on form rather than his competitors. He accelerates forward and drives from the hips keeping his back straight and putting his arms into it. During the drive phase, Bolt holds his drive for 30 to 35 meters. Over the next 15 meters he transitions to full speed, making sure that he doesn’t come up too quickly. Bolt didn’t begin lifting weights until he was 18 or 19 years old as more of a precaution from injury. Bolt wanted his body to mature and grow before hitting the weights. Bolt trains relatively lighter than other sprinters but trains heavy enough to develop the muscle. Bolt focuses on strength endurance, which helps him run longer and faster. Gaining too much size in sprinting can be a big negative, and Bolt does a good job at avoiding this. Having too much bulk, especially throughout your chest and shoulders, can significantly decrease your ability to relax and control what your body is doing at high speeds.
Bolt has unbelievable abdominals. Research shows that doing sprints is a great way to burn body fat and get a shredded six pack faster than other forms of training.
Some of Bolt’s preferred lifts:
Machine Squat: 1 set of 10 reps, 1 set of 8 reps Bolt keeps his head and chest up, squeezing his core and keeping his back flat. He makes sure his knees are never extended past his toes. This workout helps build power in his quads and back.
Seated Chest Press: 1 set of 10 reps, 1 set of 8 reps He keeps his lower back against the pad and keeps his core tight. Even though the chest may not seem like the most important muscle to a sprinter, Bolt believes that a strong chest keeps your body in sync and adds more power to the sprint. In addition, keeping your back against the pad is a great way to ensure that you are moving in a safe and controlled motion. Too many times, people move their backs and jerk their bodies around, which can add to further injury.
Leg Extensions: 1 set of 10 reps, 1 set of 8 reps He make sure he gets a full range of motion- from 90 degrees to straight legs. He never uses momentum to move the weight. He does this workout to keep his quads strong for added strength and muscle endurance. I would say it works, considering he beat Michael Johnson’s what-was-then-thought unbreakable record in the 100m with a blistering time of 9.69.
In an interview with FHM magazine, Bolt says his diet consists of six meals. His diet ratio consists of 60% protein, 30% carbs, and 10% fats. For breakfast, Bolt prefers Jamaican dumplings (flour, water, butter, and milk) and yams. This meal is high in carbohydrates, fiber, and vitamins A and C. For lunch, Bolt eats either tuna or snapper for additional protein with wholewheat bread and brown rice. For dinner, he sticks with either chicken, pork, or beef mixed with brown rice. Bolt has junk food on occasion. Having the occasional junk food can actually be beneficial, in what is known as a “cheat meal”. When you strictly diet for a very long time, your body gets used to the low calories. Your body recognizes the influx of calories during this cheat meal as a sign that you are out of the diet, and in turn, can actually jolt your metabolism and make you leaner. One day a week where you increase your calories is more likely to result in muscle growth than fat gain. Also, Bolt drinks plenty of fluids throughout the day to keep himself hydrated. He prefers Gatorade mixed with water. When Bolt feels the need to sit back and relax, he occasionally indulges in his favorite drink: Guinness with Red Bull. Keeping hydrated is probably the most important thing athletes can do. If these athletes aren’t fully hydrated, it can result in loads of problems, such as muscle cramps or heat exhaustion.
Note: This is only part of Usain Bolt’s workout routine, in which we offer some additional commentary to his regimen. To see the whole routine and to go more in-depth with athlete workouts, be sure to check out STACK Magazine