Ariana Kukors: What I’ve Learned Working Out With Olympic Trainers

Inspiration Saturday, August 17, 2013 Written by

Ariana Kukors is an Olympic swimmer, world-record holder and Pacific Northwest native who is working with LifeWise to promote healthy living. Follow along on her journey to live an active and healthy life. 

Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the best trainers in the world. All had one purpose – to make me a better, faster and stronger swimmer. However, the ways these trainers went about it varied. Many people think a swimmer’s training life is always spent in the pool. The truth is, swimmers also do quite a bit of activity out of the water as well.

During my swimming career, weight training was crucial. When I was 19, I switched my main event from the 400 IM to the 200 IM. The 200 IM requires much more power and speed – something I wasn’t known for! To be the best 200 IM swimmer I could be, my weight trainer put together a program that included explosive jumps and lifts, pull-ups, weighted cable work, medicine ball power throws, and much more. Through all this, I trained my body to be more explosive and efficient in its movements, and saw a direct correlation to my performance in the pool.

My trainer also taught me the importance of warming up, cooling down, stretching and recovery. Allowing our bodies to warm up is so important when working with heavy weights (or any activity, really). Being the “go-getter” that I am, I always wanted to jump right into the hard stuff. He stressed the importance of taking my time so that my body could get the most it possibly could out of a good weight-lifting workout.

My Favorite Warm-Up Exercises

My favorite warm-ups took place, not in a swimming pool, but on a basketball court where I would do the following exercises:

  • Light jog to half court and back
  • Skip while swinging arms in circles
  • Side shuffle
  • Lunges
  • Short sprints

Lessons learned from Olympic trainers

Even though I don’t train nearly as hard as I used to during my Olympic days, I still use many of the same tools I learned then in my workouts today. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Listen to your body
  • Give your body time to recover (this can be done through nutrition and rest)
  • To keep your exercise routine interesting, mix it up
  • Find a buddy
  • Do your research – find what style of workout you want
  • Challenge yourself every day!

What tips and tricks do you have for keeping your workout routine interesting? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!