Training Tips From an Olympian Forced to Refocus on 2021
Plenty of our workout routines have been upended by stay-at-home orders. But imagine what it’s like being an Olympic athlete. You’ve trained for years with a laser focus set on the goal of competing in Tokyo in 2020, only to have the event postponed until 2021 due to COVID-19 concerns.
For some, the scheduling change presents a problem, but others, like javelin hopeful Chantae McMillan, are making 2021 work for them.
“The rescheduling of the Olympics is an opportunity for me to learn more about the javelin,” McMillan said. “I feel it is a blessing in disguise. I am sticking to the program my coach gives me, which has me throwing a little more and my lifts are still ‘in-season’ focused.”
McMillan is no stranger to the Olympics. The Missouri native competed in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, as a heptathlete. Now she’s narrowed her focus.
“Fitness in my life has always been about challenging myself to what limit can I get to next I guess," explained McMillan. "And that's where I am right now. So, I felt like I was done with the heptathlon. I was happy with where I got with that as an athlete. And now it's focusing on one of those events, javelin. And seeing how good I can get at it, essentially.”
McMillan is fortunate in the fact that she doesn’t train in a facility that has been shut down due to the virus. She runs and throws on the track at Fort Rucker, Alabama, where her husband serves as an Army helicopter pilot. She also works on her strength training in her garage home gym in Rolla, Missouri.
“I have been able to complete all my lifts in my garage with my Hammer Strength rack,” added McMillan. “I was not going to any facilities, so I have not been thrown off by the virus. I am thankful I compete in an outdoor sport where I can social distance myself all the time.”
Train Like an Olympian
McMillan goes through countless reps in her garage home gym. Here are a couple of examples you can challenge yourself with.
Barbell Push Press: “I sit on the floor and lift the bar off rack about 2 inches above my head, then push from there. The focus is to keep the core tight through the presses, since there is no support from a bench.” 4 sets of 8 reps
Jump Squats: “I load the barbell with 40% of max weight and go down to almost parallel for the squat then explode up.” 4 sets of 6 reps
The Titan Games
McMillan's physical activity hasn't been relegated solely to training for the javelin. She's also a participant in the newest season of The Titan Games. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's show appears on NBC. The second season premieres on May 25.