Adam Peaty’s Gym Workout
By Edward Cooper. Originally published in Men’s Health UK
When he’s out of the pool, the gold medallist grinds hard in the gym to ensure he’s at the top of his game. Below, you’ll see an example of his training plan, fusing compound moves — such as barbell back squats and bench presses — to hit multiple muscle groups and, towards the end of the session, more isolated moves for explosive power and strength in the water.
“It’s important to understand that once you’re at the top you’ve got to keep that spot. I’ve been at the top now for five years, so it’s a long time to stay on top without getting beaten,” Peaty explains of his work ethic.
“You’ve got to find your own curve, find your routine. Every competition I go to everyone is trying to beat me so I’ve got to stay on top of my job.”
Barbell Back Squats
5 reps, 3-4 sets
Why: “Barbell back squats are important to build breaststroke power – most of that power is 70% of the stroke. A powerful leg kick is required. This move builds muscle in the quadriceps, glutes, lower back and hamstrings.”
- Stand with your feet more than shoulder-width apart and hold a barbell across your upper back with an overhand grip – avoid resting it on your neck.
- Hug the bar into your traps to engage your upper back muscles. Slowly sit back into a squat with head up, back straight and backside out.
- Lower until your hips are aligned with your knees, with your legs at 90 degrees – a deeper squat will be more beneficial but get the strength and flexibility first.
- Drive your heels into the floor to push yourself explosively back up. Keep form until you’re stood up straight: that’s one.
Barbell Bench Press
5 reps, 3 sets
Why: “The bench press helps build strength and power for that extra 30% of my stroke. It’s where you catch the water and most of your technique settles.”
- Lie back on a flat bench holding a barbell in the rack above you with a shoulder-width, overhand grip.
- Lift the bar off the rack and position it above your chest with arms fully extended. From the starting position, breathe in and lower the bar slowly until it skims the middle of your chest.
- Push the bar back to the starting position explosively as you breathe out. That’s one rep.
5 reps, 3 sets
Why: “Chin-ups are a great all rounder – it builds back muscles, biceps, triceps and muscle in the forearms.”
- Grab the pull-up bar with your palms facing towards you and a grip that is narrower than shoulder width.
- Pull yourself up until your head is above the bar.
- Slowly lower back to the start position.
5 reps, 3 sets
Why: This exercise helps build the explosive power needed in the water. Stay lateral and push as much power out of the ground as possible.
- Get in a press-up position, with your hands shoulder-width apart and back straight.
- Lower until your chest almost touches the floor then push up explosively, clapping your hands together before going straight into the next press-up.
20 reps, 3-4 sets
Why: “The core holds the stroke – providing form in the water and strength in the kick.”
- Lie on your back with your arms extended straight over your head so your body forms a straight line.
- Bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor then – keeping your arms locked – contract your abs to crunch your shoulders off the floor.