While training and talent are crucial in Olympic sport, it generally follows that a particular build or physical attribute can give the competitor a distinct advantage. So if you want to get off the mark quicker here’s our guide to the best body types for some of The Games’ best-loved events.
Tall and Athletic? Try Rowing
Women who are over six foot and men another six inches at least on top of that can make great rowers. In addition they need to have a balanced body with strong arms, legs and torsos.
The longer the arms the better, as this gives you a long, powerful stroke. Strong legs provide the power for an excellent take off and sustained stamina for the duration. Serious rowers can comfortably squat their own body weight, and possibly more.
Little and light? You could run a marathon
Elite long distance runners are short and slender. Most measure under 5’ 7” and weigh well around 9 stone.
To go the distance requires energy and stamina, and the bigger and more muscular the runner the greater the number of calories required to keep running at an impressive pace for 2 hours or so. So if you’re on the petite side then you’re definitely predisposed to a good long run and a marathon could be the Olympic sport for you!
Small, strong and supple? Gymnastics is for you
If you’re strong, flexible and have good balance then gymnastics could well be your sport. Shorter people have lower centres of gravity making balance a natural attribute. Gymnasts also have toned and strong arms and legs as many of the moves require them to carry their own body weight and those of their team mates with their arms. The third string to the bow, suppleness is the rarest of the three but if your body is bendy as well as strong you could master a backflip with a little training.
Long and lean? Take a jump
If you’re tall and lean then you could be a successful high jumper. A slight frame is also an advantage as a lighter body is easier to elevate and glide over the bar which can be as high as 2.45 meters – the current world record. You need powerful legs to get the momentum as you run up and also to create the spring as you jump.
Broad shoulders? Swim’s your thing
If your shoulders are broader than your hips you’ll make a great swimmer. It means you have a higher centre of gravity, which aids your body’s natural buoyancy. Also those strong shoulders play a key part in swimming whatever your stroke.
As well as being triangular in shape, if the torso is long it will cut the water with less resistance, creating fewer waves. Throw in slim but strong legs to power you up and down the pool and you could be a good competitor in this Olympic sport.
Light body, strong legs? Get on your bike
If your upper body is small, your hips are slim and your legs are your powerhouse you have the ideal body for biking. Being little on top means you’re light and so require fewer calories to pedal yourself along over distance at speed. And of course those strong legs give you the speed you need to race around a track or enjoy a road ride.
None of the above? Try the triathlon
If your body type is none of the above but you still like to idea of competing in a new discipline why not consider the triathlon. If you’re an average height, weight and strength this can make you competent in a variety of sports so why not go for an event that incorporates more than one discipline?
Triathlons are growing in popularity and the diversity of the training pretty much guarantees you won’t get bored as you prepare your body for a new challenge.
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