One thing you should know about me is that I love the Olympics. During the Winter and Summer Games, you can find me parked on the couch for hours at a time, trying to soak up as much grit, grace, and crazy-impressive athleticism as I can. I always admire how fit the athletes are and imagine the work it must take to get in shape like them.
So, when I agreed to work out like Lindsey Vonn—you know, just the former Olympic skier—I figured I was in for a challenge. Spoiler alert: I was so right.
Although I didn’t speak to Lindsey directly to get a breakdown of her current training regimen (a girl can dream, though!), I did find some great sources of info from the past several years, like her Instagram posts, her YouTube videos, and her book, Strong Is the New Beautiful. So, each one of the at-home workouts I did was totally and completely inspired by Lindsey.
But please take note: I’m not a trainer. So, tthe workout schedule I put together was meant to help *me* try as many Lindsey Vonn-inspired sessions as possible in a short time span, so doing all of these workouts consecutively isn’t necessarily an optimal week of training (or a typical week for Lindsey). But, let me tell you, this mix of workouts and modalities kept me on my toes (literally) and spiced up my fitness regimen big time.
Read on for my big takeaways from the Lindsay-inspired workouts I tried—and the gains I saw after seven days.
She’s all about get-strong circuits.
Lindsey’s book, Strong Is the New Beautiful, contains 65 of her favorite strength-training exercises, plus nine circuits that combine the movements into 30-minute workouts. The pro also offers plenty of guidance for completing the circuits, including pictures and instructions to go along with each exercise and a suggested warm-up routine (light aerobic work, foam rolling, dynamic stretching, and lateral resistance band walks). The three-round circuits are grouped by difficulty level (beginner, intermediate, and expert), and each one contains seven different exercises.
On day one, I chose an intermediate circuit, because Lindsey recommends this level for those with some strength training experience (check) and a base level of muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness (check). I might have been able to get away with jumping right to the expert level, which is designed for those who’ve been working out regularly for more than a year and have a “solid” level of muscle strength and cardio fitness, but I paced myself and graduated to the expert level the next day.
Since I have done some strength training before, the movements in these circuits—like split squat jumps, bent-over rows, and shoulder presses—felt pretty familiar to me. Still, I found my form breaking more as I progressed through the rounds, which definitely isn’t ideal.
Here’s the thing: Back when I worked out at the gym, it was a lot easier to notice my form breaks. At home, without a bunch of mirrors, it’s a little harder to stay accountable. My tips? Have a friend nearby while you work out – or have them exercise with you! And if you’re home alone, like I was, try setting up your phone camera on an automatic timer. I looked at pictures of myself between rounds to find room for improvement.
She sweats with personal trainer Alex Bunt—so I did too.
Lindsey posted two great training videos on her YouTube channel in early 2019. Both the upper-body workout and the leg-and-butt tone-up were put together by Alex Bunt, Lindsey’s former private trainer, who demonstrates the movements with her and offers ways to modify their difficulty. At the end of the latter video, Alex recommends doing five rounds of the circuit, so that’s what I stuck with for both workouts.
The upper-body workout includes push-ups as well as fun movements like stability ball mountain climbers and resistance band pull-aparts, while the leg-and-butt tone-up consists exclusively of bodyweight exercises like lunges and lateral squats. Don’t be fooled by the lack of equipment, though – in terms of results, bodyweight workouts can be comparable to those that require weights and machines, according to Harvard Medical School.
Can confirm: That lower-body session was still *super* tough and I felt exhausted by the second round. For me, the most difficult part of the circuit was the very first exercise: squat jumps. This move absolutely torches my thighs.
“Squat jump lights up your legs, glutes, and lungs all in one go!” Chris Ryan, C.S.C.S, previously told Women’s Health. But since the plyometric move is pretty taxing, Ryan recommended incorporating it into workouts just once or twice per week. (Good news for me!)
In case you’re wondering, my legs didn’t get much of a break on the second exercise. It was another tough one for me—split jumps!
Lindsey doesn’t skimp on the balance and core work.
In the spring of 2020, Under Armour posted a YouTube video of Lindsey’s at-home balance and core workout. The session consists of a two-round core activation circuit (dead bugs, a plank hold, and squats), four rounds of ice skaters and single-leg balance holds, and two rounds of reverse lunges and a weighted squat hold. Overall, this workout was easier for me than Alex’s circuits (probably because it didn’t include as much jumping, TBH).
What I love about this session is that you can do it anywhere and modify the difficulty level—even without legit equipment. At the start of the video, Lindsey lets viewers know they can make the exercises harder by grabbing some weight. And for her, that weight is just a bottle of bleach.
If you look at Lindsey’s Instagram, you’ll see that she seems to work out with fancy gym equipment pretty often. But this session taught me not to be intimidated or discouraged: Apparently, even pros like Lindsey Vonn find themselves improvising to get a good sweat in.
The week couldn’t be complete without a Gunnar Peterson session.
Lindsey’s social media also led me to Gunnar Peterson, the celebrity trainer that she’s been working with. (For example, check out this recent video of the athlete absolutely crushing a Monday sesh with him.) Though I don’t know *exactly* what kinds of workouts Gunnar puts Lindsey through, I wanted to at least get an idea of what it’s like to train with him. So, I turned to this article from WH, which details a six-move session he put together.
The workout includes push-ups, squats, tuck jumps, dumbbell overhead presses (pictured above), and skater lunges with a dumbbell kickback, and it calls for varying numbers of sets and reps by exercise. It also has a killer bicycle crunch finisher – 100 reps on *both* sides. While I wouldn’t call myself prepared for that many reps at the end of the workout, I’m happy to report that I finished strong.
This workout isn’t the only way to experience Gunnar’s training methods. In fact, he just launched the Full Gunnar, a four-week training and nutrition program, on June 28 (and BTW, you can follow it whether you prefer to work out in the gym or at home).
I loved working out like Lindsey Vonn. Training sessions brought me back to my days of participating in organized sports, but I didn’t feel overwhelmed.
In her book and in all of those YouTube videos, there were plenty of ways to ease in and/or modify the difficulty level of each workout.
I’m looking forward to adding these training sessions into my regular routine and noticing myself getting stronger, especially while doing the leg-and-butt tone-up. You know I’ll return to that circuit to conquer more squat jumps. Hopefully, I’ll soon be ready to try the most difficult version of the movement that Alex demonstrates in the video (touching the ground between each jump for greater range of motion).
Even in the toughest moments of each workout, I felt a total confidence boost knowing I was (kind of) exercising like an Olympian. In fact, throughout the Tokyo Games, I just might be on the lookout for another pro athlete to provide some workout inspiration.
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