10 Of The Most Extreme Training Regimens From Around The World

Winners know that preparation trumps hope, and you have to work hard to be the best. Legendary basketball coach Bob Knight has always preached discipline and hard work as the only way to succeed. Read more of the coach’s tough as nails approach to work and life in his new book, The Power of Negative Thinking: An Unconventional Approach to Achieving Positive Results, in stores now.

1. Ben Lecomte swam five hours a day, six days a week in preparation for his trans-Atlantic swim

Coach Knight famously said, “The mark of success, or failure, in handling victory is what happens the next time out.” After he achieved his goal in 1998, Lecomte started making plans to swim across the Pacific.

2. The South Korean Army runs training drills in frozen rivers

Knight encouraged his players to practice as though their opponents are out there training twice as hard. Your opponents might be like these soldiers training in the most extreme conditions to cope with physical and mental fatigue.

3. Shaolin Monks will balance on their heads for hours to strengthen their necks for fighting

Coach Knight says, “If it ain’t broke, fix it”. You can always find areas for improvement, as these monks demonstrate by pushing their bodies as far as they will go.

4. Usain Bolt would train by strapping himself to a car to reach speeds up to 30 mph.

Gilbert Bellamy / Reuters

“’Slow and steady wins the race?’”, asks coach Knight, “What was the last Olympics you watched?” Clearly, faster is always better, and Bolt’s method is one grueling way to make your body the fastest in the world.

5. Blake Griffin’s steep and weighted (60lbs!) sand dune sprints

Knight tells us that you should “never think talent alone will determine the outcome.” Griffin has this figured out. This grueling workout by one of the NBA’s greatest leapers is designed to strengthen every muscle by forcing your body to adapt to a constantly shifting surface.

6. Legendary strongman Marius Pudzianowski flips tractor tires

This guy embraces Knight’s philosophy of “less hope, more sweat.” The workout routine is simple: flip the tire until you can’t. These industrial-sized farm tires are as heavy as 650 pounds, and it’s a total body workout in every sense.

7. The actors in “300” killed themselves for those abs

Coach Knight prefers to think in terms of “if you don’t” rather than “if you do”. If you don’t put the time in, you won’t get the results. The daily routine used by the actors included the following: 50 pull-ups, 50 deadlifts at 135 pounds 50 push-ups, and 50 box jumps with a 24-inch box.

8. Navy Seals endure “surf torture”

Lance Iverson/San Francisco Chronicle/Corbis

Coach Knight taught his players that wanting to win is not enough; you have to do the little things that put you in a position to win. Similarly, these servicemen training to become Navy Seals do whatever it takes to mentally and physically prepare for combat.

9. Ultramarathon training requires running regular marathons multiple times per week

Ultramarathoners fully embrace Knight’s definition of discipline: “recognize what has to be done, do it as well as you can, and do it that way all the time.” To prepare for a 100 mile ultramarathon, coaches recommend that you run 3 days of back-to-back-to-back runs of 15 miles, 25 miles, and 30 miles.

10. The Princeton Crew Quintathalon requires stamina and a dose of insanity

“Preparation isn’t supposed to be fun,” says Coach Knight. This training regimen was designed by an athletic and crazy Princeton freshman ten years ago. All you have to do is row twelve miles, bike seventeen miles, then run a 10k, then row another 15k on a rowing machine. To finish, sprint up and down a set of stairs 50 times.

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