Alysha Newman Catapults Her Profession To New Heights

April 11, 2022

For pole vaulter Alysha Newman, the game aligns completely for her work ethic and drive.

Regardless of the preparation and coaching that goes into being a Canadian record-holder and among the best on the planet, there is no such thing as a bounce that would be the similar. Every time Alysha Newman takes off down the runway, it’s a chase for perfection in approach, thoughts, physique, and execution.

One vital part that separates elite athletes from good ones is an innate psychological make-up and final yr, Newman opened up about her recovery from a concussion that shook that confidence. She says the expertise has humbled her and allowed her to have a good time the small wins and discover the thrill within the small particulars that may turn out to be monotonous at this stage in her profession. Her perspective has additionally shifted into being the model of herself.

“I feel one factor for me to persevere previous was actually not specializing in what I did fallacious however focusing on the positives and my strengths,” Newman mentioned. “As you understand with athletes, we’ve got this timeline in being our greatest self. I labored on all my weaknesses, and I’ve gotten weaknesses to show into strengths, however this late in my profession — I most likely have two extra Olympics in me — there’s no level in making an attempt to repair that as a result of I have already got the habits. Now, we’ll give attention to what I’m nice at.”

To be a fantastic pole vaulter, you need to be good at a variety of further disciplines, and Alysha Newman spoke with Muscle & Health about all that goes into clearing world-record heights.

Canadian Olympic Pole Vaulter Alysha Newman clearing the pole vault crossbar
Courtesy of Alysha Newman

The Making of an Olympic Pole Vaulter

To begin, you have to be a superb sprinter. You must be quick nevertheless it’s like a head-to-toe factor. Loads of gymnasts flip into pole vaulters simply because we get that physique consciousness at such a younger age and we’re in a position to remember within the air when you will have the pole, and also you join the neck with the pole. Sprinting and working approach are all the time primary and headed into gymnastics, it’s physique consciousness and physique energy. We’re like an all-around, head-to-toe athlete. We do plyometrics, weightlifting and all of our exercises are periodized. Yearly, we see the largest meet of the yr — mine are often in August — and we work backward. We’ll solely most likely peak three or 4 instances a yr and also you’ll bounce your highest these instances, however the coach plans it to occur at sure meets. That’s what’s actually distinctive about observe and subject. Individuals all the time surprise why the very best of the very best aren’t all the time successful or breaking world information. It’s as a result of you’ll be able to’t bodily keep at that degree in observe and subject that lengthy with out hurting your self. It’s cool that our exercises are deliberate to peak about thrice a yr with good running form, steadiness, physique consciousness, and energy.

The Fundamentals To Turning into A Nice Pole Vaulter

We do very elongated workout routines. Not crunches or any of that. It’s rope climbing whereas the other way up. We’re doing pole-rope climbing, wall bar the place you’re laying in your again and lifting your legs up however we don’t crunch on the hips; we crunch on the shoulders. After we speak about stomach energy within the pole vault, it’s actually from the chin to the pelvic area. So, it’s our lats, core, obliques and all that stuff is activated whereas we’re doing core work. Another wonderful stuff that we do is we maintain med balls over our heads and do a variety of hurdle strolling. So, heavy weight above our heads for energy and steadiness, and it additionally prompts the core.

As observe athletes, we attempt to keep dynamic earlier than and static after. Loads of jogging or biking earlier than coaching to form of get the muscle groups shifting. I do know some athletes love to do the distinction tub however I’ve by no means been one to try this simply because I wish to really feel elastic. I wish to be a bit of bit tighter after I prepare as a result of I need to really feel a bit of resistance. I don’t need to really feel too good. I wish to perform a little warmup — we name them mild workout routines. Arm swings, karaoke [running drill] and we go into a variety of band work additionally to open up the joints. Normally, we’ll finish with about three to 4 60- to 100-meter runs simply to get the legs shifting. In Toronto, we’ve got this superior curved observe, so we do them like a downhill run to get the toes shifting as quick as you’ll be able to earlier than follow.

I’m actually solely doing technicals twice per week. The opposite 4 days are often plyo, sprinting, tempo working, weightroom coaching, and med-ball work. You don’t need to overtrain one factor always. You must adapt, be in numerous eventualities and conditions to hit every single core muscle that you simply want. I do watch movie however doing precise pole vault work — I’m most likely solely doing 4 to 6 hours per week out of my 30 hours of coaching.

Olympic pole vaulter Alysha Newman running the hurdles on a track
Courtesy of Alysha Newman

It’s Largely Psychological for Alysha Newman

I feel individuals assume it’s very bodily and a variety of instances with pole vault it’s 90 p.c psychological for us. It’s gripping a better and stiffer pole, being on these large objects and catapulting your self in opposition to gravity. I feel lots of people underestimate actually taking a human physique and flinging it over a bar. Even my coaches who haven’t finished pole vault themselves will likely be like, “You’re in such nice form. You look so good,” however typically I’m simply mentally drained. I feel that a variety of the time, individuals don’t perceive the mind connection to your physique. For me, that was an enormous factor for me final yr. I simply couldn’t get that connection to my bodily. I used to be working, lifting and I used to be the strongest I ever was — the bottom body-fat proportion I ever was and it was the worst yr of my profession. We name them “Doubt Monsters.” You might have to have the ability to go away all of it on the observe, push worry apart, and be larger than these doubt monsters.

With Age Comes Knowledge

I feel a variety of instances with being an athlete, you’re so aggressive once you’re out on the observe. It doesn’t matter who you’re with. I prepare with guys on a regular basis and nonetheless to at the present time, I feel I’m higher than all of them. However, typically it’s not about being primary in follow. It’s figuring out when to cease and when your physique is at its restrict and has had sufficient for that day. For me, it was being physique conscious to know possibly you weren’t utterly glad however your physique bought higher. That has been such a key part and that’s why I do hypnotherapy as a result of I need to actually learn to join my thoughts to my physique and know when sufficient is sufficient. The older I’m getting, the much less I’ve to place in these hours of laborious work and it’s extra about restoration, sleep, diet, and taking good care of your self off the observe. These are the place you’re going to see these further p.c beneficial properties, by taking good care of your self off the observe greater than on it.

A Day on the Gymnasium for Alysha Newman

Normally, I’ll present as much as the observe round 10 or 10:30. We’ll see everybody and speak about what we’re going to do after which all of us go for a five-minute jog or a 10-minute bike; it simply will depend on what day of the week it’s. Then we head into our common workout routines. We do a variety of band work after which do our xcels after which we head into pole vault drills if it’s a pole vault day.

We do a variety of sled pulls. We do a variety of field horse drills. You might have this large field proper in entrance of the pole vault pit and also you’re doing drills to keep away from the run up. You’re simply doing pole work on the precise pole. Then, we’ll head again and begin engaged on — proper earlier than you bend the pole — we name it a takeoff. So you’re employed on getting your arms up, getting activated, and fast toes at takeoff. Then they’ll determine to see the place you might be energy-wise and we determine which pole you’re going to go on that day. We’ll slowly work our method again to full strategy and that’s your competitors size on the runway. We’ll most likely bounce about 12-15 instances in a follow after which after everyone seems to be glad or you’ll be able to’t do it anymore since you’re mentally drained, we head over to do med-ball work, high-bar work, giants, rope climbing, wall bar — we name them boopcas with the rings, so that you’re swinging the other way up on the rings and we’ll all the time finish with a tempo run. It’s not one hundred pc effort. It’s like 60 to 70 p.c with 100-meter stroll in between. Then you definitely do a static stretch and also you head into get some physio, therapy or a therapeutic massage flush. Typically, I’ll even do hypnotherapy proper after.

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