Adam Peaty Reveals the 5 Exercises He Uses to Build Podium Power

Men’s health in the UK sat down with Adam Peaty ahead of the Commonwealth Games. Before suffering his first defeat in the 100m breaststroke since 2014. Before being chastised on social media for not taking the Games seriously enough, and before showing what a competitor he was by winning the 50m breaststroke .

That’s what he said of his hopes as the competition approaches.

“I have no performance expectations,” he said. “I’m just going to show up and see what my body can do. I think it’s a great place. I’m not going to expect time or performance. Obviously I want to win. I’m spinning until every competition, and I want to win. That’s what I tell myself every day. That’s what makes me drive, so I’m not going to sit here and say ‘oh, I want a medal’. Because it’s not me. I go to every event to win. And I’ll just see where my body can take me.

Wondering if Peaty still has his will to win is like wondering if the sun will rise in the morning or if night will fall in the evening. He will, and he does.

The amount of work Peaty puts into it ensures that. Even before the Games, when Peaty’s foot was encased in a protective boot, he put himself through grueling cardio sessions. Once the boot was off, he resumed lifting like a powerlifter, with 125kg squats and 500+kg leg presses on his schedule.

Peaty loves the work, both in and out of the pool. Here, he reveals the five exercises he favors the most. Unsurprisingly, they’re great for forging powerful bodies and even more powerful minds. You can’t accuse Peaty of missing either.

Photo Credit: Men's Health

Photo Credit: Men’s Health

dumbbell press

How: Lie face up on a bench holding two dumbbells at chest height. Press down on the weights until your arms are fully extended. Then slowly lower back to the starting position.

Peaty says:I would say bench press normally, but I really enjoy dumbbell bench press because you have to work each arm, you can’t get away with a stronger arm and you can’t get away with it without stabilization, so you gotta work all those little little muscles.”

back squat

How: With your feet just beyond shoulder-width apart and a barbell across your upper back with an overhand grip, slowly squat down. Keep your head up, back straight, and buns out. Lower yourself until your hips are in line with your knees (a deeper squat will be more beneficial, but get the strength and flexibility first). Drive your heels into the ground to push yourself back explosively. Keep in shape until you are standing.

Peat says: “You can clearly see when people miss leg day and the back squat is one of those everyone tries to avoid, but it’s so good for you in terms of the whole body chain and force along the spine.”

Photo Credit: Men's Health

Photo Credit: Men’s Health

leg press

How: In the leg press, place your feet shoulder-width apart on the platform. Push into the platform until your legs are straight without locking your knees. Slowly lower until your knees are 90 degrees off the ground, then return to the starting position through your heels.

Peat says: “I really enjoy the leg press because it’s quite easy to do, you get that stabilization but you can also carry the load as high as you can. I think I’m at 500kg now, maybe a bit higher.”


How: Grab the handles of the pull-up bar with your palms facing you and your arms fully extended. Your hands should be shoulder width apart. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, exhale, and drive your elbows toward your hips to bring your chin over the bar. Descend under control to the starting position.

Peat says: “I would say pull-ups, but only bodyweight because I can do a lot of things with bodyweight. It obviously becomes very difficult when you look at 55 or 60kg. Someone has to find a machine that just takes the big of the weight plates because when you get to 3 20kg plates you don’t have any leg movement I don’t like that because it’s awkward but I like the body weight, and it’s really good for the back and shoulder muscles.

Photo credit: *

Photo credit: *

Toboggan runs

How: With your torso almost parallel to the ground, grab the sled with your arms locked. Drive the sled by walking as fast as you can, bringing one knee up to your chest as your other leg extends behind you.

Peat says: “I really like toboggan runs because it helps engage the hamstrings, but you can also use it as a heavy anaerobic workout or you can use it as a light thing where you can hit that aerobic block. So I think it’s very, very useful for motorsports.”

Adam Peaty is an ambassador for British sportswear brand Castore, wearing Castore’s SS22 collection on their journey to Commonwealth Games gold. Available for purchase on

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