Alexander Technique for Success: Going for Gold at the Olympics

What can we learn from athletes who are using the Alexander Technique to go for the gold during Olympic Games?  The first case study we’ll look at is the British Olympic Rowing Squad at the 2004 Athens Summer Olympic Games. 

The hours spent rowing and lifting weights during training can cause muscle shortening that can lead to pain, fractured ribs and other common injuries among rowers.  The Alexander Technique allows athletes to learn to prevent muscle shortening during activity.  In addition, athletes find Alexander Technique lying down work helps them relieve pressure and stress related to preparing for competition.  This lying down work helps athletes enhance their mindfulness of the body, slow the heart rate and boost the immune system.

The members of the British Olympic Rowing Squad that took Alexander Technique lessons learned to maintain their natural alignment while under immense demands.  Lessons helped them to move in their joints and lengthen their spine allowing them to make longer and more powerful strokes to advance the boat faster (STAT news).  The British team won the gold with 0.08 seconds to spare in a “titanic tussle with the Canadians (BBC).” 

Based on this photo, how do you think this USA rowing squad did rowing in Athens?

  1. Are they moving in their joints?

  2. Are their spines long?

  3. Do they need Alexander Technique lessons? Yup!

Check out this photo of the winning British rowing squad to see if you can tell which members of the team took Alexander Technique lessons.