Training Day

Colorado’s Loren Landow has quietly become the go-to trainer for a host of world-class athletes across a variety of sports. What’s his secret?

November 2012

It’s just after 9 a.m. on a June morning in the small training room of the Steadman Hawkins Physical Therapy clinic in Englewood. Country tunes stream through overhead speakers as Loren Landow tells his client to stand atop a box, 18 inches tall, that he’s placed in front of her. It’s one of the final dry-land training sessions the two of them will have before the young swimmer heads off to her competition overseas. He instructs her to jump toward the ceiling 10 times, then drop to the floor and hold a core-strengthening plank position for one minute. The athlete’s mischievous half-glare/half-smile tells Landow she needs further explanation.

“The explosion is crucial for you to get off the…. What do they call the thing you jump off of into the pool?” he asks. “A platform? A box? A block?”

She gazes down from her perch toward Landow. At 6-foot-1, she’s as tall as some of the NFL players he’ll see later that afternoon. “Nope,” she says with a straight face. “When we’re ready to start the race, the announcer says, ‘Everyone get on your things.’ ”

Landow rolls his eyes as she howls with laughter. A little fun is allowed; one of his primary goals is to balance the rigors of his prescribed training program with a bit of levity to lighten the athlete’s psyche. She stretches out, body flat, pressing on her toes and forearms in plank position as Landow asks, “What’s your plan for breakfast?”

“Ooohhh,” she squeals with delight. “Maybe my mom will make this omelet thing she made yesterday morning. It was soooo good.”

As the athlete starts her next set, Landow texts her mom to request the omelet he knows the teenager will need to replenish the calories she’s already burned. A few feet away, oblivious to the exchange, she holds another plank position while singing along with Keith Urban on the stereo. When she’s finished, Landow sends her home to rest before her afternoon workout. Nine weeks later, Landow’s client, Missy Franklin, would climb atop another box—this one a podium—after winning her fourth gold medal, her fifth medal overall, at the London Olympic Games.