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>Health and Fitness: exercises
After having had our levels of fitness assessed, and the types of sports we participate in analyised, Ricky Mullis our team physiotherapist recommended we incorporate some of the following exercises into our fitness program.

Note: These exercises require little or no equipment and can be done in the comfort (or discomfort) of our own home.

These exercises form only part of our fitness program and each person taking part in the program will only be required to do a selection from the following exercises which specifically relate to training for their chosen sport(s).

Warning: see a properly qualified fitness consultant before you undertake an exercise which is physically demanding. If you haven't done any training for some time or perhaps you are overweight we recommend you see a doctor - heart attacks and strokes can be avoided!

Performance and prepare for wipeouts: Now the idea of the training programmes was to help our sportsmen and women perform better at their chosen sports, and we'll look at the specific demands of some of these activities as we get to them. They should all improve on at least one component (and probably more) in our exercise test, although this was not the main aim. A healthy by-product of all this is that they are also likely to be a little bit safer. Not suffering from the effects of fatigue so much means that they are less likely to crash, fall over or generally do something stupid through a loss of concentration. It also means that their bodies become a bit more flexible (through stretching), so when they do crash, fall over and do something stupid (which is gonna' happen sooner or later) they are more able to bend and contort into unnatural positions before anything "gives" (and breaks, OUCH!!).

Most of the activities that our crew choose to take part in requires a combination of reasonable aerobic condition along with some upper body and/or abdominal muscle endurance. None of them needs to be built like Arnold Schwarzneggar's outhouse, so the real heavy weights can stay in the unopened boxes that they arrived in.

Aerobic training: Standard aerobic training advice goes along the lines of… "a warm-up, followed by 20-60 minutes of activity using large muscle groups, 3-5 times per week and a warm-down". Now that is sound advice, and everyone would benefit if they just got out there and did it. However, those folks out there who already have a pretty good aerobic base to work upon (i.e. the regular runners, cyclists, etc.) are probably gonna' need to move away from the "steady-state" regular pace stuff, and start incorporating some "Interval" and/or "Fartlek" work (yes it is a real word, ask any Scandinavian). One simple way of doing this is to build in some short sharp bursts of faster work into the steady-state runs. In practice, this means the runner picks some landmarks along the route (lamp post, trees, road signs, etc.) that are spaced somewhere around 100 - 300 metres apart. After the first mile (effectively an active warm-up) up the pace in between them, not to a sprint, but enough to really get the heart and lungs working hard. Then have an active recovery phase of a minute or two (i.e. back to regular pace) before the next burst. This is hard work (and has been known to cause many a vomiting session) but should improve our maximal capacity and ability to cope with those annoying hills.

Circuit training: Now we all hate it, but Circuit Training really is one of the best ways of improving muscular power and endurance. What's more, we don't need any fancy expensive equipment to set up a really effective exercise package at home. Most of the exercises outlined below require no equipment at all (apart from willing muscles!). A cheap set of dumbbells (or anything else that you can find around the house or garage to lift up) and possibly a chin-up bar (for the climbers) is really the only extra stuff we might require.

We are starting by doing 1-2, but build up to 3 circuits of the exercises as described in our individual programs. We are giving ourselves 1-2 minutes between each circuit for recovery. We really need to do this 2-3 times per week to get the most benefit, preferably on alternate days between other stuff (or we could try it after some aerobic work if we still feel up to it!).

Back extension
Use a cushion under the stomach
Ball squeeze
Any old TENNIS ball will do. When Ricky tried this with a lump of coal and he made a small diamond...
Bicep curl
This incorporates a twist. Remember keep the elbow still (and not touching your ribs)
This is the two leg bridge
Bridge (advanced)
This is the 'one leg' bridge. Keep leg straight.
Calf raise
Find some stairs...
Calf raise (advanced)
Hmmm... on one leg.
Chin up
Install a chin-up bar or find a stairwell. Palms facing forward is good for rock climbers
It will take a while to get your balance but it will come...
Hamstring curl
Leg up to 90 degrees. Ankle weights would be easier to use.
Hip extension
Ricky makes this look easy.
Jack knife
Balance will improve with practice
Leg crunch
Plant your hands under the edge of a sofa or use a barbell. Bring knees towards elbows.
Sweep the arm like you would a squash racket
The traditional press-up. Still effective after all these years.
Shoulder extension
Controlled action. Excellent for those who streetluge
Shoulder press
Controlled action. The guy on the right didn't lift a finger all day.
Legs bent at 90 degrees. Arms crossed with hands on collar bones. Touch elbows to knees.
Squat jump
Land with knees bent and return to start position. Watch for light fittings and low ceilings.
Star jump
Jump from position 1 to position 2 and back again
Squat thrust
Jump legs from position 1 to position 2 and back again. Remember to breathe!
Tricep dip
Find a sturdy bench or chair and work those triceps
Tricep dip (advanced)
Find a sturdy pair of stools and keep knees from touching the floor.
Tuck jump
Jump straight up and bring knees toward chest. Land with knees slightly bent.
Wrist flex
With palm facing upwards, curl weight upwards leaving your forearm planted.