Five members of team ELLE are taking on the Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest this Saturday – a 10k assault course at Wembley Park. We headed to the Reebok Sports Club in Canary Wharf for some last-minute pointers, because that’s how we roll. No training and no less than 19 obstacles to get past. Wish us luck.
Here are the tips we picked up from trainers Chris Glover and Steph Whitehead:
1) Obstacle course races require you to move in many planes of motion, not just straight ahead. Ensure you warm up with some spinal rotation stretches.
2) To strengthen your grip lift a heavy kettlebell around 16-18kg into each hand then walk ahead for 10 paces, turn around and walk back. Rest for a minute. Repeat three times.
3) If you need help with grip and want to prevent blisters (!) you might want to wear training gloves on race day; you want a thin pair that provide good grip. Normal training gloves may be too thick and will make grip exercises tougher (would be similar to holding onto a thicker bar). In the gym, use either gloves or liquid chalk to prevent your hands from slipping.
4) Can't do a pull up? Start with a reverse version instead, it's easier and will help build your strength. Jump up and grab a pull-up bar, so your head is above the bar, arms bent then slowly lower yourself down until your arms are straight. Be mindful to keep your stomach and bum pulled in tight so you're not swinging around – you want the movement to be controlled.
5) Alternatively, get yourself some Woody Bands (at Strength Shop) and secure them over a TRX frame or Rig (pictured). Put one foot in the band, the resistance will help take some of the weight off your pull-up but will get you used to the movement of the exercise – more effective than an assisted pull-up machine.
6) When attempting monkey bars - use the momentum of your body weight to propel you to the next bar. Try not to rest for too long on each one, because the increased tension on your body will mean you fatigue faster. If you're not confident, concentrate on just getting from bar to bar – move, then bring your second hand to join the first on the same bar. If you feel stronger, try grabbing one bar with one hand, then swinging to the next bar with the other.
To become a member at Reebok Sports Club, Canary Wharf, please visit reebokclub.co.uk or call 020 7970 0911