Develop a Gorilla grip and conquer the monkey bars

Are you taking part in Tough Mudder, Spartan or another obstacle course race?

You are probably aware that a mainstay feature of these races is the monkey bars!  Some people do this effortlessly but if you are anything like me then you probably have found them a struggle!

Keep trying, keep failing:

I have put a lot of effort into trying to improve my upper body strength to conquer this pretty simple obstacle – I did pull-ups, lifted heavy weights and would even jump in play parks and use those monkey bars (when kids weren’t around of course) and yet it still was the most excruciating pain going across something that was a measly three metres at best.

It became something I always dreaded when I was obstacle racing as I knew I was bound to come off and have to do a penalty.

By luck, I was having a walk with the family around a local beauty spot where it had a ‘trim trail’ which I took great pleasure in showing off.  Then I got to the monkey bars.  I felt that old dread but as I was only messing around I thought I might as well give it a go.

Much to my surprise, I worked my way across the bars with ease first time.  I wasn’t warmed up and I was probably about two stone heavier than when I last went across the bars in the peak of my OCR career.

So how did I get the strength to conquer the bars with so little effort? Continue reading “Develop a Gorilla grip and conquer the monkey bars”

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The 10 Best Weight Lifting exercises: Shoulder Press

Please see a continuation of my top 10 weight exercises: where I give my opinion on some of my favourite exercises that have been a staple of my gym routine for many years.

I have a very traditional and basic attitude to weight training – you won’t see gimmicky exercises or “Wolverine Workouts” here.  If you have experience of weight training you have probably heard of most of my list.  I take the view to be the master of these 10 weight exercises, rather than do a new routine everyweek.

This week is Number 5:

Shoulder Press

Continue reading “The 10 Best Weight Lifting exercises: Shoulder Press”

The 10 Best Weight Lifting exercises: Triceps extension

Please see a continuation of my top 10 weight exercises: where I give my opinion on some of my favourite exercises that have been a staple of my gym routine for many years.

I have a very traditional and basic attitude to weight training – you won’t see gimmicky exercises or “Wolverine Workouts” here.  If you have experience of weight training you have probably heard of most of my list.  I take the view to be the master of these 10 weight exercises, rather than do a new routine everyweek.

This week is Number 6:

Triceps extension

Continue reading “The 10 Best Weight Lifting exercises: Triceps extension”

The 10 Best Weight Lifting exercises: Push Press

I continue my series where I count down my top 10 weight exercises, giving my opinion on some of my favourite exercises that have been a staple of my gym routine for many years.

The purpose of this weekly series is for me to share with you the reader my favourite workout exercises.  I don’t tell you how to do it – so whether you are doing it for power, body building or endurance – you will just see why I like these exercises, it’s up to you how heavy you go.

If you have experience of weight training you have probably heard of most of my list.  Although I can appreciate a number of exercises, I take the view it is best to be a master of a small number of routines.  These 10 weight exercises are what I focus on week-in, week out.

This week is Number 8:

Push Press

Continue reading “The 10 Best Weight Lifting exercises: Push Press”

The 10 Best Weight Lifting exercises: Side Raises

Please see a continuation of my top 10 weight exercises: where I give my opinion on some of my favourite exercises that have been a staple of my gym routine for many years.

I have a very traditional and basic attitude to weight training – you won’t see gimmicky exercises or “Wolverine Workouts” here.  If you have experience of weight training you have probably heard of most of my list.  I take the view to be the master of these 10 weight exercises, rather than do a new routine everyweek.

This week is Number 9:

Lateral Raise

Continue reading “The 10 Best Weight Lifting exercises: Side Raises”

The 10 Best Weight Lifting exercises: The Bent-over row

I have had many years going to the gym.  Many times I have tried various gimmicky exercises, which I usually picked up from some fitness magazine or website.  Sometimes it has been some gym bro extending his “knowledge”

As I have got older I realised that sometimes it is better to stick to the basics rather than trying to imitate some crazy routine seen on YouTube.

So here are (in my opinion) the best 10 free weight exercises to do in the gym

This week I start with Number 10:

Bent Over Barbell Row

Continue reading “The 10 Best Weight Lifting exercises: The Bent-over row”

Just what the doctor ordered

I walked in to see my GP a gibbering wreck.  Despite knowing I needed to do this, there was a reluctance to what I was about to do.

Despite being at my peak of fitness I doddered over to my seat like an 80 year old.

I sat down and swallowed, my nerves made me very tense as I clung to my chair.  The doctor patiently waited for me to share my aliments.  Realising I wasn’t going to say anything he opened up. Continue reading “Just what the doctor ordered”

What should I bring to an Obstacle Race?

What should I bring to an Obstacle race? You’ve come up with training circuits in the gym, you’ve run – a lot and you’ve even taken part in boot camps.  What else can you do?

On Saturday I will be taking part in Badass Mudder.  It seems so long since my first Obstacle Race – Spartan Yorkshire.  However I forgot one part to that story, the aftermath – kit wise I prepared very poorly. Continue reading “What should I bring to an Obstacle Race?”

The 60 minute makeover – a crossfit style workout

The 60 minute makeover:  I am always looking for new ways to meet the needs that an obstacle race challenges you.  I do various routines in the gym to help me out.

Here is a really intense workout that my personal trainer friend got me doing.

He calls it the 60 minute makeover because when you are finished you will feel a completely different person (whether you feel healthier or just drenched in sweat is debatable).

sweat

This is something he has been doing with his clients, however not many are to his level of fitness, therefore he was begging to try it with me as we are on similar levels. Continue reading “The 60 minute makeover – a crossfit style workout”

Spartan Inspired gym workout

Spartan Inspired gym workout: I said that I would make more effort to speak to people in the gym, especially being friendly with the staff.  This has already paid off.

IMG_20130209_2140351

In the topic of conversation a personal trainer asked what I am working towards.  I told him how I do obstacle races and I aiming to improve my time at the next Spartan Yorkshire race.

He gave me this handy little circuit to try out that I wanted to share: Continue reading “Spartan Inspired gym workout”