post Olympics campaign #BeYourPersonalBest is a good
solid way for regular human beings to achieve, if not quite Olympic times in
the pool, then a fitness level both substantial and sustainable.
The deal is you
choose your target and they’ll help you reach that goal. I’ve taken up the
challenge of improving a fairly modest swimming ability (let’s say somewhere
below Ryan Lochte and leave it at, yeah?) and to help, Virgin Active have set
me with a series of lessons throughout December plus some back up gym training.
The main goal of the gym work is to develop exercises that will boost my ability in the pool but my trainer Adam is also looking at my overall fitness. He quickly
identifies areas where I have plateaued (not a euphemism for ‘got a bit lazy’
thanks very much) and exercises I’ve been doing OK but not exactly right and therefore not getting the full benefits from.
is to stick to a programme of upper body for one session, lower body for the second
and rotate on that basis, with particular emphasis on building elements into
the workout that will help my swim. This means strong legs and strong legs come
from spending time in the gym on them, rather than just imagining strong legs
will ‘happen’ each time you chest press again.
The legs are the
bit of training that most people either hate to train or neglect to when there
are much more visible signs of being buff like chest and arms that you can work
on. But your leg muscles take up about half your total body muscle mass and are
important for overall stability and strength and you know, top heavy is not a
good look. So there are squats to do. Christ, there are squats to do.
There are also
supersets to help with all this plateauing terribleness. Supersets is when you
do two exercises in tandem – one set of leg extensions followed by one set of
leg curls – and then a leg extension drop set to end. The leg extension drop
set involves doing 10 reps at a high weight, then dropping the weight and doing
10 more and then again at a final lower weight. And then you get up and your
legs feel like jelly. It works! Congratulations to me and my wobbly legs.
Later this week,
it’s pool time to see what more than strong legs and a Positive Mental Attitude
I need to improve that crawl. More as I sweat it...