Training to gain strength and increase my endurance.

Today was week three at the gym, I started off warming up on the cross-trainer before heading over to the mats for my circuit workout planned by Steve my Personal Trainer.

My first exercise in the circuit was a kettlebell sumo squat, we started with 12kg just to warm up and to get my technique correct before moving to 20kg.

The sumo squat develops strength in all of the major muscles in the lower body. Including the kettlebell sumo squat exercise into my training is more beneficial than training each lower body muscle group independently. During the sumo squat, your glutes, quads, calves and other muscles have to work together to coordinate the movement. Squats are great because as well as strengthening a large number of muscles they help build your coordination and balance. Remember to keep your legs wide and feet at a 45degree angle, open your chest and breathe on the up.

After this squat I moved to hip thrusts (kettle bell swings) with the kettle bells, these are initiated with a powerful hip thrust using your glutes and hamstrings. This powerful movement develops the entire posterior chain of muscles while providing a great platform for building endurance and athletic conditioning. Right up my street. 🙂

So that I could focus on getting the movement correct we stuck at a weight of 12kg for these reps. it’s important to make this a hip and glute exercise and not use the momentum from your arms swinging.

After these two leg strengthening exercises I moved to work on my core using the dead bug! The dead bug exercise works your deep core muscles and pelvic floor whilst stabilising your lower spine.  Building a strong core is really important as an endurance athlete as it helps me maintain good form during long distance events. As a cyclist I use my core when cycling to keep my other muscles firing correctly however you don’t build core strength on a bike which is why Pilates or core exercise in the gym/home is important.

Next it was time to work my upper body, the kettle bell row is a simple yet effective exercise for building back, arm and core muscle. To start with I used 8kg kettle bell working on sweeping my arm back in a slow sweeping action this was actually harder than using a heavier weight  and doing it quickly.

After 6 sets of timed activity on each exercise it was time to move back to more core strength with jack knives and pikes using the rowing machine seat as the platform for my feet, again this makes your whole body work instead of isolating one muscle group. These were super hard and I had to do each one for one minute with a 90 second rest in between.

I am thoroughly enjoying working with a personal trainer he pushes me to lift more weight than I would on my own and also keeps the motivation going when I feel like I want to give up.