Ok, so I’ve always been a bit of fitness fanatic; cycling a couple of hundred miles a week all year round. But after my Level 1 Clipper Training course it became apparent that I needed a different sort of fitness and I’d have to sort this out before the event!
All my cycling fitness is geared around endurance training and predominantly lower body strength. I do try and do some core strength exercises when I remember, but clearly this wasn’t enough. It was obvious that more core strength was required, mainly to protect the back with all the lifting, along with a significant increase in upper body strength.
The endurance is probably less of a requirement as everything on a yacht is done in mainly short bursts; although it make take an hour or more to do a complete sail evolution! However endurance can’t take a complete back seat, since for example helming is hard work on the upper back and shoulders but over a long period of time and it’s particularly tough in lively seas where you have to work the wheel more.
The problem is at this stage we don’t know which position on the yacht we will be predominantly working in. For example, if I knew I was only going to helm then I could concentrate on aerobic training of the arms & shoulders (not forgetting the core strength of course).
Therefore I figured a general fitness regime to exercise all the muscle groups to build strength and endurance in the arms and shoulders is needed. This is generally called cross-training.
That means, for me, a complete change in the training regime I’ve been used too! Those long miles on the bike are going to have to go and be replaced by time in the gym (or ‘torture chamber’ as I prefer to call them). I’ll still need to do a good portion of endurance stuff mind, since cardiovascular fitness is still going to be required and cycling is excellent for that,a s is swimming etc. However it’s no good just having the endurance in the leg muscles I’m going to need some in the arms and shoulders. Swimming is the best exercise since it exercises all the major muscle groups in the body – problem is I don’t really like swimming…..
So this winter, for the first time in my life I’ve joined the local gym!
At the moment my training is consisting of:
- Aerobic (endurance) training – cycling, spin classes, rowing machines (for the arms & shoulders)
- Anaerobic (sprint) training – spin classes, hand bikes in the gym, rowing machines
- Isolated weight machines for all the major muscles groups, to be build up that strength
The spin classes are good since they hit 3 key areas for me – aerobic, anaerobic, and core – the classes always finish with 10 minutes of core exercises at the end of which my Abs are screaming! These are all packed into an hour so good on time as well.
I think I’ll also drag the wobble board from underneath the bed where it has been hiding for quite some time. Press-ups and crunches I will have to get back to doing on a daily basis as well.
So for core strength I’ve identified the following exercises to help me increase this and maintain it. I’ve identified a variety to try and remove the boredom of doing the same exercise each day:
- Crunches – variety, with weights, without weights, inclined bench, with a twist
- Back lift with weights
- Side plank
- Wobble board
I think one final point (for now) is to not forget the legs – lifting should be done with the strong leg muscles where possible, not the back, not the arms – so get on that squat machine!
As a coincidence as I was writing this piece for my blog the latest Clipper Newsletter dropped into my inbox. In there was an article by Jim with training tips, which reassuringly match everything I’d figured I need to look at.
My aim is too do something everyday!