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Bored of gym workouts? Get Fit in the Wild!

Bored of gym workouts? Get Fit in the Wild!


Get Fit in the WildGet Fit in the Wild

Bored of gym workouts and road runs? launch yourself into our guide of adventure activities and how to train for them with advice from fitness guru, Nick Grantham.

words: Ben Welch

Activity: Rock Climbing

Essential exercise: To help you scale a rock face like Spiderman you need to get in the gym and bolster your strength, without bulking up. Big and bulky usually means slow and immobile – not good when you’re ascending a precipice. A simple exercise like a pull-up is perfect for this because it works the upper body in a vertical pulling motion. Try different pull-up variations to prepare for whatever the rock face throws at you.

Benefits: Strength, Mobility, Agility

Where you can do it: Land’s End, Cornwall.

For more information visit: www.ukclimbing.com

Activity: Trail Running

Essential exercise: While trail running surfaces tend to be more forgiving on the body than rock-hard pavements, lower body strength will still be crucial. To ready your legs for the challenge incorporate lunges into your workout. This exercise will develop lower-limb strength to cope with the demands of the off-road running routes. Keep the repetitions low and the load high. Soak up the scenery during your run – this will take your mind off the burning feeling in your legs. Do that, and you’ll tap into a great stress reliever.

Benefits: Cardio, Stress Relief

Where you can do it: Cadair Idris, Snowdonia.

For more information visit: www.wildrunning.net

Activity: Obstacle Courses

Essential exercise: Crawling through mud, leaping over obstacles and signing a death-waiver before taking part – adventure courses require total athleticism. If you want to make it through the pain then you’ll need all-round strength with a focus on plyometric work. Obstacle races challenge you to jump and land and if you try and do this when you’re fatigued it can cause problems – you need to learn to use your body’s natural shock absorbers effectively. Work on squat jumps, split squat jumps, box jumps, tuck jumps and skater hops.

Benefits: Strength, Mobility, Agility

Where you can do it: Tough Mudder, throughout the UK.

For more information visit: www.toughmudder.co.uk

Activity: Hiking

Essential exercise: Few gym-goers enjoy leg day, but you’ll need to put the work in if you want to power your way up and down Britain’s rolling hills and tumbling dales. Go for step-ups – they will improve your ability to push off and up – useful when ascending – they can also be used to overload the muscles that will go to work when you make your way down those descents. Get you legs ready for the demands of hiking and you’ll cover the countryside at a canter.

Benefits: Cardio, lower

Where you can do it: Yorkshire Dales.

For more information visit: www.traveldales.org.uk

Activity: Caving

Essential exercise: If crawling through tight spaces is your cup for tea you’re going to need some serious flexibility and mobility. Bear Crawls probably aren’t part of your regular routine, but you’re going to need to factor them in. Start in a press-up position and crawl in different directions – this will work your abs, shoulders, and quads. Improving your co-ordination and movement patterns will come in handy when you’re trying to negotiate your way through an underground tunnel.

Benefits: Flexibility, Mobility, Agility, Core

Where you can do it: Land’s End, Cornwall.

For more information visit: www.ukclimbing.com

Activity: Canoeing

Essential exercise: Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is all about having a powerful upper body – if you’ve got a weak core and Twiglets for legs you’re going to struggle. Re-enforcing your lower body, as well as your top half, will transform you into an efficient paddler. Before you jump aboard your vessel perform the bent over row in the gym. You can do this with a barbell or dumbbells. When performing the exercise keep your shoulder blades back to avoid slouching, otherwise your lower back will feel the strain.

Benefits: Strength, Core, Lower

Where you can do it: The River Severn.

For more information visit: www.britishcanoeing.org.uk

Activity: White Water Rafting

Essential exercise: You’re going to need to supercharge your engine if you want to boss the rough waters. Paddling and fighting to stay in the raft for long periods of time will drain your energy stores. To make sure you’re equipped for the test, get rowing. Rowing machines are nasty bits of kit but great for strengthening the heart and lungs and musculoskeletal system. You’ll be built for survival – super fit and robust.

Benefits: Strength, Mobility, Agility, Cardio

Where you can do it: Snowdonia National Park.

For more information visit: www.canoewales.com

FooterActivity: Wakeboarding

Essential exercise: Any wakeboarding fitness program should work on strengthening the shoulders and back, as well as developing a strong and stable core so you can resist rotation. In addition to these fundamentals, you’ll also need the flexibility and control to pull off some challenging movements when needed. A push up with dumbbell row is a great place to start. It will bolster your shoulders, chest and back and forge a rock-solid core.

Benefits: Strength, Mobility, Ability, Lower, Core

Where you can do it: Land’s End, Cornwall.

For more information visit: www.ukclimbing.com

Open Water Swimming

Essential exercise: Far more challenging than taking a dip in your local swimming pool, this water sport requires superior endurance. If you’re going to be out in the drink for extended periods of time you want to be as efficient as possible, so avoiding excessive movement is key – that means you’ll need to carve out a seriously chiselled core. With this in mind, barbell roll-outs tick all the boxes. Roll the bar out as far as you can, keeping your back straight, without allowing your hips to drop.

Benefits: Strength, Cardio, Core

Where you can do it: Fowey Harbour, Cornwall.

For more information visit: www.wildswimming.co.uk

Mountain Biking

Essential exercise: Far more interesting than riding on tarmac and probably safer than dodging buses and taxis – mountain biking is great fun and a brilliant two-wheeled workout. Leg strength will be important for maintaining power in your pedalling when you’re tacking a muddy trail. To make sure you can race to the finish, the muscle-building deadlift is just the ticket. Pay close attention to your form to get it right – move your hips and shoulders together.

Benefits: Cardio, Core, Lower

Where you can do it: Nan Bield Pass, Lake District.

For more information visit: www.mbr.co.uk
Nick Grantham is a coach, fitness expert and author of the strength and conditioning bible .
follow: @coachnickg visit: www.nickgrantham.com