To help you prepare you for the mountains, we’ve got our hands on a weekly session from The North Face team, which focuses on maximising a range of movements and conditioning for the outdoors. Whether you’re a trail runner, climber or snowboarder, these sessions, typically held at – or close to – their hub in their new Regent Street flagship store, are free and designed to help you improve your fitness so you can enjoy every minute you get to explore.
BESTFIT caught up with Matt Gardner, PT, Commando Active nutritionist and member of The North Face team to see exactly what these Mountain Athletics sessions consist of…
Most of the people we train have spent the day sitting at a desk, so posture and spine positions aren’t ideal for exercising,” explains Gardner. “Therefore, warming up is vital. We take a light jog in groups down to Regent’s Park, so you need to do a short run of about 1 mile to help loosen up and get in the right state of mind.”
“From there we gather for what we call the priming phase. We don’t believe in specific sets and reps. What we’re looking for is clinical technique, maximum effort, and a whole lot of fun. We start by opening the hips and glutes while engaging the core, by performing a series of side and straight lunges with hip trusts and a pigeon stretch.
“We’re not training in regular linear fashion as you do in the gym. Instead, we’re familiarising the way our bodies move, so increase in flexibility and adaptability is key to getting out an exploring new terrains.”
Now the heart is pumping, it’s time to step up the intensity by working on capacity and building mental strength while pushing your barriers.
“You need to be prepared for anything while you’re out exploring. Shuttle sprints up and down the hills are perfect for changing the concept of training. Sprinting for 60 meters is sure to open up the lungs, but don’t switch off, as we’re prone to throwing in some extra exercises to keep you thinking.”
“After a series of four-point Burpees, where we collectively count the stages of initial squat, holding position, jump in and jump up, we increase the level of fun with these planks.
“Get into pairs. While one person holds an extended plank, have your partner hover crawl underneath making them hold the position until all the way through and swap – this is a killer, but fun.
“While most explorers focus on their trail running, we highlight the importance to build all-round strength and stamina and the ways it helps with carrying kits, moving over obstacles or scaling rock faces.”
“Using the outside essentials is our speciality. These railings are perfect for overhand and underhand pull ups. Engaging a series of upper body muscles, this is also key for climbers to strengthen their grip.
“Then there’s the humble press up. The exercise can deviate between traditional movements to resting and half press – but there must be the overwhelming aim of maximum effort.”
None of our sessions would be finished without our community element. We are part of #NeverStopLondon, so after a thorough full body warm down we end with a traditional huddled sprint on the spot with high knees.
You can sign up to The North Face’s FREE session here www.facebook.com/neverstoplondon/?fref=ts
They take place every Tuesday, 6:15pm–7:30pm at the Regent Street store, London. They’re FREE.