The following will provide you with some training tips and advice to get prepared for the challenge.
The Inverell Toughen Up Challenge is a combination of strength and cardiovascular fitness with a number of different sections and also a few surprises. Therefore we should prepare for anything. Let’s start with the strength components of the challenge.
Strength training (Sand bag carry, Tyre flip, Prowler push)
Being strong enough to complete one section of the required challenge is great, but, combine everything together and your body will be highly fatigued. So we need to be able to complete these strength drills competently under stress, without injury. The most important thing for you to increase will be your muscular endurance.
The best way for you to improve this is with resistance training. If you have access to a gym then that will be ideal. If not, don’t panic as there are a number of exercises you can complete with just your body weight.
Try for a minimum of one total body session per week, ideally twice per week would be great. A total body session means you would complete a resistance exercise for each of your main muscle groups. By doing this you will ensure your muscles and joints are all working properly and help get rid of any muscle imbalances you may have. Essentially you want to ‘wake up your body’ and have it ready to deal with the stresses which will be placed upon it during the challenge. You could either do one full body session or you could break it up if it suited you better, by splitting your body into two sessions, e.g. upper body, lower body. Ensure you allow at least 48hrs recovery time between each muscle group.
An example program would be,
Wide Grip Lat Pulldown
Bent Over Barbell Row
Dumbbell Bench Press
Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise
AB’S & LOWER BACK
Exercise Ball Crunch
For the more advanced trainers, the following exercises would be particularly beneficial for the challenge,
Clean & Press
Also check out some of the Plyometric exercises as these will be useful.
Start out light, completing 3 sets of 12 repetitions with a 20 second rest between each set. This will be ideal for building your endurance and strength. You won’t have long to rest during the challenge so the short 20 second rest will be fine. Ensure that as you get used to the exercises you increase your weights so it challenges you by the end of the third set. Always remember to breathe while completing your weights. Include abdominal/core and lower back exercises into your program as a lot of your power will be generated or passed through your core so it will need to be strong. Don’t forget to stretch. It is very important to remain flexible and limber to prevent injuries.
TECHNIQUE IS KEY! Do not sacrifice correct technique for a heavier weight.
All the exercises above can be found at http://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/ with technique instructions and options. Type in the exercise name and it will come up or you can check out exercises for different muscle groups. There are also a number of other exercises on there to try if you are more advanced, but try to stick with the same exercises for around 6 weeks to allow for training effect. Listen to your body and if you are unsure of something please check with an exercise professional.
The Cardiovascular Sections
For most, this will take the longest time during the challenge. Aim for two runs per week. The first session, session A would be at a slow speed with the aim of just covering the distance and building some endurance in the legs. Session B would be shorter in distance to session A, but, would be more intense as you would incorporate some interval training.
For example if you are a beginner and on your first run, session A, you manage 500m without punishing yourself, then your next run session will be 20% shorter (400m). Divide this 400m up by 10 (40m) intervals. So session B would be 10 x 40m sprints. This will increase your heart rate higher and get you fitter quicker.
During session B rest in between intervals until your heart rate comes back down to 120 beats per minute. The fitter you get, the quicker your heart rate should return to normal.
Continue with this format by increasing the distance by 500m each week with session A, then reducing that distance by 20%, dividing it into 10 intervals for session B. Using this format should see you being able to manage 6km by week 12 which should make the run much more comfortable during the challenge.
Try to spread your sessions evenly throughout the week to aid recovery. Try and do your session A on varied ground, footpaths grass etc as this will prepare you for the changes over the course. Add some hills also when you are ready. Remember to brace your abdominals when running and correct footwear is advised.
Unless you have access to a kayak, canoe or have a rowing machine at home, try and incorporate some rowing into your resistance sessions at the gym.
Aim for a 5 minute row at a steady rate if you are new to the rower. Abdominals strong, sit up tall. Gradually increase your speed as you feel more comfortable. Try and add a minute each time you use the rower and build up to around 10 minutes. When you are familiar with the rower and want to push a bit harder start some interval training but keep the intervals short, such as 10sec fast, 10sec slow, as the row is 500m and the completion time for this will be around 90sec to 2 ½ minutes, short high intensity training will be best for this. If your machine allows increase the tension, perhaps try this out as well as a way of increasing the load.
It doesn’t have to be pretty. You just have to get there. Unless you are a confident swimmer and feel 100mtrs won’t faze you, I would suggest attempting to get to your local pool at least once per week. Mind you, even if you are confident in swimming 100mtrs, you are not just doing the swim there are plenty of other sections to the challenge which will have you fatigued before even hitting the pool, so the further and faster you can swim will only be an advantage.
If you aren’t confident in the water, stick to the shallow end where you can touch. Swim as far as you can, put your feet down, catch your breath and then go again. If it’s been a long time since you have swam, one minute of this might be enough for you first up and you might only get 20-25metres each go, but that’s fine. Keep working on it. See if you can gradually increase the time of your efforts. For example week 2 go hard for 2 minutes, week 3, 3 minutes, etc. If you can do this you should be fine with the 100m after week 12.
If you feel you need a little extra help I’m sure your local pool would be able to point you in the right direction to instructors for stroke correction, breathing techniques etc.
Make sure you stretch after all training sessions, cardio included.
If you are attempting this challenge and are going to start pushing your body harder, keep in mind how you fuel your body. Our nutrition needs to be good. The things we eat will be the fuel, the energy our body needs to get moving. It is also the things our body needs to recover. If we don’t give our body the correct foods and quality foods we will not get the benefits/results we are after. The sooner we feel we are getting results with our training the easier it is to stay motivated. There are a number of people around such as nutritionists or even perhaps someone at your local gym who could help you out in more detail with the nutrition side of things.
They call it training for a reason and it should be a bit challenging. After each session your body will heal itself and come back stronger for it the next session. Make your training sessions a bit hard, so that you come out of your comfort zone. This is necessary if we are to get fitter and stronger.
If you feel you have any sort of injury which may interfere with training or the challenge please speak with an exercise professional or your doctor prior to starting. Certain injuries can be worked with and options given, but, if you are at all concerned please check and remember correct technique.
Most of all have fun and enjoy getting fit for a good cause. Any questions or concerns regarding your training please ask.
Time to get Tough Enough!