I’ve been going to the gym on and off for many years. Sometimes, I was training just for the hell of it, other times to support my sporting goals (for some time I did Kyokushinkai karate).
I started off training at the rather excellent Riverside Gym in Hampton Court. The owner, Myles, has achieved great things with people at his gym, and he put me on a good programme. But pretty soon, I was off to University and lost momentum and focus. Although I’ve trained on and off ever since, it was usually self-directed and lacking focus.
I’m now seeing a personal trainer, who is a rugby player turned powerlifter, and is studying sports rehab at University. The latter part is fortunate because I’ve picked up a lot of injuries over the years, especially as a result of the overly macho training methods we used at Karate.
At the start of the programme, the emphasis was on building up core strength and mobility: it’s surprising how seized up we get from sitting at our desks all day. A few months ago, we moved on to big lifts: squats and deadlifts.
The video above is actually a partial deadlift (with 160kg). The reason my trainer had me doing these is that he noticed I was struggling at the top part of the deadlift movement and wanted to strengthen that part of the lift. I’m glad we worked on all the core stuff first, and learned to do the lifts with proper technique. There’s a lot of work to do in locking the muscles on the back so that the spine isn’t arched. Failing to do this properly will likely result in serious injury. You might be able to notice that I’m resetting the back with every repetition. I haven’t had a single injury from any of the lifts I’ve done on this programme.