January 26, 2023
The benefits of Power Training
Craig Silkens, a sports massage therapist and personal trainer at M Club, explains the benefits of power training.
All too often I am inundated with the same question that is; “what’s the best exercise for….?” With clients making reference to weight loss, increasing muscle mass and/or muscle tone, for general fitness, the list goes on. My answer for the last 15 years has remained the same; there is no one magic exercise that cures all your health issues and takes you directly to your health & fitness destination.
Whatever you want your results to be at the end of your fitness journey you have to understand that it is in fact a journey, and a journey takes time and a degree of commitment. The exercises you choose to perform to take you there will play a large part in determining the end result, for example if you choose to purely do cardio then you could end up very lean and slim, if you chose to do just weight training you could end up looking very muscular and bulky.
My advice has always been to find a balance and do both in whatever ratio suits you, your lifestyle and of course your end goal. And this is exactly how I train and encourage my clients to train, but I do also like to throw a spanner in the works every once in a while just to shock the body and keep it on its toes. Power training is my personal favourite way to get a fantastic calorie burn, train the heart and lungs to a high percentage and condition the muscles all at the same time.
Power training in essence is about moving a resistance as quickly and forcibly as possible, whether that resistance be your own body weight (such as in my examples) or a physical weight. However, the action must still be performed under control to avoid injury and for this reason body weight exercises are a normal preference as it is difficult to control free weights properly when moving them rapidly.
Depending on time constraints there are couple of ways in which you can apply these exercises;
-complete 10-sets of 5-repetitions on each exercise before moving onto the next, this will take some time because there are many recovery periods between the sets and the exercises but you will be able to offer 100% commitment to each set of each exercise forcing a greater muscular response. Recovery between sets should be no longer than 30 seconds.
-complete 1-set of 5-repetitions before moving onto the next exercise and repeat the sequence of exercises in a circuit style training fashion, this style will get you through your workout far quicker due to less recovery periods but by the seventh set on wards you’ll no longer be able to commit 100% to the exercises due to fatigue, you will however achieve a greater cardio response. There is no recovery between sets, only a 30 seconds breather after each completed circuit of the 4 exercises.
Bungee Runs – an old school drill designed to improve explosive sprint performance. This exercise is largely adopted by sports people but I often get my clients to do these drills as they simply get the heart rate pounding and calorie count flying.
Box jumps (variation-tuck jumps) – this exercise does require a little mental steel because a lot of people will be very nervous of clipping the box and hurting themselves, so it is important to start on the lowest setting and progress from there at a rate that is comfortable.
Clap push ups – an explosive exercise for the upper body and core. If you find conventional push ups easy then try these, they’ll get your heart rate going twice as fast. If needs be go onto the knees to perfect the form and help with any fear of crashing into the floor.
Straight leg ‘V’ Crunches – generally I like to train the abs in a slow controlled fashion, but every now and then I will expose them to some rapid actions such as these. These will help develop explosive power through the trunk, incredibly beneficial if you are a sports person.
November 24, 2022
Pre-ski exercises we can all benefit from
Craig Silkens, a sports massage therapist and personal trainer at M Club, suggests exercises to prepare for a skiing holiday.
My clients often ask me for exercises to help them to make the most of their ski holiday. I usually guide them over to M Club’s Vibrationplate, because this Vibrationplate is designed to activate the body’s natural reflexive response to vibration. It vibrates 25 to 50 times per second to stimulate muscle contraction in a controlled and consistent manner.
Performing certain exercises on the Vibrationplate will mimic a similar stimulus to skiing. Even those who aren’t fortunate enough to hit the slopes will benefit from performing these exercises as they are a fantastic way to help condition the muscles, promote fat loss and increase muscle tone.
The exercises can be performed on the floor, but doing them on a Vibrationplate can lead to faster results.
Ski position static squats
With your feet perfectly flat, hip width apart, feel the pressure of your body weight through your heels.
Drop your bottom as low as possible (90 degrees at the knee) maintaining a straight spine, chest and with your head up.
Try to hold the position for up to a minute. Perform five sets with a 30 second breather between sets.
Dynamic lunge step-ups
Place one foot firmly on the Vibrationplate and the other behind you in a lunge position.
Power through the front foot to a standing position, lifting the back leg high.
Perform as many repetitions as possible for 30 seconds on each leg and repeat for five sets with a 30 second breather in between.
Feet elevated plank
Place your toes on the Vibrationplate and adopt a plank position.
Suck your abdominals in and focus on maintaining a straight line through the body.
Try to hold the position for up to a minute and perform five sets with a 30 second breather between sets.
Single leg bridge
Lying on your back, place one foot flat on the vibration plate and extend the other leg up to the ceiling.
Sucking your abdominals in, gently lift your bottom and lower back off the floor as high as possible and then return to the floor.
Repeat this action for as many repetitions as possible in 30 seconds on each leg.
Balancing on your bottom, extend your legs out as far as you feel comfortable.
Suck your abdominals in and tense hard.
Try to hold for up to a minute and perform five sets with a 30 second breather between sets.
July 17, 2021
Florida holiday inspired dad’s weight loss journey
Over the next few months we will be following two M Club members on their journey to fitness and weight loss. This week we’d like to introduce you to Roy Fox.
Dad-of-two Roy Fox is on a mission to not only lose weight but to have a healthier lifestyle.
“I can say with authority, there are usually one or two things that happen that provide the motivational force required to make a life changing decision,” says Roy.
“Losing weight, especially when you are on the large side, like myself, is relatively easy. Cut back on food and drink and weight will fall away.
“However, I realised after trying a few diets that unless you actually exercise and diet, the weight normally just piles back on and almost always you end up heavier than you started.”
Roy reaching a turning point while on holiday in Florida with his wife and two young daughters.
“We went onto the Harry Potter ride at Universal Studios. As I sat in the car waiting for the ride to start, it became clear that the safety bar that drops over your head and fastens between your legs wasn’t going to close over me.
“I was asked to leave the ride. I slunk away and felt pretty miserable about it.
“When we got back to the UK my wife showed me a magazine article about a guy of a similar age and weight to myself who had shed six stones in weight.
“He looked fantastic and it actually started me thinking very seriously about how I could do the same.
“The final piece to the life changing jigsaw was on a lovely Friday afternoon. The sun was shining and my two young girls were bouncing on the trampoline in the garden.
“I can still remember saying to my wife that I would love to go outside and have a bounce on that trampoline with those two. Then I thought to myself that if I lost weight then I probably could.
“It was literally that trigger that made me pick up the phone that very afternoon and call M Club.
“I made an appointment to go to the club and take a tour. To be totally honest, I wasn’t completely sure the gym environment was something I would like, after all, I was a 24-and-a-half stone guy.
“Getting shorts and T-shirts on and mixing it up with lycra clad gym bunnies was quite intimidating.
“But this was for my health and wellbeing, so off I went on the Monday and had my first session.”
* We will be following Roy’s progress over the next few months.
January 2, 2020
Marriage proposal inspired weight loss journey
Over the next few months we will be following two M Club members on their journey to fitness and weight loss. This week we’d like to introduce you to Bryony Highfield.
Currently a dress size 20, Bryony Highfield is determined to lose weight before her wedding day.
The 24-year-old decided change her diet and get fit after ‘hating’ the way she looked in every photograph taken on a trip to mark her engagement.
“Once we got engaged, we went to the Harry Potter studio tour and the photographs from there and our holiday to Cornwall the summer before prompted me to want to lose the weight,” she says.
“I was obese, in a pre-diabetes condition, tired all the time and hated my appearance and every photo I was in.
“I didn’t want to hate my wedding photos too and be a plus size bride so I had to do something about it.”
Bryony joined M Club and quickly realised that she would need to change her eating habits as well as exercising.
“I’ve started having breakfast each day,” she says. “I’ve cut out the pop and chocolate, and have started cooking instead of having takeaways.”
Craig Silkens, a sports massage therapist and personal trainer at M Club, says Bryony’s end goal will be a good motivation for her.
“Bryony is under no illusions that the road ahead is a long tough one but she is extremely motivated to change her lifestyle and her health.
“I feel that the key to her success will be the external motivations she has. Bryony has a wedding date set so of course she is concerned about her health and the impact that her current weight is having on it.
“Bryony is changing her lifestyle because she does not want to damage her body any further.
“She has already made some changes to her eating habits, she will attend the gym on a regular basis completing a controlled exercise regime and will vary her gym training with a mixture of different aerobic classes and swimming.
“Like all M Club members, her progress will be checked and she will receive constant dietary ideas as well as changes to her training so that they do not plateau.”
* We will be following Bryony’s progress over the next few months.
Dress size 20