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June 2017 Issue
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Reduce the workload on your legs

Times like this you’ll be glad you did some upper body workouts. Photo: Tony Gazley
Good upper body strength will help you tramp further

Once you get off the footpath of the Great Walks, you’ll find tracks where you scramble over boulders, climb over fallen trees and pull yourself up tree roots.

If you have good upper body strength, you can reduce the workload placed on your thighs and knees while traversing this terrain. You’ll also find your shoulders, chest and back will appreciate the pushing and pulling movement.

The act of tramping will work these areas, but you can also build upper body strength at home.

1. Chin-ups: No bar to hang from? If your dining table or desk are sturdy, sit down under the table near one end. Grab hold of the table and position yourself so your shoulders are under your hands. Stretch your legs out and lift your hips off the floor so your body makes a straight line, then try a chin-up.

2. Dolphin pose: Exercises with weight on your elbows takes the effort off your wrists and makes your shoulders, back muscles and core work harder. From kneeling, put your elbows on the floor under your shoulders. Clasp your hands together. Don’t move your arms, and squeeze your elbows towards each other as if you’re giving someone a hug with just your elbows. If your shoulders feel OK, try lifting your knees off the ground and hips up, letting your head hang.

3. Forearm plank: Lie on your belly with your legs out straight and toes tucked under. Bring your elbows to the floor under your shoulders, hands straight ahead. Press your knees into the floor and lift your hips, belly and thighs off the floor. If that’s easy, lift your knees.