adn challenge strapline

Strength at the top

You’d expect that the challenge of the kayak leg is staying upright. It’s not. It’s moving in a straight line. This makes it fun to watch, but if you would rather be a champion than the entertainment you’ll need upper body strength and really good abs. Here’s how to achieve both:

1. Wide-grip pull-up

Areas trained: back, arms

Technique:

  • Take hold of a pull-up bar with your palms facing away from you, arms extended and your hands further apart than shoulder width.
  • Pull yourself up – bending at your elbows – until your chin reaches the height of the bar
  • Slowly lower down again and repeat

Tip: Use a resistance band attached to the bar for support

2. Eccentric chin-up

Areas trained: back, arms, shoulders

Technique:

  • Jump up to take hold of a pull-up bar with your palms facing you, your hands shoulder-width apart, arms bent and your chin above the bar.
  • Lower your body as slowly as possible – the slower the better! – until your arms are fully extended.
  • Carefully drop down from the bar and repeat the exercise for the allocated reps.

3. Pull-up

Areas trained: back, arms, shoulders

Technique:

  • Take hold of a pull-up bar with your palms facing away from you, arms fully extended and hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Without swinging your body or legs, pull yourself up – bending at your elbows – until your chin is at the bar.
  • Slowly lower to the bottom and repeat for the allotted reps.

4. Chin-up

Areas trained: back, arms, shoulders

Technique:

  • Take hold of a pull-up bar with your palms facing toward you, yours arms fully extending and your hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Without swinging your body, pull yourself up – bending at your elbows – until your chins reaches the height of the bar.
  • Slowly lower and repeat.

5. Three ways to a strong core and great abs (with no boring crunches)

A. THE PLANK

Start to get into a push-up position, but bend elbows and rest weight on forearms. Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Brace your core by contracting your abs as if you were about to be punched in the gut. Hold this for 30 seconds if you can. Breathe evenly and deeply. Repeat three times. Gradually increase the hold to 1 minute as you get stronger.

B. HIP RAISES

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, with your hands by your sides. Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to knees. Hold this position for up to 5 seconds. Lower your body back to the starting position and repeat twice more.

C. LEG DROPS

Lie on your back. Place your hands under you, at the base of your spine, palms down, for extra support. Raise both legs up until they’re at a 90-degree angle. Then lower them as slowly as you can until they are just centimetres from the ground. Repeat three times.

[Republished with thanks to Bauer Media: from Women’s Fitness August 2014 & Australian Women’s Weekly, Summer Health & Wellbeing 2014]