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New techniques for our resident diary keeper

Everything was new this week. After a quick warm up, it was time to learn two new techniques—the front squat and the push jerk. Both of these involved lifting heavy things, and both of which I wasn’t very good at. (Turns out I have about as much strength in my shoulders as an elderly housefly, who knew?) But once the basic techniques were there, I was set—and it’s just as well. The other new thing this week was the latest addition to Chris’s gym.

Image by kues1 / Freepik

It’s called an assault bike. Presumably because it is an assault on every part of your body all at once. Combine all the best (i.e. worst) aspects of an exercise bike, a rowing machine and a cross trainer and you’ll have an assault bike. Powered by pedals and moving handlebars, the assault bike drives a wheel of fan blades that, on the one hand, blasts out a welcome breeze as it whirs around, but on the other, means that the bike has no upper resistance limit. Because the only resistance is the wind resistance you create yourself, the harder you go, the harder it works to stop you.

Mercifully, the assault bike isn’t the kind of thing you spend half an hour on at the gym. Instead it’s more geared towards the HIIT end of the training schedule—jump on it for a minute or so, work flat out and exhaust yourself nearly immediately, then jump off and collapse (check out Chris’ HIIT Circuit here). To demonstrate how to use it, Chris showed me how quickly he could burn 10 calories; it took him a little over 10 seconds. When I tried it, it took me about 10 hours.

As a proper introduction to the bike and to everything else that was new this week, Chris had devised a circuit: with 20 minutes on the clock, the circuit involved a set of 10 front squats, a set of 10 push jerks followed by burning 10 calories on the assault bike, in that order, as many times as possible. Written down like that it doesn’t seem so bad in retrospect. But in practice, the bike is so tough, and fatigue sets in so quickly, that I only managed five complete sets—by the end of which, I was just about ready for my bed never mind a warm down and some stretches.

Blimey, that assault bike is hard. As introductions go, this had been one to remember…

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