Posted on September 22, 2017 by Kim Mead

With one of the most inspiring events of the Year starting tomorrow, why not try some of the disciplines that the amazing Invictus Games pursue on the road of greatness? Here is a workout that incorporates four of them: Rowing, Cycling, Archery and Powerlifting.


Rowing machine – 6-8 minutes.

Dynamic Stretches (10 times each exercise)

  • Squats with swing and rotation: squat down then up and, when rising, swing arms up and rotate the upper body to the side (alternate).
  • Lunges with side twist: arms up with 90 degrees in your elbows (as if doing pectoral stretch), when lunging, twist the upper body to the leading leg side. When stepping back, return the body to the start position.
  • Step back and pull: step back with one foot – both feet firmly on the ground, parallel to each other, and pull both arms high above your head. Step forward with the same foot to return to the start position and lower your arms to the sides. Alternate the sides.
  • Dynamic pectoral stretch: feet shoulder width apart, arms up with 90 degrees in elbows. Squeeze the shoulder blades on inhale, hold for a second, release on exhale.
  • Arm circles: draw circles with arms in a straight line from one hand along the shoulder to the other, forward and then backwards.

Main Cardio: 15-20 minutes

Bicycle (upright or spin bike), with intervals 1:1 (high: moderate resistance).

Resistance Workout

Part A: Upper Body – Band Workout:
These exercises are used by Archery sportsmen to look after their back and shoulder muscles:

1. Swiss Ball elastic band row: Sit down on the Swiss ball, legs straight, feet on the floor. Elastic band is held in hands and is placed around the feet. On inhale, pull the band by bending the elbows and drawing them up backwards. On exhale, straighten the arms, return to the start position.
2. Elastic band shoulder abduction: step on the band, so your feet keep it in place, with the ends in each hand. On inhale raise your arms to the sides, keeping them straight but soft in elbows, on exhale, return to the start position.
3. Lateral pull: place a band above an overhead metal pole (TRX station or dual pulley machine will have those), stand under it, while holding the band ends in your hands. Bend and pull your arms to the sides and down as much as you can and then return to the previous position and stretch upwards at the top. You can do this while standing or sitting on the Swiss ball if height allows.
4. Horizontal pull: place the elastic band around a vertical pole and tighten it well on the chest level. Now imagine that you are pulling the bow string and then releasing it with one hand. Take a stand similar to what an archery person does. There you go!
Do each exercise 10 times x 3 sets each.

Part B: Barbell Workout
The following exercises are similar to Powerlifting disciplines used in the Invictus Games:

1. Squat: It’s best to use a squat rack or Smith machine, otherwise have someone to ‘spot’ you. The trick is to have flat shoes, to look forward and up, to hold your abs and to squeeze your glutes well on the way up – look after your back! Weight through your heels and knees over toes. Only go as far as you can control. Try to stand up as soon as you can – the longer you are in the squat, the harder it is to get up. You can do it!
2. Bench press: Bench rack or Smith machine are ideal or have a buddy to help you. Remember to position the bar above chest level, not the head. It is important to be as much connected to the bench with your back as possible. And, push!
3. Deadlift: A great exercise for training your hamstrings and here is where the free bar is in favour. Alternative grip is the most preferred for powerlifting, but if you are starting out stick with overhand. As with the squat, try to look forward and up; this way your chest and shoulders will not slouch. Again, as with the squat, tight abs and a glutes activation are your good friends. Try to feel the connection through the whole body length from the heel to the head, and ensure the feet are well grounded too. Start with the bar on the floor, with your shins resting lightly against it, keeping the bar close to your body accelerate to standing, squeeze glutes at the top, and control back to the floor. Go!
Perform each exercise 10 reps x 2 sets each.

Part C: Body Weight

1. Back extension: Lay down in a prone position on a bench or on the floor and perform the back-extension exercises while lifting straight arms and legs simultaneously – think Superman. Keep your head neutral. 3 sets x 10 reps.
2. Plank: activate your core and glutes, feet shoulder width apart, straight back and legs, hands bent in elbows. Hold as long as you can; if you get tired, lift your pelvis for several seconds and once rested, return to a proper plank position. Repeat 3 times, 20 seconds rest in between the attempts.

Part D: Cool Down and Static Stretches
Treadmill – 5 minutes nice and easy; then perform some static stretches for all the major muscles used, so at least two upper body and two lower body, holding each stretch for 15 seconds.

Remember to stay hydrated at all times!

Anna Stishova, Gym and Spa Supervisor, Goodmans Fields