Saturday, January 8, 2011

Get Hillfit

 It is really only relevant to UK readers, but I've had an article published in a hillwalking / backpacking magazine  - TGO - this month.  The article is called "Hillfit" and I have tried to synthesise some of the things I have been learning over the years and featuring in this blog - if you were to read the article you would spot the influences!  Frank Forencich, Doug McGuff, Erwan Le Corre and others.

An idea I was trying ot get across was of walking being a skill that we can develop and get better at.  We need to practice the skills of being a biped, key to which is balance on one leg.....because most walking is tie on one leg.  So I recommend simple balance work.

Then there is the HIT influence - you need to develop strength too.  So I recommend what are essentially superslow air squats (with more space in th article  I'd have had a pushup and a back bridge or body row in there too).   Then I also - for metabolic conditioning - propose a sprint session.

It is all very journalistic in style and doesn't dig too deep but it was fun to write and got me thinking!
 It was also a real discipline trying to write to an 800 word limit and necessarily I feel like I ended up skimming over things, so the whole piece is  a bit of a compromise. Still, I am really happy and excited to have got published like this and hope that I'll be able to write more for them in future. 

TGO has had a long term interest in lightweight backpacking and more unconventional gear so I tried to tap into that with a similarly minimalist / lightweight approach to to get the maximum return for minimum investment.   It boils down to some sprints, some  strength training and some basic  balance work.

It was funny how this opportunity came about.  I followed TGO via Twitter.  The editor must have checked me out and looked at my blogs and aksed me to write something.

The wonders of the interwebs!

Here is a photo that didn't make it into the mag - me putting a sock on while standing on one leg -  a basic balance training technique!   Or an opportunity to fall on your arse each morning.


Asclepius said...

Congratulations! I will check out this months edition of TGO.

I too try to stand one one leg to put socks on (and also to put on shoes/trainers, and even to tie my laces). It originated as a means to working my balance (although I am sure it only has limited spin-off to balance in general). But rather than turning my foot inwards, as you do the picture, I try to keep my shin perpendicular to the floor (and the base of my foot parallel to the floor). This seems slightly more difficult, and I think it works my abs a bit more - although I am not sure if it is any more worthwhile than your approach!

Chris said...

Congratulations on being published! I will get hold of a copy and check it out.

All the best,


Chris G said...

Bought it yesterday! A good start Chris, a pity they couldnt give you another 700 words or so (especially when the CW nutritionist got 3 pages!) but hopefully that will give you the option of writing for them again. Maybe even an alternative career?

Congratulations on being published. Do keep us posted on any further articles.

Jeff said...

Hey Chris,

Congrats on the article!

Quick question. When you do air squats, have you ever tried them with one of those exercise balls between you and the wall? My new trainer has me do those as a warmup, and they are very challenging. By the eighth one or so there is a serious burn. I could easily see doing those with a dumbbell in each hand at home if I had no access to decent equipment in a gym.


Jeff said...

Forgot to add check to get email comments.

Anonymous said...

Congrats Chris!

Chris said...



Chris said...


I have not tried squats like that but they would really hit the legs with less lower back.

Fred Fornicola in his dumbbell training book recommends them and Fred is a good knowledgeable HIT type guy (although he doesn't call himself HIT)

Chris said...

Asclepius - thanks