I mentioned last week that I’d been invited to train at Locker 27, an athletic facility in Weybridge, Surrey. It’s about time I told you about the session (and the facility). It’s a fantastic place to train and I only wish I could get over there more often. Two sessions a week at Locker 27 athletic development and I’d be in tip-top condition for my comp, I can tell you!
Locker 27 is what I’d call a proper “old school” training facility, although there’s nothing dated about it. On the contrary, the equipment is fantastic and the knowledge of the three coaches is bang up to date. But the Locker 27 guys have built the facility, and the training they offer there, around the solid foundations of real athletic conditioning. Everything they do is functional and aimed at increasing sporting performance. They focus on the basics: of technique, of programming and of progressive training. The training they do looks simple, but is tough. The Locker 27 guys know that if it ain’t broke, there’s no point trying to fix it, and so they underpin all their training sessions with all the good stuff – Olympic lifts, bodyweight movements, intervals, conditioning circuits.
At Locker 27 we provide the basis and foundation for athletes/sportspeople/fitness fanatics to achieve their goals and increase their performance. The pathway from physical competency to performance training is tailored to prepare the individual for the complicated, comprehensive, robust skill set required to reach their potential.
“The Locker” provides a very different training experience compared to a commercial gym. All components of sports conditioning are combined and can be applied to anyone who wishes to push the boundaries, whether for sport or for healthy living.
Locker 27 was born 31 years ago. It is a culmination of experience and lessons from the sporting world both positive and negative that have shaped the philosophy and services received at the “Locker”.
The name Locker 27 comes from my first ever locker at school. I have very fond memories of these early stages of my sporting development. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by people who ignited my passion for all aspects of sport and exercise. At Locker 27 we want to be part of that ignition process.
So, what about my session? I met with Steven Rudkin, a co-director of Locker 27 and asked him to put me through my paces. On my training programme for the day was interval training, and I was secretly hoping Steve would get me to do a variety of things I just can’t do in the limited space available to me at my local gym. I wasn’t disappointed!
Steve devises my session and writes it up so he can count my reps
After a fantastic warm-up which focused on mobility and glute activation (hurdle walks, band side-steps, crawls, lunges, medicine ball woodchops and ball slams, skipping, etc), Steve revealed my circuit...5 exercises, working for 45 seconds with 15 seconds rest, and a bonus 60 seconds rest between after the completion of the fifth exercise. I was to do the sequence 3 times. Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? That’s what I thought…until he told me what the 5 exercises were:
1) “wall ball”: essentially a push/press, squatting down and then launching a 5kg medicine ball up against a wall in front of me, over and over again
2) sledge hammer: whacking a massive tyre with a sledge hammer over and over again as hard as I can
3) burpees jumping straight up into wide-grip chin ups (then down again into the burpee…and so on)
4) rope slam: continually ‘slamming’ a 2inch rope up and down for the 45 seconds
5) flipping a 44kg tyre across the room, running back to the start line after each flip
If that still doesn’t sound too bad, here is some video footage of me doing some of the exercises. I’m a bit embarrassed about these as 1) I didn’t know Steve was videoing and 2) they’re from the end of the session when I was tired – hence the complete inability to do any real chin ups (I’m just jumping up and lowering myself down by this stage).
I asked Steven to explain why he chose the five exercises for my circuit. He said: “These kind of athletic movements mimic the way we need to move during sport and help us build power in those big movements. Two things are often neglected in traditional gym-type training: triple extension (at the ankle, knee and hip) and the posterior chain. They’re both really important for athletic performance, no matter what your sport is. After all, every sport demands ground reaction forces from those three leg joints so we need to learn how to transfer power from the ground up and drive it through the legs and hips.”
After I’d recovered from this short but killer “raw conditioning” session, I asked Steve to assist me with just one set of dumbbell chest presses, because I never have anyone to help me during my own sessions, and I wanted to see if I could actually press more than normal if I had someone there to help me get the dumbbells up in the air. Sure enough, I was able to go up to 2x20kgs (I can usually only manage 2x18kgs because I can’t lift anything heavier to the start position!) I think I could have gone heavier but 20kg is the biggest dumbbell they have at present. Steve then checked my squat and deadlift form and said it was all good, which was great to hear.
I absolutely loved my session at Locker 27 and would like to thank Steve for inviting me and taking me through the session. If you are able to get to Weybridge to train, I strongly recommend you try the facility out.
Triathlon readers – you could try Locker 27’s dedicated Computrainer sessions (you can take your own bike) – at the moment, only Locker 27 and the triathlon centre in Manchester offer the sessions.