core strength

Ski-Fit BootCamp - Wimbledon Jan 19

Get yourself ski-fit prior to your holiday and ensure you get the most out of your trip.

Our Ski-Fit Programme will help you to:

- Strengthen your whole body, with particular focus on the legs and core
- Improve your muscular endurance & stamina
- Sharpen your balance and agility
- Build your aerobic fitness

This is a progressive 6-week course, with each session building on what we worked on the previous week.

Time: 6.15 - 7.00am
Place: South Park Gardens
Dates: Every Tuesday morning from 8th Jan through to 12 February 2019
Cost: £54 for the 6 sessions
(NB, if you miss a session, you're welcome to make it up at one of our regular Fit In The Park classes).

Please note that our BootCamps are non-refundable and non-transferable. You must complete a health form before you join, and you attend at your own risk. Please also read our full Terms And Conditions.

There are limited spaces available, so book your place now!

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Last call for HIIT Boot Camp - January 2018!

Claire BC.jpg

The lovely Claire is kicking off our first HIIT BootCamp of 2018 in Wimbledon Park tomorrow morning!

If you're still making your mind up about coming, now's the time to throw caution to the wind & commit!

We start tomorrow in Wimbledon Park at 6.15am (finishing at 7.00am).

Training over 5 consecutive mornings, you'll get a full body workout, combining strength, cardio, endurance, core & functional movement. You'll scorch calories & be challenged from head to toe.

But I'm not feeling very fit?

Don't worry. We'll be offering different levels to suit all abilities. Beginners, weekend warriors & serious fitness freaks are all welcome.

What if I can't make every session?

No problem. You can make up a class at one of our regular Fit In The Park classes.

But I don't want to go on my own?

You'll be introduced to all of our Boot Campers on the first day. We'll then work hard to ensure an inclusive, motivating spirit and strong sense of comradeship during the week. It'll be great fun too!

So when is it? 

  • Monday - Friday: 6.15 - 7.00am

Where and when is it?

How much does it cost?

  • £45 for each 5-day Boot Camp.

How do I book?

Happy Training!

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Now there's an idea...

Avoid frantic Amazon searches, tedious queues & sardine-style shopping. Relax & breathe. We've got Christmas sorted with 3 very different gift ideas!

1) The Gift Of Fitness

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Our very flexible HA fitness vouchers can be purchased for any value and used as full or part payment for personal training, classes, Boot Camps or a mixture of all of our HA fitness services.

So whether you need a gift for a regular exerciser, or someone who'll appreciate being nudged in the right direction, we can help. And there's free delivery on all orders. Get in touch & let us know who you'd like to treat.

2) Personal Styling And Shopping Vouchers

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Our most glamorous personal training client and Wimbledon's favourite stylist, Charlotte Broadbent, has a limited number of personal styling and shopping vouchers available this Christmas.

Charlotte says... "Discovering your true colours and most flattering shapes is an experience you'll never forget, for both women and men. Buy a present this year that actually makes a difference.

We wear 20% of our wardrobe, 80% of the time so it's time to detox that wardrobe, piece together new outfits, sell on your old clothes and find the confidence to shop for your perfect colours and shapes."

Get in touch with Charlotte at Charlotte Loves, to find out more about her gift packages.

3) Family Photography Gift Certificates

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Long-term friend and client of HA fitness is the multi-award winning photographer, Julia Boggio. She's one of London’s top family portraiture photographers and is based right here in Wimbledon.

Julia says... "2018 will be a year to remember, which is why a gift certificate for family photography would make the perfect present this Christmas."

Get in touch with Julia at Boggio Studios, to find out more about her gift packages.

Happy Shopping!

Heather and the HA fitness team x

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Blast Those Buns!

Our Saturday morning Blast Class this week is with trained physio, Philippa. She'll be focusing on getting your gluteal muscles (your backside) fired up & activated.

Strong glutes help prevent you getting injured & can really help improve your running, cycling, swimming or skiing. You look better in jeans too!

Philippa will also be including some great ab moves, to really get your whole core area switched on.

What, When & Where?

Blast Class: Glutes & Core
Date: Sat 7th Nov 2015
Time: 7.45am to 8.30am (45 min)
Place: South Park Gardens, Wimbledon, London, SW19 8QW

So get your rear into gear join us in the park this Saturday. You can buy a pass online or bring cash/cheque on the day. Full details on our purchase page.

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Glute Camp - Get Your Rear Into Gear!

What is Glute Camp?

One 45 min early morning session teaching you how to fire up & activate your glutes. Come along & learn how to work your gluteal muscles without putting strain on your knees or bulking up your thighs.

When & Where?

Date: Tues 11th Feb 2014
Time: 6.15am to 7.00am (45 min)
Place: South Park Gardens, Wimbledon, London, SW19 8QW
Price: £7.50
Find out more & book now!  

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

See you tonight?

A quick reminder that our new Wednesday evening class in South Park Gardens, Wimbledon starts at 7.15 tonight!

Make sure you join us by planning the rest of your day now. Blast through your to-do list, tackle your children/partner's requests & find your workout gear - dirty or clean, we don't mind!

Feeling stressed? Then join us tonight to burn off some of that tension. The class will involve our usual mixture of challenging workouts, camaraderie & fresh air. The best therapy you can get!

We'll be meeting near the Trinity Road entrance to the park where there is more light. For those of you who don't know it, this amazing park is just a 5 min walk from Wimbledon station. If you're driving, there's free parking in Effra, Faraday & Clarence Roads after 6.30pm (some of the other roads are metered at this time).

So clear your diary & join us at 7.15pm tonight for some outdoor fitness fun.

No need to book, just turn up.

Hope to see you there,


Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Strength training for skiing - it's all about squat endurance!

If you roll off your sofa straight into your ski boots, with little or no prior fitness training, your thighs are likely to complain and your back, bum and calves may also grumble about being rudely awakened after months of inactivity.

So to ensure you get the most out of your time in the snow, and to reduce your chances of injury, do as much ski specific fitness training before you hit the slopes.

How long does it take to get ski-fit?

You should ideally kick-off your training about 12 weeks before you go. However, it's almost never too late to start, and embarking on a fitness programme, even a few weeks before your trip, will help you to ski better. A little training is always better than no training at all. Just don't expect to transform yourself from couch potato to ski-fit superhero in a couple of days!

So what should you be doing?

When you're training for a ski trip, endurance should be your focus rather than pure strength. This means doing lots of repetitions using little or no weight. Your aim is to create the toned legs of an endurance athlete, as opposed to the bulging thighs of a bodybuilder. This will enable you to spend more time on the slopes having fun, and less time massaging your tired and achy bits in your room.

What's the best exercise to do?

Squats are the ultimate ski fitness exercise. They strengthen the legs and bum, and are an easy way to mimic the skiing action and thigh burn at home. They can also help to improve your coordination and balance.

But don't just squat up and down on the spot. Create challenging squat combinations incorporating kicks, low pulses, 1-legged squats, calf raises, hops and jumps (ask an HA fitness trainer for a demo if you've not done any of these before or are a bit rusty). Try doing 100 reps using as many different variations you can think of. Then rest for 30 seconds and repeat. If counting reps doesn't work for you, try timing yourself. Keep the squats going, without taking a break, for the time it would take you to get from the top to the bottom of a run.

Increase the intensity using medicine balls, dumbbells, barbells or kettlebells. Keep going, with good technique, until you hit exhaustion. Then do another round! You should aim to do 3 good strength training sessions per week, with a rest day in between,

Get fully prepared for your ski trip by also including core strength exercises, balance, agility, cardio and upper body training into your fitness regime. The more work you put in prior to your trip, the more you'll be rewarded with exhilarating skiing, tireless energy and fun!

You may also be interested in reading the following articles before you go:

Powder Power

Getting Into Shape For The Slopes

Happy skiing,




Posted by Heather Waghorn.


The plank is one of our favourite exercises at HA fitness. Not only is it great for developing core strength, but it's also an excellent multitasking exercise, working your arms, shoulders, bum and legs. It can be done virtually anywhere, and there's no need for gimicky machines or fancy equipment. All you require is a bit of floor space, and you’re ready to go.

Here are a few tips on how to get it right:

The Modified Version For Beginners

The modified plank is a great way to build up to the full plank position. Start by balancing on your forearms and tops of your knees. Keep your body in a straight line from the crown of your head to your knees. Engage your abs by pulling in your tummy muscles.

If you’re a beginner, you might find it challenging enough just to hold this position. That's fine, just keep practising until you can hold it for 1 minute. Then you're ready to progress onto the real thing.

The Full Plank

Start as above, and then lift the knees off the floor resting just on your forearms and the balls of your feet. Look down towards the floor, and keep your feet hip-distance apart. Focus on pulling in your abdominal muscles while you hold the position. Don’t forget to breath!

If you feel a strain in your back, you’re either out of alignment or exhausted (or possibly both!). Either adjust your positioning or drop to the floor and rest.

Position is Paramount – No Arching or Sagging!

The plank is a simple exercise, but must be done right to be effective. If you’re out of alignment, you’ll either be making things too easy or could do yourself some serious damage. So whether you’re new to the plank or an old hand at it, it’s always beneficial to get someone to check your position.

Keep your back, hips and legs straight and tense your abdominal muscles. Don’t allow your hips to sag towards the floor, as this could lead to back problems, ultimately defeating the purpose of the exercise.

Also avoid sticking your bum in the air. This takes the challenge away from your core area, and really doesn’t look good!

In order for this exercise to be effective, you need to maintain a plank-like alignment, keeping as still as possible - although a certain amount of shaking is permitted.

If you reach the point where you can’t hold the position, or your back starts to hurt, then it’s time to drop to the floor and rest.  It’s far better to hold a plank with good alignment for a short period of time, rather than holding a bad position for longer. As you progress, increase the duration of your hold.

Get Your Legs Involved

With your weight balanced evenly on the balls of both feet, push through your heels to work your legs and make your position stronger.

Straight Arms or Forearms?

There’s not a great deal of difference. The straight arm position works the shoulders and wrists more, whereas being on your forearms increases the intensity in the abs.

How It Works:

When you’re holding the plank position, gravity and the weight of your body will pull your middle towards the floor. You basically need to use your abs to hold the position still, and prevent an ungraceful belly-flop to the ground.

Put Yourself to the Test

As with all exercises, progression and variety are key to challenging your body, getting the most out of your workouts and keeping things interesting.

Start off by recording how long you can hold the position for. You should see an improvement over a couple of weeks.

Plank Progressions

Think the plank position is easy? If you’re not collapsing in a trembling mess on the floor after holding the plank (with good alignment!) for 1 minute, then you’re ready to attempt the more advanced stuff.

First hold the plank position for 1 minute, and then try out one or more of these variations:

1)    Lift 1 leg off the floor for 10 secs, repeat on other side
2)    Lift 1 arm off the floor for 10 secs, repeat on other side
3)    Lift 1 leg up and out to the side for 10 secs, repeat on other side
4)    Lift 1 arm up and out to the side for 10 secs, repeat on other side
5)    Lift 1 arm and the opposite leg off the ground for 10 secs (make sure you keep the body level!), repeat on other side

When lifting your legs and arms off the floor avoid arching your back. Keep your pelvis level. You should feel your bum and shoulders working rather than a straining your back.

For something more dynamic, try the following moves:

1)    Military plank: Start with straight arms, then lower yourself down, one arm at a time, onto your forearms/elbows. Then push back up to the starting position (straight arms), one arm at a time. Repeat 10 times then change your leading arm.
2)    Plank walking: Get into the straight-armed plank position and, whilst maintaining good form, lift one arm at a time off the floor and slap your side. See how many slaps you can do, but avoid rocking the body from side to side.

Other variations include:

1)    Side plank and reverse plank
2)    Having the feet or arms on a gym ball or wobble board (or both!)
3)    Walking up and down a step with the arms
4)    Whilst holding the plank position for 1 minute, do a press up every 10 secs

You can create endless plank sequences to make your core workout more interesting. So get a watch, get down on the floor and give it a go!


Seek advice before performing these exercises, especially if you have any back, neck or abdominal issues, are suffering from any type of injury, are pregnant or have just given birth, or have high blood pressure or a heart condition.

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Powder Power

With a ski trip coming up, and full of inspiration from the winter Olympics, I’ve spent quite a bit of time researching the different training schedules of the top downhill skiers. As you’d expect, most of the training is done on the slopes, but there’s also a considerable amount of dry land training that focuses on building strength, speed and agility. As Chemmy Alcott, Britain’s number one female Alpine skier, says, “It takes a lot to race down a mountain at 90mph…”

Leg strength and endurance is obviously essential, and a variety of squats, lunges and lifts are used to develop the muscles of lower body. Julia Mancuso, US Alpine racer, takes this to the next level however. She doesn’t just do regular squats; she does tuck squats whilst standing on a gym ball, now that’s talented!

Balance and core strength are vital components of the off-piste training programme as they enable the skier to hold good form on the slopes. This is where the plank, side plank and back extension exercises come in. Top skiers also use wobble boards, medicine balls and gyms balls to create additional instability challenges that attempt to mimic what they do on the snow. To take this to the extreme, Lindsey Vonn, US Alpine racer, balances on a tightrope in a tuck position while throwing a medicine ball at different angles against a wall – don’t practice this at home!

Explosive and controlled power is fundamental, and off the slopes this can be practised by doing a range of dynamic jumping drills. I think the most challenging example of control I’ve seen so far is Ted Ligety, US Alpine racer, jumping from a trampoline and landing on top of a gym ball in the tuck position!

Stamina and endurance are also vital, and most top alpine skiers improve their lower body potency by doing leg-punishing hill running or cycling Tour de France style. For something a little more fun, try doing what Bode Miller, another US Alpine racer, reportedly does and push a wheelbarrow full of your friends up a steep hill!

Whatever level skier you are, working on your total body fitness prior to your ski trip will improve your overall skiing technique, enjoyment and will help to prevent injuries. Try to avoid boring gym workouts though, and don’t forget that skiing is all about having fearless fun!

Happy Skiing!


Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Forget Credit, You're the One who Should be Crunching this Summer!

Summer holidays are a time to relax and take a break from life's stresses. However, you're also likely to be treating yourself to a few extra deserts, drinks and ice creams, so it's important to try and fit in a bit of activity too. Whether it's doing a few crunches in your hotel room, or swimming a few lengths in the pool, every little bit counts. Here's some more ideas to help you keep in shape.

Release your Inner Child

If you’re on holiday with children, invent challenges that get everybody moving around. Make up ball games, races and time trials (who can build the biggest sun-castle in 1 minute?). Not only entertaining, these games are great for burning calories and improving agility and co-ordination.

The local playground can also be a hidden workout zone for you. Pushing your kids on the swings will work your upper body, especially your shoulders and tricep muscles. If no-ones watching (and it looks sturdy enough!), see how many chin-ups you can do on the climbing frame.

Waves Were Surely Designed to be Surfed or Jumped!

Battling with the sea’s natural resistance, your body will be challenged in ways that a gym session won’t come close to. Half an hour of aquatic fooling around will burn loads of calories and strengthen both your leg and core muscles.

Why not take the plunge and try out some of the local watersports? Not only great fun, it’ll work muscles you didn’t know you had, especially in your core area.

If you you’ve got the use of a pool, don’t just lie around on the sun-lounger, swimming is a great all round exercise that uses every major muscle group.  Challenge yourself to see how many lengths can you do in 30 minutes. Then try and beat it the following day.

Become the Holiday Gopher

Burn a few extra calories by carrying the luggage, getting the drinks from the bar (even if it isn’t your round), heading off for ice creams and running back before they melt!

Beach Bum Basics

Walking and running on sand is great for toning the legs and bum. A sandy and slightly unstable surface will  improve the strength in your ankles and calf muscles. Your core will also have to work extra hard too. Just build it up slowly, so that you don’t get injured.

I hope you have a lovely summer, and don’t forget to pack the trainers!


Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Train Like an Ancient Persian Warrior!

Have you got the balls?

Some bounce, some have handles and some have ropes attached to them. Modern medicine balls now come in an amazing array of sizes, colours and weights.

However, the original prototypes (produced some 3000 years ago) were not so attractive. Made out of animal bladders and stuffed with sand, they’re thought to have been used in training by Persian warriors, Hippocrates, and ancient Chinese martial arts masters, to name but a few. 

So why are they called medicine balls?

Moving forward into the 19th century, ball training became a popular workout feature in the gymnasiums. At this time, the words “health” and “medicine” were synonymous, and the term “medicine ball” is believed to originate from this period.

More recently, hi-tech gadgets and complex machines have taken over in our gyms. However, the humble medicine ball is now making a come back, as the benefits of functional training are seen as being increasingly important.

Time to take your medicine

Medicine ball training is really adaptable and can be used for beginners, weekend warriors and endurance athletes alike.

Using a few differently weighted balls, you can beef-up circuit training sessions and traditional exercises to create tough, stamina-building workouts. It's a really efficient way to develop your speed, strength, balance, and endurance.

They're also perfect for beginners and are a fun tool for those wanting just to get into shape and vary their workouts.  Medicine ball training uses your muscles in a similar way to when you're lifting objects in everyday life (eg children, shopping etc) so it is much more practical than using dumbbells.

Medicine balls can also be a really efficient form of sports specific training. With a bit of imagination, they can be used to simulate and help improve golf and tennis swings, swimming strokes, and football and basketball techniques. Runners can also train with the ball to push their core rotational muscles.

You can work your whole body or just target specific areas, and they're an ideal tool for improving your core power and stability. Practically everything you do with a medicine ball will work your core muscles to some extent. So whether you're lifting, throwing, squatting, crunching, pressing, or twisting with them, your abs should be fired-up too!

Ball practice

Start-off with some lightweight balls and keep the movements slow whilst you focus on your technique.  After a few training sessions, you can speed up the actions, but remember to maintain good control at all times.

Make sure you get proper instruction on technique as even lightweight medicine balls can cause injury.

So whether you're a beginner, seasoned exerciser needing some inspiration or training for the Tough Guy event, it's time you added some balls to your workouts!


Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Getting into shape for the slopes

To get the most out of your ski trip, you should get your body into shape well before you hit the slopes. Ski-specific fitness training will help you to ski harder, faster, and injury-free. You'll also have more energy to party in the evening!

Feel the burn!

You should focus on exercises that simulate the moves you'll be making on the slopes. For example, start to build-up your "crouch endurance" by getting into your ski tuck position and holding it for several minutes.

Work your thighs by holding a squat position with your back flat against a wall. Build up the time you can endure in this position and/or hold weights in your hands to increase the intensity. Once you've mastered this, try lifting one heel up at at time, putting more weight on the other leg (similar to turning on the slopes).

Try placing a skipping rope on the floor and jump sideways over it with your feet fairly close together (as if you had skis on). Start with several sets of 30 to 40 seconds and gradually add time on to increase your endurance. Up the intensity by doing this in a crouch position!

Endurance and stamina

A great way to work the whole body whilst also increasing your stamina and endurance for skiing is circuit training. The three key areas to focus on are cardiovascular fitness, lower body strength training and core stability.

Perform 1 minute of each of the following exercises, then rest and move onto the next one. Each week, reduce your rest period until you just have enough time to sip some water in between exercises. Building up your endurance in this way will help you to recover quicker in between challenging ski runs.

Always warm-up before you start, and finish with a cool down and stretches.

Cardiovascular fitness

  • Jogging on the spot, skipping, step-ups, jumping jacks, squat thrusts etc

Muscular strength and power

  • Squats (include some challenging variations such as one-legged squats, plié squats, narrow squats, half squats, squat calf raises, squat kicks etc.)
  • Lunges (include some challenging variations such as skater lunges, lunges with knee lifts, lunges with back leg raised, walking lunges, half lunges etc).
  • Calf-raises. Try doing these on a step and/or on one leg.

Increase the intensity of any of the above by holding dumbbells.

Core strength, agility and balance

  • Crunches, reverse curls and back extensions to target your core muscles
  • Holding the plank position to increase your core stability. Try different variations on this including plank walking, reverse planks, side planks etc.
  • Exercises using stability balls, medicine balls and wobble boards to develop your balance and agility

Improving your overall fitness

Aerobic endurance activities such as running, cycling and hill walking should also be included into your fitness plan. As with all of the above, you should try to increase the intensity and duration of these activities over the weeks leading up to your trip.

If this has whetted your appetite and you fancy some ski-specific training, please give me a call on 07941 851 778 or email We can arrange to meet up for one-to-one sessions, partner training, or small group classes. Why not get your friends together for a pre-ski workout?

Posted by Heather Waghorn.