LGN Vertical Rush Training

LGN Vertical Rush training tips in partnership with Back in Action UK

 Vertical Rush is a fantastic physical challenge and one that beautifully uses functional everyday fitness and puts it into a competitive arena.  LGN’s corporate Run Clubs train clients for tower races like Vertical Rush by preparing them physically & mentally for the challenge.

A key training aspect is getting used to over-loading your legs muscles as stair racing requires endurance of your quad muscles working in a concentric manner and not the eccentric way they work mainly for running. If you are a regular runner your fitness will have you well placed for this challenge but you are unlikely to be a tower running natural without specific concentric lower limb training and the intense cardio vascular requirement of stair racing deserves attention, last year the first 400 ran Vertical Rush in under 8 minutes, which requires heart pumping & lung bursting fitness.

The team at LGN have pulled together our top training tips & suggest competitors aim to build up progressively and do at least three sessions per week in your lead up to your Vertical Rush challenge.

Stairway to concentric strength heaven: 

Use stairs or steep (25%) gradient hill for 30sec explosive repetitions. Start with 2 sets of 5 efforts using 5min recovery between sets & each week add another rep until 2 x 10, 3 x 5 and gradually reduce recovery between sets by 30 sec.

Key technique tip is dynamic use of your arms to drive legs, focus on keeping shoulders relaxed and driving arms parallel to your body.

LGN’s 20 second turn-around joy:

Hit your local park, find a spot which we will call ‘Point A’ (tree, park bench etc) and then run 20 seconds at 75% maximum (running for a bus speed), then stop & find visual marker to identify ‘Point B’. You now have only 20 seconds recovery before you have to run back to Point A within 20 seconds, at which point you repeat the exercise this time heading for ‘Point B’ once more.

This favourite LGN session uses a short recovery & will quickly put you into oxygen debt, but be patient and fitness gain will come over time.  Aim for 2 sets of 8 with 5 mins recovery and be strict with 20sec recovery between each repetition…you will only be cheating yourself!

Pedal power:

If you have access to a gym, spinning classes provide superb concentric training for your legs while also developing much needed cardio vascular fitness (take inspiration from fact an ex professional cyclist holds Empire State stair running  record). Alternatively use your own bicycle on 60 – 90 sec 15%+ gradient hill, alternating between in & out of saddle. Initially aim for 10 repetitions, free-wheel back down hill & aim to beat previous times.

Sit back and don’t relax:

In addition the seated leg press machine will prove a key training tool in developing stair climbing concentric strength, set weights that aim for endurance based session of 3 x 20 repetitions (20th rep should require maximum effort) and please seek qualified advice if you have not used equipment previously.

Calf care:

Your calf muscles will bear the brunt of this tower training, so very important you gently stretch these (and other muscles) after each session. Again stairs can come in handy as you lower heel over edge of stair until you feel gentle stretch, try to hold for 20 seconds before taking it subtly further. And LGN’s partners at Back in Action UK would be the perfect people to speak to if you wanted further advice –   https://www.backinactionuk.com/

On the pull:

Professional Tower Runners use a cunning sling shot technique to navigate each hard stair based turn. Tower 42 stairwell is a left spiral, so find a local stairwell, don a cycle glove on your left hand glove & get practicing.

Good luck up each of the 920 steps from all the team at LGN!

LGN Vertical Rush additional notes:

Such is the popularity of stair races thatGermanyhosts a competition which is the equivalent height of Everest & takes 15 hours for the winner…something to consider when you are racing up ‘just’ 920 stairs!

Geeky eccentric versus concentric  training insight:

Eccentric contractions happen when the muscle has to lengthens under tension, so when your running foot strikes the ground the quad muscle must contract in a controlled fashion allowing leg to bend but not let it collapse. This is in sharp contrast to a concentric contraction which involves contraction of a muscle while it shortens. An example would be your leg forcing down against resistance, e.g. a leg press in the gym or pushing a bike pedal, in this instance the quad contracts and shortens to extend the leg and straighten the knee.



Its January… our bodies have just about survived the Christmas & New Year food and drink extravaganza, we are feeling guilty and bloated, and so it seems many of us feel the urge to detox.
The media and celebrities are full of all sorts of weird and wonderful plans that are apparently going to magically make you healthier and more attractive – it’s a mind field of contradictions!
But what exactly is a detox? The free dictionary defines it as ‘treatment designed to rid the body of poisonous substances’ and gives the most common examples of such substances as alcohol and drugs. That makes sense, fair enough I say – having a ‘dry January’ is pretty common and most wouldn’t argue that alcohol and drugs are poisonous. But there’s quite a big leap between this and some of the detox diets you hear about that seem to consist almost entirely of liquefied vegetables and water! 
So what should we be doing? How extreme do we need to be to really ‘detox’? Just cut out one thing or all the ‘bad things’? The answer is… I don’t know! But fear not, read on, as a physiotherapist, here’s what I do know…
  • When it comes to alcohol, sources recommend at least 2 alcohol free days a week. This is due to the fact that the liver is a regenerative organ, it can recover itself within days not weeks.
  • Research shows that cutting things out is not a sustainable practice for good health and extreme diets are more likely to result in yo-yo weight loss & gain. 
  • “No food can burn fat; only physical activity can do that” BDA 2010
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! The key to weight loss is eat less, move more. 
  • Moderate exercise is very good for you – the government recommends a minimum of 30 minutes, 5 days a week just to maintain good health. Exercise and physiotherapy go hand in hand. 
  • If you haven’t exercised in months or more, start slowly and build up. If you have an injury preventing you from exercising, physiotherapy can help. 
  • We need a balanced diet to get all the nutrients we need; protein is the bodies building block, carbohydrates are the fuel, fruit & veg and dairy provide most of the vitamins & minerals we need to look and feel good.
  • Statistically as a nation most of us eat too much fat, sugar and salt – and these are the major risk factors for heart disease and many other conditions.

Research has also shown that positively expressed goals are more effective than negative ones and being focused on fewer goals is better than too many.

So, this year, make those New Years resolutions about what you are going to do, keep it simple and concise & don’t worry about the detox crazies! 
If you like what you read, Follow me on Twitter for more or win a few cases of detoxing Jax Coconut Water by liking us on Facebook
Happy New Year,

Are you ready to hit the slopes?

It’s January now and the skiing season is at its peak. Some of us have been waiting at least 9 months to get back on our skis.
Now that the snow is here, are we really prepared to hit the slopes?
Whether or not you’ve been exercising throughout the year, few of us consider including specific training to increase our performance and reduce the risk of injury.
Depending on whether you ski or snowboard you can be susceptible to different injury sites. If you know these areas you can prepare them for the extra strain they’ll be subjected to. A ski break is not only a perfect way to get away from the city and enjoy your holiday; it’s also a very demanding form of exercise. So, whether it’s only a weekend away or a 10 day trip there are a few things you will need to consider.
The most common areas of injury are:
– Skiers: knee, head, shoulder and thumb – the famous “skier’s thumb”.- Snowboarders: wrist, head, shoulder and knee.
Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid injury but if you work on your balance, your alignment, your cardiovascular system, your strength and you make sure you wear a suitable helmet you will certainly reduce your chances of suffering from any of the above.
Here are a few exercises that can help you get ready for the slopes.
– Squats: they will strengthen your thighs in readiness for the extra work throughout the day.- Jumping from a height – use a step with two blocks underneath. Make sure your kneecap is aligned with your second toe. This will not only improve your alignment but it will also increase your stability and will get you ready for moguls.- Core strengthening: this will enhance your pelvic stability when rotating your trunk and legs.- Check your soleus muscle length as this muscle will most likely remain beyond its usual range of motion when skiing/snowboarding. Put your knee against a wall and then slide your foot back as far as you can. Ensure your knee is touching the wall and the heel remains on the floor throughout. Measure the distance from your big toe to the wall. If it’s less than 8cm you need to make sure you do some soleus stretches.
Last but not least take out holiday insurance. Despite the precautions injuries do and can occur. If this is the case a good insurance package will certainly come in handy.
We currently have a 50% off on our Ski Assessments so if you are thinking ongoing skiing why not have one. It will highlight any areas that you need to work on before hitting the slopes.
For more information on skiing injuries why not leave a message on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/BackInActionUK, tweat Angela@angelaphysio or send an email to angela.hernandez@backinactionuk.com

Stretching Tips

“When, how, static or dynamic, before or after exercise” are just some of the questions my patients
often ask about stretching.
The recommendations for stretching seem to change from year to year and from one expert to the
next. While researchers continue to look at the benefits and pitfalls of stretching, there is still limited
and often conflicting evidence.
The goal of stretching is to develop and maintain an appropriate range of motion around specific
joints. It is important to customise your routine to fit your needs. Therefore assessing your body and
your sport or the amount of time you’re sat at your desk is important to make sure you stretch (and
strengthen) in order to reduce muscle imbalances. Stretching tight muscles should go hand in hand
with strengthening the weak muscles.
So, with that in mind, here are 5 tips to be safe and effective when you stretch and to put in place in
your New Year exercise programme resolutions….!
Don’t consider stretching a warm-up. A warm up should be specific to the exercise you are about
to do, so start with light walking or jogging and gradually increase the intensity. It is thought that
dynamic stretches are best to do at this time, such as lunges prior to running or playing football, again
to prepare the body for the movement/sport you are about to do. Research suggests static
stretching, where the stretch is held for approx 30 seconds, is best done after exercise during the cool
down period.
Don’t bounce. Most experts believe ballistic, or bouncing during a stretch may increase the risk of
injury. This is because the muscle may reflexively contract if re-stretched quickly following a short
relaxation period.
Perform balanced stretching. This means you should always stretch the muscles on both sides of
your body evenly. Don’t stretch one side more than the other side.
Don’t aim for pain. Expect to feel tension while you’re stretching, but not pain. If it hurts, you’ve
pushed too far so ease off and then gradually move more into the stretch.
Keep up with your stretching. Stretching can be time-consuming. But you can achieve the best
benefits by stretching regularly. Studies support that range of motion can be increased by a thirty
second stretch for each muscle group per day. However, some people require a longer duration or
more repetitions depending on how stiff you are to start.
For more information around stretching why not tweat Julia @juliaphysio or email

Team Training

The Benefits of team training. Find the motivation to get off the couch!
Training alone it can often me difficult to find the motivation, especially throughout
the winter when we seem to leave and return to our homes in the dark.
If you have a training partner or team there is both the added motivation and the
thought that you will let them down if you don’t show up for your scheduled training
Within a team there is often friendly competition so you should remember if you are
not at training someone else is and probably getting the upper hand!
Training with a group either for team sports such as for rugby or football, or individual
sports like running or cycling, the group provides you with a support network of like
minded people that can cheer you on and provide you with the encouragement to
You have the added incentive that you are working together to accomplish an
ultimate goal.
In particular if you are training for any distance or endurance events such as
marathons, ultras or triathlons it always helps the miles pass by having a friendly
partner to chat while you train!
So join a team or group now. There are plenty out there and much more fun and
financial beneficial than a gym membership you never use!

Gym Away from the Gym

With the busy Christmas period upon us, it’s hard to find the time or money for the gym.  But there are many ways to stay in shape and prevent injury while doing your every day tasks at home in the run up to the big day!

You don’t need equipment to work out; your own body weight is an excellent tool to work with.

So, from the feet up: Get your ankles working by standing on 1 foot while you brush your teeth in the morning.  Stand on the other foot in the evening!

Imagine Santa hiding gifts at the foot of the bed as you get dressed, and walk around the bed on tip toes – working your calves and your dynamic balance.

When you’re squeezing into those ‘slightly tighter than last year jeans – loosen them up with a few lunges – try just 3 on each leg to get you going then really test the seam of them with 5 squats.

Now you’re nice and warmed up, use the stairs as a good place for a few easy calf stretches – drop heels off the edge of a step (holding onto banister to play safe) and let them sink down first with your knees straight, then with knees bent, until you feel a gentle pull –take your time.

Quadriceps StretchAs you wait for the kettle to boil, give those quads a stretch by bringing your foot to your bum, grabbing hold of it, push your hips forward and keep your knees together.  Hold and repeat on the other side.

As you get down to some present wrapping, loosen up your back by sitting cross legged on the floor, put the scissors on your right, sellotape on your left, and the gifts a good stretch out in front of you.  As you wrap try to keep your tummy in, back straight and shoulders back.

Now for the blood sweat and tears that is cooking the Christmas dinner (or any other dinner for that matter)!  The kitchen is a great source of work out tools, so, in-between bouts of chopping, grab a couple of food cans and do some bicep curls.

Make things harder by raising your arms straight out to the sides still holding the cans and make little circles with them… you’ll soon feel the burn in your arms before smelling the burning on the stove!

If you’re feeling particularly strong you could use something heavier like a bottle of wine or bag of potatoes, put then in a sturdy plastic bag and swing them over your shoulder like Santa carrying his sack of gifts.  Then, to work your triceps straighten your elbow so you are lifting the bag up and down behind your head – start with 5 each side.

Finish the day by dropping your chin to your chest and gently rolling your head from side to side, feeling the tension gradually release.  Take a few deep breaths, stretching your linked hands out in front of you and then behind, roll your shoulders gently and relax…. you can survive Christmas and manage to fit in working out in too!

There are hundreds of more stretches and exercises you can do around the home – now you’ve got started keep your imagination going and see what else you can build into your daily routine.

Juliet Hilton, Physiotherapist, Back in Action UK

Follow Juliet on Twitter @JulietPhysio and us @BackInActionUK 


Skiing, ACL Repair to High Heels

(Mamen ruptured her ACL whilst skiing and had surgery in Spain – her surgeon wanted her to wear a brace for a couple of months whilst walking which was for longer than the average following this surgery in the UK. In physiotherapy, her brace was removed for rehabilitation).

“Last year I broke my ACL skiing. My fall was followed by surgery where they reconstructed the ligament joining it to the tibia with a screw. After that, spent several days without moving at all, one month on crutches, and two more on a huge brace – and I was, obviously, limping everywhere. One of my friends had got the same injury and recommended Back In Action UK. He said to have been very pleased with them having a great expertise on ACL rehabilitation. They also have 4-5 clinics around London which was very convenient. A few weeks after my operation I started to get physiotherapy in Back In Action UK with Julia Peters. She seemed a really good professional and knew first thing I needed to get back was the lack of confidence on my leg as well as realising how much work I’ll need to put on if I wanted my knee back at 100% – which has always been my goal!

ACL rehab is like everything in life “you need to work hard if you want to get to the top”, which in this case it translates into being as strong, flexible and balanced as before the accident. During my weekly visits to Julia she massaged my leg, taught me exercises and planned the rehab sessions that I had to undertake by myself at the gym. Probably, one of the most valuable things that I learnt from Julia was to understand my injury; to understand the rehabilitation process and how bones, muscles and ligaments join all together around the knee. This is quite important because only when the patient understands the injury is also able to understand which rehab exercises suit best at each point on time.

Physical rehabilitation can be a tough, mostly if it stays daily for several months on top of your working life. The painful and frequent exercises can get so tiring and boring. And it is because of that the most important thing is to keep ALWAYS in mind that giving up is NOT an option, and that you CANNOT stop exercising your injured leg until is 100% back!! Stiffness, pain, sore muscles, demoralization… all those are normal feelings when rehabilitating; but all of that goes away with the time – believe me, it does!

Julia was extremely helpful and gave an excellent guidance on my rehab. After all I didn’t only get my flexibility, strength and normal movement back but also learnt how to stretch and exercise properly using the gym equipment, and how to do it depending on what I wanted to achieve. The process was long – 9 months in total until being 100%. And still a couple of more months until I decided to jump on my high heels again! After all, I can now say that my knee rehab is probably one of the things I feel the proudest of!!

Finally, I must say that the Back In Action UK Admin did an fantastic job dealing with my medical insurance company and myself. Hopefully none of you will need rehab, but if you ever do; go to Back In Action UK; go to Julia Peters!!”

Mamen, Consultant

TCS Amsterdam Marathon 2012, Melanie Orchard’s Story

Amsterdam is my third marathon and I am hoping to run a PB, without my hat (which I have worn pretty much for every race) and my iPod (I am intending to make polite conversation and enjoy the view)!

My 12 week training programme has gone well, but I have struggled with the taper and not really run for 2 weeks.

Getting to the start, squash on delayed metro (feels like London already) get off one stop early as train too full and walk 10 minutes to start worried I am wasting vital energy and whether this will cause early onset of lactic acid build up in my legs. ……

Having not run for over 6 days, and no more than 6 miles for the last 2 weeks I am very ready to run. As usual my nerves fuel the adrenaline and I have to remind myself as I bound along the first few miles, a little too quickly, that I have over 24 miles to go!

I spend the first 9 miles chatting with a club friend as we make our way along the picturesque canal route enjoying the thought that “this is just another training run”, and “what difference will a few miles tagged on the end really make”? As we head back towards the City the wind is now against us, the chatter dwindles our paces no longer match so we go our separate paces from mile 13. Convinced I can stay positive I remind my self that after Milton Keynes early this year (horrific wind and rain) this is just a light breeze for 5 miles where my first support cheers will be waiting at mile 18….

My legs have been aching since mile 13 (unusual for me)- I blame site seeing round Amsterdam on Saturday! I ignore the pain which has set in far to early. . . and look forward to my enthusiastic support – who unfortunately nearly misses me and only manages a weak “go Mel” which does nothing to take my mind off my legs!

The usual physical and mental dip occurs between 18-21 miles, and I chant to try and stay focused “long strides, enjoy the view” and wonder how long I can keep that up for.

I find my pick me up in an enthusiastic American who joins me encouraging me to pick up the pace and reach my race target. Initially annoyed, as my enthusiasm is dwindling; my competitive nature gets the better of me. Soon we are doing steady 8:30 min mile pace for the next 3 miles. I get further encouragement from my support who runs along side us at mile 24 cheering loudly, (to make up for the previous pathetic cheer), and taking a few memorable snapshots which fuels me to push on.

We continue on together and with more American encouragement we are hitting 8:15 in the last 2 miles as we head towards the stadium through the Vondelpark. My legs are at breaking point and I find solus in the thought that I can rest tomorrow but today is for running and breaking PB’s!
The last 500 metres into the stadium track are the longest of my life – crossing the finish line in 3:48:47 (with my American budding behind me) I am elated!

Having signed up for the race because I liked the t-shirt and needed an excuse to visit Amsterdam, I am ecstatic with the outcome….still thoughts of whether I can achieve 3:45 next time are in my head before my feet have even stopped hurting!! But I guess that’s why it’s called the Marathon Bug!

Follow Melanie on Twitter @MelaniePhysio

Physiotherapy & The Ryder Cup

How good was that European Ryder Cup win! Physiotherapy played a key part in the win. As well as mental stamina, golf requires physical fitness.

Players are now stronger, fitter, pay more attention to things like nutrition, sleep, core stability and exercise to improve their swing. Injury prevention is a vital to keep injury free during a very long season. Physiotherapists will assess swing mechanics and look at the associated biomechanics with video.

All the above affects performance and a little niggle can have a huge impact on distance, accuracy and endurance – Yes, the physical aspect of golf is underestimated.  The Medinah Miracle!

Happy golfing,

Kenny Butler

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