How To Make Adidas Donate A Million Bucks To Clean Up The Oceans

We all watched Blue Planet II last year, right? So we’re all on board with the idea of dumping less plastic in the oceans and doing something about the mountains of waste we have already put in the water? Good-oh. In fact, we see that re-usable coffee cup in your hand and salute you (don’t return the salute, you might spill hot Americano on yourself). But if you want to go the extra mile in the next month, take part in the Adidas x Parley Run For The Oceans event and go the extra kilometre.

From 8th June until 8th July every run tracked on the Runtastic app as part of the Run For The Oceans community will add to a global tally, and Adidas will donate $1 to the Parley Ocean Plastic Program for every kilometre logged up to a maximum contribution of one million dollars.

Since 2015 Adidas has been working with Parley For The Oceans, an organisation that raises awareness about threats to the ocean environment, and particularly its Parley Ocean Plastic Program, which focuses on the major damage done by plastic dumped in the ocean. As part of the partnership Adidas has a range of Parley products made from recycled ocean plastic, including a special edition of the UltraBoost running shoe that re-uses approximately 11 plastic bottles per pair. Adidas has also introduced recycled plastic into its clothing as part of the Parley line, including Manchester United’s third kit for the 2018/19 season.

We all want to see the max contribution given to this excellent cause, so if you’re already a Runtastic user then make sure you join the Parley community, and if you’re currently committed to a different running app, then consider also tracking your runs with Runtastic at least until the one million kilometre mark is hit.

As well as the kilometres logged on Runtastic, Adidas will be putting on a series of runs in cities around the world to help rack up the distance and the donation as part of the Run For The Oceans campaign. In the UK the main run will be held in London on 17th June, and there will also be events put on through the Adidas Runners London running club. It’s best to join the Adidas Runners London group on Facebook if you want to keep up with any Parley events.

The Skipping Workout You’ll Want To Do Again And Again

Photograph: Element5 Digital via Unsplash

If you want an example of the crazy, topsy-turvy world we live in, consider the jump rope, the preserve of boxers and small girls. How can one length of rope be so popular with the toughest blighters in the world… and boxers?

Of course, there’s method to the madness. Skipping is both ruddy hard and fun.

And that’s something Technogym knows. The maker of the cardio machines you’ll find as standard in many commercial gyms has launched a new range of at-home exercise equipment which includes – you’ve guessed it – a skipping rope.

Not just any skipping rope, of course, but one with textured handles so they don’t slip out of your soon-to-be-very-sweaty palms and ball bearings in the handles to aid the rotation of the rope.

So what better excuse to ask Technogym master trainer David Howatson for a workout that’s both ruddy hard and a little bit fun? Not too hard, though – it mixes short periods of skipping with bodyweight exercises and rest. “Jumping can be a tough activity so rest and active recovery are important,” says Howatson.

You can use Technogym’s premium £65 skipping rope (available online soon) or your local gym’s. Just make sure you don’t try to make off with a small girl’s – they are bastard hard.

Skipping Workout

Each stage has a pair of moves. The first is a bodyweight exercise, the second uses a skipping rope. Do each move for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds before moving on to the next pair of exercises.

After the final set of exercises, rest for two minutes. Repeat the circuit three to five times.

1 Star jump / double-leg jump

Start out at a slow-to-moderate speed, using the star jumps to warm up the body for impact. The double-leg jump is an easy way to get moving with the rope – both feet leave the ground together and land together. Keep the jumps small and aim for a comfortable rhythm.

2 Mountain climber / single-leg hop

Mountain climbers will help to engage your core and prepare the body for lifting your knees. The single-leg hop should mirror the height and rhythm of the double-leg jumps. Rhythm and staying light on your feet are the key to nailing the timing. Switch legs after 15 seconds.

3 Lateral lunge / alternating high knees

The side lunge adds a different plane of movement and prepares the body for the next jump rope movement. Alternating high knees looks more like the traditional skipping action. Tuck one knee up towards your chest while you pass the rope under your hopping leg twice, then change legs.

4 Push plank with rotation / twisting jump

For the push plank, begin in a top press-up position, then bring one arm up and rotate your body towards the ceiling. Hold for three to four seconds, then lower into the starting position. Then repeat on the other side. After 30 seconds move on to a double-leg jump with a twist – it’s the same action and tempo as the first exercise but just before the landing, you rotate the hips so your toes point to one side. Alternate the twists so your toes land pointing first to the left and then to the right. This gets the lower back and waist working, just as with the rotation from the push plank.

Why I Love Football: DJ Monki

When you have a big football match to play on a Sunday, most of us would prefer an early night on the Saturday. A quiet one in front of the TV. However, for Radio 1 DJ Monki, aka Lucy Monkman, that isn’t an option. She’s behind the decks into the wee hours before grabbing a couple of hours sleep and heading off to play for her team AFC Phoenix in south London. We spoke to Monki about her love of football and how she manages to fit in playing around her work as a DJ.

How long have you been playing football?

I started when I was about five, playing with my cousin down the park. I played with the boys in the playground at school and I carried on playing with boys until I was told to stop by the FA! Once you reach a certain age you’re not allowed to any more and the schools I went to didn’t have a girls’ team so I really didn’t have an opportunity. I played at a few academies, Chelsea and Fulham, then stopped for a long time before getting back into it.

When did you stop playing?

I stopped when I was about 15 or 16. I basically discovered clubbing. Then I started again when I was 20. I joined quite a low league just to get back into it and played five-a-side. I trialled for London Bees, who are WSL2 [Women’s Super League 2, to be renamed FA Women’s Championship from 2018-19], but the commitment they needed was too high along with my job. I joined the team I’m in now [AFC Phoenix] in the London and South East Division, so it’s still a pretty high level. If you compared it with the men’s pyramid we’d be conference [National League].

How often do you play now?

We train during the week and play matches on Sundays, which can be hard for me with work. I have a tour manager to take me to my gig on a Saturday night and then take me straight home. I’ll sleep in the car on the way there, then I’ll sleep on the way back and then I’ll sleep at home for a few hours and wake up for the game! That’s how I manage it. If I’m DJing abroad obviously it can be impossible, though there have been a few times when I’ve flown back from Ibiza and gone straight to a game.

What’s your favourite thing about football?

The camaraderie is probably my favourite thing. It always revolves around mates. It’s something you’re sharing with 20 other people who have been playing with you every week for the past several months, in the rain and the cold.

And it’s escapism as well. Whenever I play footy I don’t think about anything else. When you’re on the pitch you’re in the moment.

What position do you play?

I’ve played every position this season except centre back and in goal! Usually I play right wing, or number ten – up top sometimes.

What advice would you give to someone looking to get into football now?

Five-a-side is great way to get into it, because it can be a proper leveller. Eleven-a-side might be a bit tricky at first, but there are plenty of grassroots teams. There’s a team in Hackney called Romance FC, they all started playing only three years ago and didn’t even know how to kick a ball. Now they play together every week and they’re always accepting new players. If anyone in east London wants to join a new team I highly recommend them.

Monki will be playing Lovebox Festival on Saturday 14th July. Her debut EP Voices is out now. Listen on Spotify or Beatport

Apple’s New Features Will Help You With A Digital Detox

Maybe massive corporations do care about us after all. Apple has announced its iOS 12 update, which includes an entire app dedicated to improving your digital wellbeing, one month after Google announced its latest software Android P, which includes the ability to put limits on the time spent using apps and block them after a preset bedtime.

With Apple’s forthcoming Screen Time app you’ll be able to monitor your use of individual apps and certain types of apps. You can set limits for how much time you want to spend in each app, and you’ll be alerted when you’re close to reaching that limit.

You also get activity reports of the time you spend on your phone, which will includes notes on whether you’re using certain apps more than average, plus time spent looking at your phone after your designated bedtime – a big no-no for those looking to improve their sleep.

Apple has also changed the Do Not Disturb and Notification feature in iOS 12, giving you more control over what alerts you receive and when you receive them. There is a new Do Not Disturb mode for night-time, which dims the screen and hides all notifications until the morning. With Notifications you can now choose to get “quiet” notifications from certain apps which will be in your notifications centre but won’t clamour for your attention with a sound, buzz or lock screen message. iOS 12 will also group notifications so you can deal with them all at once after a period of not looking at your phone.

There is also a new Downtime setting, where you can designate a period of time when certain apps are blocked and only certain notifications are allowed through. This can be especially useful to set up on iOS devices used by children. You can also get an activity report on your child’s usage of a device and set time limits on individual apps.

It’s fair to say most if not all of the new features are things that you can already do yourself simply by ignoring your phone, but as concerns over how much time people spend on electronic devices grow (thanks in part to their diabolically clever sticky user experience), it’s good news that Apple and Google are trying to help people stay in control of their phones, rather than the other way around.

The Best Compound Exercises For All Levels Of Gym-Goer

Compound exercises use multiple joints and muscles groups simultaneously for a multitude of benefits. As well as the obvious, they raise the heart rate to provide a cardiovascular benefit, burn more calories than isolation moves, and can help improve the balance and co-ordination of your body.

If you want to pack a stack of multi-muscle moves into your next workout, this guide to the best compound exercises for beginner, intermediate and advanced gym-goers from Daine Finch, master trainer at health club chain The Bannatyne Group, will help.

Beginner Compound Exercises

For these exercises, Finch recommends doing three sets of ten to 12 reps, with 45-60 seconds of rest between sets.

Walking lunge

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on your hips. Step forwards with one leg, flexing your knees to lower your hips. Descend until your rear knee nearly touches the ground. Your posture should remain upright and your front knee should stay above the front foot. Drive through the heel of your lead foot and extend both knees to raise yourself again. Step forwards with your rear foot to repeat the lunge on the other leg so you walk forwards.

Wide lat pull-down

Sit down on a pull-down machine with a wide bar attached to the top pulley. Adjust the knee pad of the machine to fit your height to prevent your body from being raised by the resistance attached to the bar. Grab the bar with your palms facing forwards and hands wider than shoulder-width apart. As you breathe out, bring the bar down until it touches your upper chest by drawing your shoulders and upper arms down and back – your forearms shouldn’t be doing any of the work. Your upper torso should remain stationary and only your arms should move. Pause for a second at the contracted position and squeeze your back muscles, then, while inhaling, slowly raise the bar back to the starting position.

Dumbbell goblet squat

In a standing position hold the head of a dumbbell close to your chest with both hands. You should be looking straight forwards, with your shoulders back, your spine straight and your feet just wider than shoulder-width apart. Descend into a squat, flexing the hips and knees to lower your body. Maintain the angle of your torso, paying close attention to the spine. As you descend, push your knees outwards and keep your weight on your heels. Descend until you either reach the full squat position with your hamstrings on your calves or until your back starts to round. At the bottom of the motion pause briefly, then return to the starting position by driving through your heels, and extending your knees and hips.

Intermediate Compound Exercises

For these exercises Finch recommends doing four sets of eight to ten reps, with 60 seconds of rest between sets.

Barbell bent-over row

Hold a barbell with a pronated grip (palms facing down), bend your knees slightly and bring your torso forwards by bending at the waist while keeping your back straight until it is almost parallel to the floor. Make sure to keep your head up. Your arms should hang perpendicular to the floor and your torso. While keeping your torso stationary, breathe out and lift the barbell towards your body, keeping your elbows close to your sides. At the top contracted position, squeeze your back muscles and pause briefly, then inhale and slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position.

Barbell deadlift

Approach the bar so that it is centred over your feet, which should be hip-width apart. Bend at the hips to grip the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart. Take a big breath and then lower your hips and flex your knees until your shins touch the bar. Keep your head looking forwards, your chest up and your back arched, and drive through the heels to raise the weight. After the bar passes your knees, aggressively pull the bar back, pulling your shoulder blades together as you drive your hips forwards into the bar. Lower the bar by bending at the hips and guiding it to the floor.

Box squat

This exercise is best performed inside a squat rack for safety purposes. To begin, first place a flat bench or a box behind you. This is used to teach you to set your hips back and to hit the right depth. Then set the bar on a rack that best matches your height. Step under the bar and position it across the back of your shoulders, slightly below the neck. Hold the bar with both hands and lift it off the rack by pushing with your legs and straightening your torso.

Step away from the rack and stand with your legs shoulder-width apart with your toes slightly pointed out. Keep your head up at all times. While inhaling, slowly lower by bending the knees and sitting your hips back. Continue down until you touch the bench behind you. The front of your knees should make straight lines with your toes. If your knees are past your toes then you are placing undue stress on the knee.

Rise by pushing the floor with the heels of your fee to straighten your legs and extend your hips to go back to the starting position, exhaling as you go.

Advanced Compound Exercises

For these exercises Finch recommends doing four sets of eight to ten reps, with 60-90 seconds of rest between sets.

Inverted row

Position a bar in a rack at about waist height. You can also use a Smith machine. Hold the bar with your hands wider than shoulder-apart and position yourself so you’re hanging underneath it. Your body should be straight with your heels on the ground and your arms fully extended. Begin by flexing your elbows and pulling your chest towards the bar. Retract your shoulder blades as you perform the movement. Pause at the top of the motion, then return to the starting position.

Barbell clean and press

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a barbell approximately 5cm away from your shins. Push your hips back and grab the barbell so your palms are facing your body and your hands are shoulder-width apart. Keep your hips down, chest up, eyes forwards and arms extended. Keep your core very tight and drive through your heels to pull the bar quickly up to your chest, just in front of your collarbone. Be explosive in your movement as you pull the bar, keeping it as close to your body as you can. As soon as the bar reaches your chest, drive through your heels again, press the bar directly overhead and straighten your arms and legs. Return to the start under control.

Barbell bench press

Lie on a flat bench. Holding the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart, lift the bar from the rack and hold it above your chest with your arms straight and locked. From this starting position, breathe in and bring the bar down slowly until it touches the middle of your chest. Pause briefly, then push the bar back to the starting position as you breathe out. Focus on pushing the bar using your chest muscles. Lock your arms and squeeze your chest in the contracted position at the top of the motion, hold for a second and then start coming down slowly again. Ideally, lowering the weight should take about twice as long as raising it.

Why Lifting Heavier Weights Isn’t Always Better

Everyone likes to see progress from their training. If you’re trying to lose weight then you want to see lower numbers on the scales, while runners and cyclists will shoot for faster times or longer distances. For gym rats, progress means lifting heavier weights, because adding an extra couple of kilos to your squat or deadlift is a definitive sign you’re getting stronger.

However, going all-out for that extra weight could well be counter-productive in the long-term, as Joel Freeman, Beachbody super trainer, explains.

What are the problems that can arise if you try to lift too heavy?

The simple answer is injuries! In the fitness world more advice is available than ever before thanks to social media, with a slew of opinions on what to lift, how to lift and all sorts of different ways to lift. The problem is, most people do not have a stable enough foundation or the necessary amount of information or coaching to do many of the exercises that they see.

Trying to lift more than your body is ready for can easily result in an injury like a herniated disc or torn ligaments that could affect not just your training but the rest of your life.

How can you tell if you are using too heavy a weight?

Control and proper form. You should always be able to control whatever weight you are trying to lift without compromising correct form and lifting position. This doesn’t mean that you’re not challenging your muscles and that’s what having a spotter can help do. But if you’re not able to fully engage the primary muscles that you’re trying to work, then you should be backing off the weight. So for example, you should be doing the chest press without shrugging your shoulders for assistance, or on a deadlift you shouldn’t be curving your back.

Are there any exercises in particular where it’s especially important to avoid going for too heavy a weight?

The exercises to be very careful with are any that will put compression or pressure on your back. Ironically, these are the exercises that most people want to lift heavy. Back squats and barbell deadlifts are two of the main exercises that I always suggest going lighter with – you should be working on control, rather than max weight. There are plenty of alternative exercises to build the same muscles and your back will thank you in the long run.

Do you have any advice on how gym beginners should scale up the weight they lift over time?

Patience and consistency are key in weightlifting. Your muscles will grow if you challenge them, as long as you give them time to recover between sessions and fuel them appropriately. Focus more on the consistency of challenging the particular muscle you’re working – so three sets of ten reps for five or six exercises that work that muscle – rather than trying to do as much weight as possible. If you can lift the same weight for two or three weeks, then try increasing the weight in small increments without losing form and control. Doing this will also help prevent injuries and reversing your progress.

How To Get Involved With Global Running Day

Wednesday 6th June 2018 is Global Running Day and as you might expect, the easiest way to take part in this international celebration of pavement-pounding is to head out for a run. You could leave it there if you want, but if you fancy commiting a little more time and effort, there are plenty of ways to feel part of the proceedings.

The first is to pledge your miles on the Global Running Day website. Sign up and log the distance you plan to cover on Wednesday to contribute to the overall tally. Once you’ve pledged to get involved, it will be just that bit harder to back out and skip your run this Wednesday.

You can also enter an event to mark Global Running Day, whether that’s a real-life run near you or a virtual run. On fitness tracking app Strava you can sign up for the NYRR Virtual Global Running Day 1 Mile event, which is actually running from 4th-10th June. Once you’ve entered, just head out for a one-mile run within that period and you’ll be added to the overall leaderboards for the event.

If you prefer your running events to be in the real world, you can sign up for one of the IAAF 24 one-mile races taking place on Global Running Day all over the world. The UK event will take place in London’s Olympic Park at Lee Valley VeloPark, and it starts at 5pm.

Of course you can also try to find another running event if you’re not near London or fancy a longer distance, or set up a group run yourself. On the Global Running Day website you can even download customised bibs for your run in the Toolkits section.

Many clubs will also put on runs to mark the occasion, so if you want to run with a group check out your local club to see if it has a public event. Or just gather a load of friends and head out to log a mile in a park near you. There’s really no wrong way to get involved with Global Running Day, just as long as you get out and run.

Six Ways The Apple Watch Is Getting Better For Fitness

While the Apple Watch Series 3 was the best version of Apple’s wearable yet and the best sporty smartwatch available (unless you use an Android phone, of course), it was far from the complete package when it comes to health and fitness. Some of the issues can’t be fixed by software tweaks alone, like the one-day battery life, but the introduction of watchOS 5 will improve the fitness tracking experience on the Apple Watch considerably.

The free software update will be released this autumn, but Apple has already announced what users can expect to see. Here are the most exciting features coming to the Apple Watch.

Automatic workout detection

Did you forget to start your workout on the watch? No problem – the device will recognise that you are training and alert you to start a workout, and even give you retrospective credit for the exercise you’ve done before the alert. The same goes for the end of a workout. If you sit down after a run without pressing stop (happens to all of us), the watch will alert you to end the session, so your average pace isn’t skewed by a stationary half-hour at your desk. And speaking of pace…

Running pace alerts

The Apple Watch will alert you if your pace is above or below a preset target pace on your runs. A rolling pace stat will be introduced as well which shows your pace over the last mile. This is very handy for those trying to maintain a certain pace and usually better to use than current pace, which is so jumpy on most wrist wearables that it’s relatively useless.

New sports modes

Dedicated yoga and hiking modes are coming to the watch, complete with dedicated algorithms for estimating calories burned and tracking active minutes.

Activity competitions

In the past you could link your Apple Watch with friends and see what activity they’d done, but soon you can compete with them, which is far more exciting. You compete over seven days with points earned for closing your Activity Rings.

Cadence stats for runners and walkers

Your cadence is how many steps you take per minute and it’s an important stat for runners in particular. Too low a cadence can be an indication you are over-striding and putting your body at risk of injury, so check out your stats when the new feature arrives – a cadence of around 180 is widely considered to be optimal.

Podcasts

The arrival of the Podcasts app on the Watch is a great and overdue addition for anyone who likes to listen to podcasts while they work out, because you will be able to leave your phone behind without restricting your entertainment to music.

Join The I Move London Relay Team And Be Part Of A World Record

If you live in London, or indeed within easy travelling distance of the capital, there is absolutely no reason at all not to sign up to be part of the I Move London Relay team this July. And there are several absolutely excellent reasons why you should sign up.

The first is to be part of a world record. The event will see runners cumulatively cover 4,000 miles (6,437km) between 29th June and 29th July, far more than the current Guinness World Record for the longest relay race, which stands at 3,504.28 miles.

The second reason is that you don’t have to cover more than 5K or 10K of that massive distance yourself, because the stages are broken down into smaller chunks that just about anyone can manage. For the 10K legs you will need to maintain an average pace of at least 11 minutes per mile (6min 50sec per kilometre), but you can join the 5K legs regardless of the speed you run.

Each stage is open to up to 50 runners so you can expect a good atmosphere for your leg even if you pick one in the dead of night on a Wednesday. Each stint of the relay will start from Potters Fields Park, near Tower Bridge. Runners on the 10K legs follow the Thames down to Westminster Bridge before crossing and heading back up to Tower Bridge, while runners of the 5K leg cross at the Millennium Bridge.

We’re still not done with the reasons to get involved, by the way. In fact the most important one is to come, which is that you’ll be raising money for three excellent charities: Laureus, The Running Charity and Sported, which all use sport as part of their efforts to tackle problems like homelessness and gang culture. The organisers of the event also hope to unite London by getting runners from all 120 postcodes and every borough in the city to take part.

So that’s 5K at any pace or 10K at a manageable pace, for three great causes and a world record, and you have a 30-day period to pick up a convenient time in. For our money the only reason not to get involved is if you don’t manage to book your spot at londonrelay.co.uk before it sells out. Entry to a stage cost £20, and while there is no compulsory fundraising target you are, naturally, strongly encouraged to raise money for the I Move London Relay’s charity partners.

The Best Medicine Ball Exercises For All Levels Of Gym-Goer

Building explosive power should be near the top of every man’s gym plan because it won’t just make you faster or stronger, it will also help you to build more lean muscle mass in less time. Why? Because the quicker and harder you can contract a muscle, the more weight you can lift. But when you think of explosive power, sprinters or strongmen spring to mind, not that dusty old medicine ball sitting neglected in the corner of your gym. Well it’s time to change your thinking. When it comes to building explosive power and working your key muscle groups in functional ways to build muscle mass, burn fat, improve mobility, co-ordination and stability, there’s no better bit of gym kit than the humble medicine ball. Here are all the very best exercises, workouts, training tips and advice to make better use of a med ball to build a bigger, leaner and more injury-proof body.