Keep Fit


Being aware that for many of us, before the coronavirus lockdown, ringing formed part of our weekly exercise, a series of exercises has been put together (by my brother, Stephen Newell who used to ring and is a physical trainer – that’s him in the videos) that will work those bellringing muscles - and there are quite of lot of muscles that bellringing uses.


The series of exercises were published week by week on the Guild Facebook pages.


Helen Allton


Index of exercises

Click on the exercise to go directly to it and its video:

Exercise 1: Warming you up

Exercise 2: Book Raises

Exercise 3: Book Presses

Exercise 4: Straight arm kickbacks

Exercise 5: Tricep Kickbacks

Exercise 6: Added warmup: Good Morning

Exercise 7: Tricep Dips

Exercise 8: Pull down Lunges

Exercise 9: Plank to Downward Dog

Exercise 10: Overhead crunches



Exercise 1: Warming you up

Published 16 April 2020

This exercise will warm you up and works on more of the body, rather than concentrates on any particular muscle set.

Please only work to your ability. Exercise should not actively hurt, if it does, reduce the effort, or make the exercise easier. Especially if you're not used to this type of exercise, take it easy and build up the number of repeats and difficulty slowly.

  • Start with arms above head and swing the arms (held comfortably straight, not locked out at the elbows) down and behind. 
  • At the same time as the arms come down, bend the knees and stick the bottom out (rather than leaning the upper body forward). 
  • The body should remain largely upright. 
  • The action is a bit like that of skiing (not that I've ever been skiing!) The deeper the knee bend the more it works legs, balance and hips. A shallower knee bend will make the exercise easier on the knees.

Try to do this 10 to 20 times, and do 2-3 repeats of that set. You should be a bit out of breath at the end as well as warmed up nicely.


Exercise 2: Book Raises

Published 20 April 2020


The first of the more targeted exercises. In this you need something to add some weight, Steve’s using a book, as they’re easy to stack to add complexity.

  • Hold book between palms, pressing the palms together, and move it from down to overhead to down with arms straight. Repeat 10 to 20 times, and try 2-3 sets. 
  • To increase effort, add additional books. This will mean you need to push the palms together harder, which increases the workout on the lateral muscles. 

Maybe don’t start with the largest book on the shelf, nor the most valuable.



Exercise 3: Book Presses

Published 23 April 2020


Another exercise to target arms and shoulders This is a close relative of Exercise 2 arm raises. Again you need something to add some weight, Stephen’s using a book, as they’re easy to stack to add complexity.


Exercise A:

  • Hold book between palms at the chest, pressing the palms together. 
  • Move the book out from chest to arms stretched in front of you and back again. 

Exercise B:

  • Then move from chest to overhead and back to chest. 

Repeat A 10 times, then exercise B for the same number. Try 2-3 sets of A and B. 

To increase effort, add additional books. This will mean you need to push the palms together harder, which increases the workout on the lateral muscles. Maybe don’t start with the largest book on the shelf, nor the most valuable.


Exercise 4: Straight arm kickbacks

Published 27 April 2020


Another exercise for the shoulders. Again you will need something that you can hold in your hand but adds weight. Stephen’s using a book, again, but a can of beans or something that’s comfortable to grip would work as well.

  • With one hand on a step or hard chair, drop the other arm towards the floor. 

  • Raise the arm by moving it past your hips with the elbow straight (but not locked out), and return to the start position. 

This will work the shoulder. 

You can increase the effort by holding the book at one end, rather than in the middle. Increasing the size of the object can make it difficult to hold comfortably. Remain in control on both up and down strokes. Repeat 10 times, then swop arms and do the same. Try for 2-3 sets on each arm.


Exercise 5: Tricep Kickbacks

Published 30 April 2020

A similar exercise to Exercise 4, but this one will exercise the backs of your arms. You will need something that you can hold in your hand but adds weight. Stephen’s using a book, again, but a can of beans or something that’s comfortable to grip would work as well. You may find that you can't do these with the same weight as the presses form last week - that's OK.
  • With one hand on a step or hard chair, hold your arm at 90 degrees at the elbow and with your upper arm running along side your body. 
  • Straighten the arm and move the hand past the hips. The elbow shouldn't move. 
  • Return the hand to the start position. 

Increase the effort with a larger item you can hold comfortably, or holding the end of the book, as opposed to the middle. Remain in control on both up and down strokes. Repeat 10 times, then swop arms and do the same. Try for 2-3 sets on each arm.


Exercise 6: Added Warmup, Good Morning

Published 6 May 2020

This is an exercise to add to your warm up.

  • Start with arms above the head and swing them downwards past your hips and behind you.

  • At the same time, bend the body at the hips, bringing the chest towards the knees. It’s a bit like a bow, hence its name – Good Morning.

  • Swing the arms back up while you stand up and return to the start position.

The knees should only bend enough to keep your balance, the idea isn’t to work them here.

Try for a set of 10, rest and repeat 2-3 times. You can alternate this with the ski style lunges to get really warmed up and use more of the body.


Exercise 7: Tricep Dips

Published 9 May 2020


Something to work the triceps. These don’t get a lot of work, so this can be hard.

  • Start by sitting on the edge of bottom step of the stairs, with your hands either side of you. The fingers should face forward to make sure that you engage the tricep. Hands should be either side of your bottom, not too far apart.

  • Now lift your bottom off the step and lower it towards the floor, and return to the level of the step. Make sure that you don’t hunch the shoulders, make sure the elbows bend to lower you and straighten to return.

  • To make the exercise harder, move your feet further out.

If that’s a bit challenging – and it might be if you’re not used to this – you can make it easier by sitting on the floor.  Use your arms to recline and elevate the upper body. Make sure to make your arms do the work, don’t rely on your stomach muscles.



Exercise 8: Pull down Lunges

Published 12 May 2020

This is another variant of the ski style squats with which we started the warm up. It works the legs more and will further test your balance.

  • Start with arms above head and swing the arms (held comfortably straight, not locked out at the elbows) down and behind.

  • At the same time as the arms come down, take a large step backwards with one leg and bend both knees into a lunge. The front knee should not stick out forward of the ankle and the back knee should not touch the floor. The body should remain upright, the bend is in the legs, not at the waist or hips.

  • As the arms swing back to the start position, bring the back leg forward and stand upright again.

If the knees are a problem, make the step smaller, or the bend shallower.

Try to do this 10 to 20 times, alternating legs each time, and do 2-3 repeats of that set.

You can use all 3 warm up exercises in sequence (ski style squats, Good Morning and pull down lunges) and repeat that twice through.


Exercise 9: Plank to Downward Dog

Published 15 May 2020

This exercise looks more challenging, but can be broken down in to individual holds and only progress to moving between them when you’re holding each one relatively comfortably. It works the shoulders, back & core. 

  • Start on hands and knees on the floor, tuck the toes under and straighten the legs such that you’re on your hands and toes. Suck in the stomach and make the body a straight line between shoulders & feet. This is the Plank position. 

  • From Plank, raise the bottom in the air, rotating at the shoulder such that you form an inverted V, with your bottom as the apex. Head should be between the arms and these should form a single line from the bottom to hands. This is Downward Dog. 

  • Then return to plank – just like that. Slowly move between the two in a controlled motion, pausing to hold in each position. 

Using a step or hard chair under your hands will make the exercise easier, but please make sure that the support is stable and not going to move under you. 

Both of these can be done on the elbows, if holding the weight on the hands causes wrist issues.

Plank for Beginners takes you through the elbow plank and then the arm plank, if this is new to you.

Downward Dog on your elbows can be described as Dolphin Pose and how to get into that position is described in this link. 

I know this one looks more difficult, it’s the moving between them in a controlled manner that gives the work out. However holding them individually will give benefit if moving between them is too challenging initially. 

If moving between poses, move into each one 10 to 20 times and repeat 2-3 times. If holding each pose, build up to a minute in each position, rest and repeat twice more.


 

Exercise 10: Overhead crunches


Published 19 May 2020

Ringing also exercises the core, so we’ll finish our exercise set with some crunches to work on the abdominals. 

  • Lie on the floor, with knees bent and feet firmly on the floor 
  • Tilt the hips so that the lower back is anchored to the floor
  • With arms above the head and a book balanced on your hands, lift the shoulder blades off the floor. The arms should stay alongside the head and the neck should not tilt, lead with the chin, not forehead.

That’s quite challenging, so it can be made easier by taking the weight off the hands. 

If you’re a beginner, this is a good introduction to simple crunches




Page set up 2/5/2020.  Last updated: 19/5/2020 (tidied 22/7/20)







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