Physical Fitness Training

When looking at training the Ice team, all 7 components of fitness (flexibility, endurance, skill, stamina, strength, speed and power) need to be addressed – not paying sufficient attention to even one of these components could lead to areas of weakness, imbalance and leave the team prone to injury.

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Physical Fitness Training gallery, photos of team and expedition.

Where possible the specific techniques/exercises need to mimic movements and tasks carried out on the ice. This not only ensures that the muscles and joints get used to the range of movement but it also aids mental preparation. Functional exercises will naturally start to develop coping mechanisms to overcome the tedious nature of the expedition.

Polar-specific exercises such as towing and hauling tyres over uneven ground, coupled with more conventional endurance training methods should ensure the team are in optimum mental and physical condition for departure in early February.

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Jon Stratford, a former Physical Training Instructor at the Royal Marines Commando Training Centre, Lympstone, is working as the personal trainer to Pen, Ann and Martin. With experience of Arctic Warfare training, Jon understands the conditions that the team will encounter, and personalises their regimes accordingly with specific-to-task exercises. The tough yet progressive nature of these sessions aims to incrementally develop the stamina and power required for a physical undertaking of this magnitude. Optimal performance requires a balance between cardiovascular endurance to drag sledges for over 100 days and core strength to haul the same sledges over jagged pressure ridges and broken terrain.

Complimenting his individually-tailored daily training programmes, Jon also monitors the team members’ progress during a variety of two-hour physical work-outs on a weekly basis. To minimise the potential for muscular injury, he stresses the necessity of a good warm-up and cool-down, as well as advocating the importance of timely calorie intake after training to replace expended energy, aid recovery and promote continued physiological development.

As Martin lives and works in London away from the rest of the Devon-based team, he cannot always attend Jon’s sessions. Therefore to provide the continuity and motivation that a personal trainer affords, Martin also uses the services of Dr Jenny Hewitt, who specialises in exercise physiology.

Physiological Assessments

Changes in the team’s fitness are monitored through a series of physiological assessments conducted by Dr Daryl Wilkerson of the School of Sport & Health Sciences at the University of Exeter.

Under controlled laboratory conditions, a series of tests are conducted to measure a range of physical attributes, including lactate threshold and VO2 max.

So far, the team have each undergone an initial assessment. They will also be re-tested to check for progress in Dec 08 and just prior to departure in Feb 09.

Likewise, the physiological impact of the expedition will be determined with a further laboratory visit immediately upon their return to the UK, with a later follow-up session to determine the body’s ability to recover from such a prolonged period of physical activity in such an extreme environment.

"Preparation" Blog Posts
Headline Test
Posted by Pen Hadow
You know you’re making progress North when…...more
Sunday, 15th February 2009
Mission driven
Posted by Pen Hadow
Of a bewildering array of thoughts swimming around in my head today, one has struck for the surface, indicative of the gel that holds us together....more
Monday, 02nd February 2009
Doc Martin
Posted by Dominic Hilton
The office is a hive of activity today......more
Thursday, 29th January 2009
Posted by Tori Taylor
The clock keeps ticking and with every strike we draw closer to the date when Pen, Ann and Martin will leave 'us' the support team, in the UK to embark on the survey of our lifetimes....more
Monday, 26th January 2009
Travelling back
Posted by Ann Daniels
As I travel back from Qikiqtarjuaq I reflect on another adventure in the magnificent Arctic. A memory to treasure when I can no longer travel to the ends of the earth!...more
Wednesday, 21st January 2009

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