By now, you should know that exercise can have a positive effect on your mental health, but did you know the benefits extend well beyond a juicy hit of endorphins. One advantage comes when you dig in and complete a particularly tough session, and receive a boost to the belief in your own abilities.
That’s something the people behind Manor, a boutique gym chain in London, know all too well. The new workout space MCP at Manor’s Pimlico location is designed to help you build mental resilience as well as getting stronger and fitter.
“Everything about MCP, from the sessions to the raw set-up of the space, is about getting comfortable with the uncomfortable,” says Ben John, head trainer at MCP. “The sessions promise to help people redefine both their physical and mental limitations to discover what they are truly capable of withstanding.”
The MCP session below employs a couple pieces of equipment typically used in strongman training: an axle bar and D-Ball. An axle bar has a greater diameter than the barbells you find in regular gyms, providing an extra challenge to your grip and forearms, while a D-Ball is just a massive, heavy medicine ball. If you’re trying this in a regular gym, opt for an Olympic barbell and the heaviest medicine or slam ball at your disposal. Fear not, the workout will still be tough enough that you’ll want to tap out pretty quickly.
How To Do This Workout
You’ll need to set up some kit near an assault bike for this workout, because you’ll start each circuit burning ten calories on the bike. Repeat the circuit ten times and aim to complete it as quickly as you can. Take as much rest as you need, but set yourself a target time to help keep you motivated throughout.
“Overall you’ll be performing ten sets, which is a total of 80 reps of each exercise,” says John. “This workout could take you 20 minutes or it could take 40 minutes. It all depends on the weight you decide to use.”
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1 Assault bike
2 Sandbag squat
“Hold the sandbag on your chest, keeping your elbows high,” says John. “Squat down as low as possible, focusing on keeping your heels on the floor and knees outside your big toes.”
2 Axle bar thruster
“Hold the axle bar in a front rack position,” says John. “Squat down, keeping the bar in front rack. On the way back up gather momentum and, as you start to fully extend, begin pressing the bar up until you’re standing with the bar above your head with straight arms. Slowly lower the bar to the start position – that’s one rep.”
3 D-Ball over the shoulder
“Bend down from your hips and knees and get your hand right under the D-Ball,” says John. “With your back flat in a deadlift position, pick the ball up and rest it on your knee. From here wrap your arms around the ball. Pull it up using your back and arms and by driving your hips through. Guide the ball up and over your shoulder, then let it fall behind you.”
4 Chest-to-floor burpee
“From standing, place your hands on the floor and jump your legs back into a raised plank position,” says John. “Lower your chest to touch the floor, then push back up into a plank. Jump your legs towards your hands, stand up and jump, clapping above your head.”
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Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.