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When the hit show American Gladiators returned to the airwaves this year, it gave a whole generation of TV watchers reason to rejoice. Back in the late '80s and early '90s, the original American Gladiators was a guilty pleasure for people of all ages and backgrounds. Every week, the somewhat cartoonish competition showcased the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, and the endless functionality of spandex. It also pitted some genuinely talented and extremely well trained athletes against each other-- and those musclebound Gladiators-- in some creative, unforgettable events like "The Joust," "Powerball," and "The Eliminator."

NBC's new take on American Gladiators brings back many of those same events, and like before, the contestants on the show are recruited from a pool of real, everyday people, many of whom saw the original series and thought, "I can do that!" Of course, for most of us, the transition from couch potato to contestant can pose more than its fair share of challenges. However, whether you're an experienced amateur athlete or just a person who wants to adopt a more comprehensive workout regimen, an American Gladiators training program just might work for you!

The biggest advantage of an American Gladiators workout is the diversity of the athletic events for which you're preparing. It doesn't matter if you think you've got what it takes to be on the show or not. You can still use the Gladiator events as a sort of template for working on all facets of your physical fitness.

Strength

If you want to impress Hulk Hogan and hold your own in events like "The Gauntlet" and "The Wall," strength is the key. Building upper body strength with regular regimens of weight training (bench press, curls), push-ups, and other resistance exercises can give you that extra "oomph" to power through a Gladiator's tackle. Increasing your protein intake can also help improve muscle development during training. To make sure you've got a strength building plan that works, consider joining a health club or hiring a personal trainer to keep you on the right track.

Speed

Some American Gladiators events are all about speed and quickness, such as "Hit and Run" and "Powerball." Just beefing up your muscle won't serve you in these events, where you need to be fleet of foot enough to whiz past charging Gladiators and get to your goal. Training for these events requires plenty of cardio, leg weight training (leg press, squats), stretches, treadmill or bike work, and of course, a fair amount of running and sprinting drills with your trainer.

 

Agility

When you watch popular Gladiator events like "The Joust" and "Hang Tough," you'll notice that the winners aren't always the strongest ones, but they are the most agile. Agility incorporates quickness and balance, and is integral to being a successful Gladiator contestant. Agility exercises often involve plenty of lateral movement, and your trainer may set up a course with cones or squares that will help you focus on maintaining balance and momentum while changing directions. Yoga and Tai Chi classes can also help promote better agility. A vicious hit from a joust stick might still put you in the water, but by learning how to create a low center of gravity and a stable base, you might stick around for a while.

Endurance

This is where all your other training practices come together. The big endurance test on American Gladiators is, of course, "The Eliminator," where contestants have to run, climb, swim, and dive their way to the finish line. Endurance training involves everything from the cardiovascular system to the respiratory system, as well as consistent muscle stimulation. By starting with simpler weight training and aerobic workouts and gradually expanding the length and intensity of each, your endurance will naturally improve. Your health club or personal trainer can help make sure you're moving at a safe, steady pace along the way. The key in endurance is to pace yourself and keep enough in the tank for the home stretch.

Needless to say, most of us will never get to flex our muscle in the Gladiator Arena. Still, by challenging ourselves to get in shape for such an event, we might find some level of personal glory, just the same.

 

Thanks For Reading

Thank you for reading this edition of the SignatureForum Health & Fitness Newsletter. Next month, we’ll be back with more tips and insight on looking and feeling your best. Meanwhile, be sure to check out SignatureForum’s network portal, www.SignatureHealthClubs.com for more health and fitness information, or to locate a health club or personal trainer near you!


Until Next Time,
The SignatureForum Staff



 

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