Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Ralph's encyclopaedic knowledge of anatomy, skeletal and muscle structure - Rob Dodwell

314159. That is my new gym membership number. I cannot believe I have just said that, but there it is! 314159.

Ralph Hillier, who teaches the Monday exercise class at Springfield Parish Hall in Chelmer Village, talked me into this crazy enterprise! As you have probably guessed, I was somewhat sceptical at first.

Anyway, I admit it… I am weak and I caved! I tried it. I went for the induction. Ralph, also a personal trainer (www.rh-pt.co.uk) and gym instructor at the Brentwood Centre (is there no end to this man’s talents?) introduced me to the equipment, how to use it, what pieces of equipment I should be concentrating on to strengthen the muscles that I have up till now been neglecting, what I would be exercising, the best way to get the most out of each exercise (10 reps, 3 sets, alternating top half and bottom half) what I could expect from doing that particular exercise if I used the machinery correctly (and therefore, by a simple process of extrapolation, what muscles I could wreck by using it incorrectly).

With Ralph’s inimitable pragmatism, his understanding of how and why the body does what it does, its weaknesses and strengths and an individual’s specific limitations (not to mention his encyclopaedic knowledge of anatomy, skeletal and muscle structure and generally anything to do with anything), he adapted and fine-tuned the more ‘conventional’ routine to make the most of my restricted abilities (a fact evident to anyone who has attended his Monday exercise classes in recent months)...

Rob Dodwell