Jacquie-SharplesJacquie Sharples, co-founder of Carpe Diem Wellbeing and author of If Your Body Could Talk, shares her top tips for keeping up your workout routine in winter.

#1 Go shopping and rug up!

So often we are freezing when we work out in winter because we are not dressed in the right gear. It’s important to invest in some good winter training pieces, and they will last you for years! To be warm and comfortable when training outdoors in winter, you’ll need:

  • A good pair of long leggings; you can’t go past Performax and 2XU compression leggings.
  • A tight long-sleeved under layer to keep you warm but won’t make you overheat. Skins and Under Armour long-sleeve tops are fantastic.
  • A good hoodie (check out Sportsmart’s range of men’s hoodies and women’s hoodies online, plus there’s more in store)
  • A lightweight and waterproof jacket
  • A beanie or headband that covers your ears
  • Gloves

#2 Head indoors

If the cold weather puts you off, bring your workout indoors. Invest in workout equipment for the home – maybe a treadmill, exercise bike or home gym, and you’ll find it easier to maintain your fitness regime through winter. Having equipment at home – even just some dumbbells or a boxing bag – is good encouragement to slot in an extra 10-minute routine here and there, whatever the season.

#3 Workout with friends

This is a great idea in any season, but especially in winter when motivation is low. Booking in a time to workout with a friend is a great way to be accountable to someone else and have more fun.

#4 Do something you enjoy

Mid-winter isn’t the best time to try and do workouts you don’t like; the last thing you need is another reason why the couch is a better choice. Get back to doing the types of workouts that give you maximum enjoyment, stress relief, make you laugh or make you feel fantastic. They are great motivators to keep you moving.

#5 Tell yourself you love it!

Changing your language about working out in winter can help you learn to love it. For example, I often hear people say: “I hate running in the rain. It’s so annoying and you get wet and cold.” Change your mindset and instead say: “Only champions train in the rain.” I’ll never forget seeing a great advertisement with Cathy Freeman running in the rain.  Ever since then I’ve made the connection in my mind between training in the rain and being a champion.


Jeremy ‘Dave’ Davies is the Store Manager at Sportsmart Kilsyth, but he has also been an infantry soldier, boxing instructor, personal trainer and Australian Kettlebell Instructor. Apart from basketball, he competes in Girevoy Sport Weightlifting – the traditional Eastern European/Russian sport of kettlebell lifting. You can visit his website  for more information and training tips. He has taken the time to provide some information and training tips on strength bags.

With Sportsmart’s catalogue special on York kettlebells this month, I thought it would be a great opportunity to introduce this strength training tools fantastic benefits, and some of its pitfalls too…

You’ve all probably seen them, maybe on The Biggest Loser, maybe in the park with a personal trainer nearby. Maybe you’ve even played around with them a little in the gym.

I’ve been using them for over five years now, firstly as a health and fitness enthusiast, then as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, and more recently, as a girevik (kettlebell sport participant)

From my experience I can honestly say that there is no better individual health and fitness tool that can do as much for you in as little time as the kettlebell. You can develop lean functional strength, tone your posterior chain (lower back, butt, thighs) and core, develop power (maximum strength in minimum time), strip fat, increase cardio fitness and better your posture, amongst many other benefits.

But you have to do it right.

So, what’s right?

Firstly: back posture. My clients would get sick of hearing me bang on about it, but this is crucial. For the same reasons that kettlebells are so good, if done with poor posture, they can be very bad.

The York kettlebell comes with a very good instructional poster detailing a whole range of fantastic exercises, but don’t go straight to a single arm snatch or swing or Turkish get up. Instead, start with a basic deadlift.

Plce the kettlebell between your heels. Before you even start lowering yourself down to pick up the kettlebell, tilt your pelvis top forward, bottom back. The more flexible your hips are the better, and this is where women often have an advantage over men starting out.

Now, push your butt back before you start bending at the knees.

Keep that pelvic tilt! And keep your eyes up at horizon level: you don’t need to look down. That kettlebell is going nowhere without you. Maintain a good neutral spine alignment as you push back, like the old ‘sit up straight’ position, then start bending at the knees. Keep those eyes up!

And pick up the kettlebell with two hands.

Stand up straight, roll your shoulders back gently at the top, and repeat, letting the kettlebell gently kiss the ground between your heels without bearing any weight.

Getting this movement right is critical to safe kettlebell lifting in the future, particularly with the most beneficial compound ballistic lifts, such as the swing, the clean, the snatch and the high pull.

Make it a part of a circuit with other more traditional activities that you are comfortable with, such as skipping or dumbbell/barbell lifts, or burpees etc, before you go further with the kettlebell.

Once it feels comfortable, add an upright row movement to the deadlift. As you stand up, row the kettlebell upward until your forearms are parallel to the ground. But don’t just hold the kettlebell up there like you would if you were doing upright rows with a barbell or dumbells, drop immediately with the weight of the kettlebell.

It shouldn’t be an isolative shoulder exercise. The weight of the kettlebell should be primarily shifted by the motion of you standing up straight from the bottom of the deadlift position.

Any further questions regarding kettlebell training, why not drop in for a chat with me at Sportsmart Kilsyth!


Jeremy ‘Dave’ Davies is the Store Manager at Sportsmart Kilsyth, but he has also been an infantry soldier, boxing instructor, personal trainer and Australian Kettlebell Instructor. Apart from basketball, he competes in Girevoy Sport Weightlifting – the traditional Eastern European/Russian sport of kettlebell lifting. He has taken the time to provide some information and training tips on strength bags.

If you’re looking around for something a bit different to really get your heart pounding and muscles working, the Bodyfirst Strength Bag is worth a look.

What you get is a well-secured rolled up tube of sand with handles in a range of weights, from 5kg up to 35kg.

It’s simple, but effective. New-school technology and adaptation, with additional handles and strong PVC casing meets old-school hard yakka.

The weight is unstable; forcing your core to adapt to it while in motion, but the bag is soft so you can’t knock yourself out.

With kettle bell-style lifts, like the snatch and the high-pull and the swing, you can really work on power (maximum strength over minimum time) while smashing calories.

With more static lifts, such as a press or squat, you can build lean strength and tone, just like with dumbbells or barbells.

Adding the resistance of the bag to abdominal lifts will increase the burn on your core, as with medicine ball Russian Twists.

You can throw it on a shoulder and run, fall down on it and push up: all that kind of crazy, old-school sandbag-style training.

It’s great for outdoor circuit work, in a backyard or your favourite park. Depending on your starting strength, if you pick up a ten or a twenty kilo bag from Sportsmart, you can try this on for size:

At 30s on and 15s rest.

  • Snatches
  • Front Squats
  • Fence Hops
  • Overhead presses
  • Weighted sit-ups
  • High-pulls
  • Pushups
  • Leg Raises

Ben and Jody, two super-fit retail assistants at Sportsmart Kilsyth, went through this quick 4 minute + rests workout and loved it. ‘You could really smash yourself with this,’ Ben said, through deep breaths.

As your cardio fitness and strength improve, you can increase the amount of time on, or upgrade to a heavier bag!

If you have the dosh, two bags can give you even greater flexibility: either two of the same weight for double armed exercises, or a heavier and a lighter weight for different levels of resistance.

As always, it’s best to consult a medical professional before embarking on a new workout regime. And if you’ve got any questions, or want some more advice on exercising with Strength Bags, drop into Sportsmart Kilsyth for a chat.

…and enjoy the pain!


Personal trainer, Tavia Ambler

Tennis players must have a strong upper body (biceps, triceps, shoulders and upper back) in order to produce a strong and powerful serve, make a successful return, and produce winning shots.

During a rally, tennis players are constantly on the run, and have continuous sharp changes of movements and direction. If the upper body is strong and capable, players will have a better chance of making that difficult shot with accuracy and precision.

One of the main forms of strength is muscular endurance, which affects the player’s ability to exert strength over and over again. Without this, tennis players will be slower at reacting to a certain situation, and have reduced power for their shots and serves.

Workout: upper body circuit

Warm up

Run or use a cardio machine for 5-10 minutes.


(The main aim is to use lower weights with higher repetitions – about 15-20 – depending on your strength)

  • Tricep dips
  • Push-ups
  • Dumbbell fly
  • Dumbbell bicep curl
  • Dumbbell upright row
  • Dumbbell front raise
  • Boxing is a great form of cardio while also toning and working arms, shoulders and upper back. Incorporating this with the above circuit is a great workout.
  • Kettle bells are fantastic as they can be used for the entire body, work multiple muscles at once and concentrate on the core in every exercise (check out for exercises).

Cool down

Finish with a cool down and stretch.


Personal trainer, Tavia Ambler

Soccer requires precise passing skills. If everyone in the team masters this skill, benefits include:

  • Ability to ‘control’ the game, with a higher percentage of possession time with the ball thus increased chances of setting up vital plays and goals.
  • Ability to fatigue opponents by making them chase the ball.

Components that must come together to execute a good pass include: technique, positioning, movement, pace and accuracy. Along with the physical side of skills and play, players need to communicate and be aware of their team members.

Passing/ball drills

Jogging while dribbling the ball

Begin by jogging around the oval while touching the ball in front. Progress to setting the ball up for a variety of passes. For example, touch the ball with the outside of the foot, then move into position to make a pass with the inside of the same foot. Be sure to use the right foot and left foot equally.

3-man weave

In a group of three, begin in a straight line with one ball between you. While jogging, the middle player kicks the ball to the person to their left, then runs behind them. That player then ends up in the middle and, after receiving the pass, kicks to the player on the right then runs behind them. Repeat this process until you have reached the end of the ground.

Dribbling around a set of cones

Along the oval, set up a group of cones one to two metres apart. Dribble the ball around the cones, keeping control to ensure it doesn’t hit any of the cones.

Kick to kick (short and long passing)

Find a partner and stand short distance from each other. Start by kicking the ball back and forth, maintaining control. Add in a few variations: use both feet then eventually change the distance and angles, and run between each other.

Ball pass and goal combination

With a group of players, stand in a line about 25 metres from the goals. Have a player/coach kick the ball out in front of the line so that the front player has to run on to the soccer ball and then set up and kick a goal. Repeat so that each player has about five turns.


Personal trainer, Tavia Ambler

Core strength is vital in AFL. Between 60% and 70% of power can be generated through the trunk; the energy for moving arms and legs comes from the core.

Benefits of a strong core:
• Improves performance, as it translates to improved speed, balance, agility and overall strength.
• Athletes can hold their ground while going for a mark, tackling, kicking a goal or just completing an accurate kick as well as during general running, sprinting and short, sharp movements.
• Can reduce injury risk, decrease the strain on limbs, and provide correct technique and stronger overall stability (eg. reduce twisting, rolled ankles, hyperextension of knees, jarring and back injuries).

Core exercises

Prone bridge
Forearms and toes on the ground, ensuring entire body is flat and resembles a plank. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Lateral bridge
Similar to prone bridge but on your side. Ensure entire body is in line. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute each side.
Pelvic thrust
Lying on your back with your legs up in the air. Lift through hips so that your bottom raises slightly off the ground, causing the legs to lift up higher. Repeat 20 times.
Angle your back at 45 degrees and lift your feet off the ground. Pointing forward, move both hands from side to side while keeping your core strong. Repeat 30 times.
Crunch and twist
Start in basic sit-up position, crunch up and twist to the left, back to the centre and then back down. Alternate between both sides. Repeat 20 times.
Toe crunches
Lie on back with legs straight up in the air. Reach up so that your hands are touching your toes and back down. Repeat 20 times.
Ab cycle
Lift shoulders and feet off the ground. In a cycle movement bring one knee in, while the opposite shoulder twists towards it, so that the rhythm becomes opposite knee to elbow. Repeat 30 times.
Ankle touches
Lie flat on your back with feet together. Lift shoulders off the ground and twist so that your hands are coming around the side of the body trying to touch your ankles.

Do these exercises at the end of your AFL training session, because doing it at the start can fatigue your core and increase injury risk. Always remember to keep your stomach strong by pulling your bellybutton in towards your spine and keeping your hips in neutral position. This helps to keep you muscles contracted, thus supporting your body and working the abdominal muscles at all times. This is a fantastic way of strengthening your entire core.


Personal trainer, Tavia Ambler

Sand running is a great workout for the cardiovascular system. It also aids in the development of balance and strong core muscles.

Sand is uneven, so it is important to concentrate on the stability of ankles, knees, hips and the lower back. This is achieved by contracting your abs, which supports the lower back and strengthens the core. Sand running also puts more pressure on the calf muscles (sore muscles after a session is normal).

Athletes should not just do sand running alone, but incorporate it into their fitness regime once or twice a week. The below workout incorporates sand running with resistance training (which can also be done on the sand/beach), making a great routine for both running fitness and general body fitness.


  1. Set up a shuttle run course by placing 4 cones 20 metres apart in a straight line.
  2. Warm up by jogging to the first cone and back, second cone and back, and third cone and back.
  3. Increase speed so that you sprint on the way to the cone and jog back. When the body is warmed up, increase the speed and sprint the whole way (to and from each cone).
  4. Set up a circuit on the sand, or otherwise on a nearby path. Complete 1 minute on each station: push-ups, squats, dips, lunges, step-ups and crunches.
  5. Back to the shuttle run: repeat steps 2 and 3.
  6. Back to the circuit: repeat step 4.
  7. Cool down with a walk, followed by a 10-15 minute stretch.


Personal trainer, Tavia Ambler

Performing a sufficient warm up in netball is incredibly important as it helps to ensure the player’s body is ‘game ready’, reducing injury risk during the game. It also helps netball players to become focused both individually and as a team.

Warm up

  • Shuttle run. Use the ‘third’ lines on the court as markers to set up a shuttle run. Jog to the first line and back. Complete this twice. Repeat the shuttle run again but sprint to the first line and jog back. Finally, repeat sprinting the whole way.
  • Shuttle run with a twist. Still using the shuttle run set up, this time doing side-step, bottom kicks and high-knees and finally finishing with fast jogging on the spot followed by max sprint to the end and back.
  • Quick stretch (5-10 minutes).
  • Passing drills. In pairs, complete 25 shoulder passes each (using both right and left arm), 25 over-head passes, 25 chest passes, 25 bounce passes (right and left) and 15 lobs.
  • Four corners. Distribute players into each corner of the middle third. Start with one ball and, as a player leads out, pass the ball. Once this gets easier add another ball, and possibly even three balls.
  • Circle work. This is a great one to finish with as it gets the whole team involved and gives each player a chance to get them prepared for their position. Have the shooters and defenders in the goal circle, with C, WA and WD around the outside. The Wings and Centre need to pass the ball around and then on to the shooters (while the defenders have to try to intercept it). When the shooters get the ball they need to try to shoot a goal. Continue for only 5-10 minutes as you don’t want the players to get too tired before the game.

Pre-season football training: Get the edge by creating extra speed with your running

Exercise physiologist & adventure tour guide, Marc Stafford

Most local football clubs started some form of pre-season training prior to Christmas. For those teams that want an edge on the competition, training prior to Christmas is based on building what fitness professionals call ‘the cardiovascular base’.

Working on your cardiovascular base helps to give you a minimum base fitness which allows you to focus on more advanced training – mainly anaerobic – including speed and agility. If players leave their training too late – for example, starting when practice matches start – they can miss out on building their cardiovascular base and are more susceptible to injury.

So you have completed training with your team prior to Christmas, where to now? If you are really keen to get the ‘edge’ and improve your fitness for this season, try the following running sessions. You will dramatically improve your running speed, recovery time and anaerobic threshold.

Requirement: 2-3 running sessions a week

Session 1

45 minutes: Run (30 mins) / Warm-up and cool-down (15 mins)

5 mins light jog and stretching
1km moderate run / 1km 80% fast run for 30-40 mins
10 mins walking and stretches

Session 2

45 minutes (mid-fielders): Run (30 mins) / Warm-up and cool-down (15 mins) 
35 minutes (backs/forwards): Run (20 mins) / Warm-up and cool-down (15 mins)  

5 mins light jog and stretching
Mid-fielders: 30-second 80% fast run / Recovery jog for 30-40 mins
Backs/forwards: 20-second sprint / Slow recovery jog for 20-30 mins
10 mins walking and stretches


In the game of tennis it is incredibly important to have a strong and powerful serve. If you look at the top ranking players you will note that they all have a dominant serve. It is a great way to achieve easy points and help conserve energy, rather than playing out a long rally.

There are several elements to achieving a powerful serve, but the most important is technique. It is important to have a coach who can help evaluate your serve and give you some helpful pointers to correct that technique while also using what you have naturally developed. Make sure that you are able to use the repetitive motion of your serve without it causing any discomfort or potential injuries.

Along with the help of a coach or parent (someone who has an understanding of the game) the best way to develop and improve your serve, especially once your technique has been mastered, is to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Below is a great drill for serving.

Serving to cones drill

Set up six tennis ball cans as targets. Place three cans in each service box. One should be placed at the corner of the service line and the middle line on the deuce side. Another should be placed in the middle of the box, and the other should be placed where the sideline meets the service line. The targets should be located in the same spots on the ad court as well.

Now take a basket of balls and practice serving at these targets. Serve approximately 15 balls at each target. If you want to work on your wide serve, you can move the cans to where the service line meets the sideline. Move the cans about 18 inches towards the net. Serving at these targets will help to then give you something to aim at when you are playing a match.

Repetition is outstanding practice for serving, as it helps develop muscle memory and therefore improves stroke accuracy and pace.

Personal trainer, Tavia Ambler