Born Barikor, a former high jumper from London who started the free fitness initiative Our Parks, created this Wimbledon-inspired CrossFit workout that athletes of all skill levels can try, and better still, no racket is required .
Barikor is a well-respected Tough Mudder trainer as well as a trainer for Lucozade Sport. He also serves on several athletics committees, including the British Olympic Foundation. Granted, this is all a long way from his youth when Barikor couldn’t even afford his own gym membership, so he keeps paying it now and believes everyone should have access to exercise and physical activity.
Inspired and enthusiastic about the interest in Wimbledon 2021, Barikor M&F offers this fresh outdoor workout that everyone can try, as well as his thoughts on this year’s Wimbledon.
What do you admire about the athleticism of tennis players?
The stamina and explosive movements that tennis players show. Games can last up to four hours, which really shows that these athletes are some of the fittest in the world. From short sprints and explosive serves to prolonged rallies, tennis players drive their bodies to the edge, not to mention the frequency of the tennis calendar. What they expose their bodies to is really a testament to the highest level of athleticism.
How important is it for everyone to have access to workouts?
Everyone has different goals, motivations, and lifestyles when it comes to incorporating exercise into their lives. But by making workouts accessible with little to no equipment, we can provide exercise to everyone from all walks of life to ensure no one is left behind. We all deserve to know how to give our bodies the right exercises for a healthy, balanced life.
Your Wimbledon workout offers a hand-eye coordination angle – even mental agility. How important are these aspects for tennis players? Can ordinary people benefit from improving these skills for their own lifestyle?
Tennis players will have a variety of coaches who develop their skills from strength and conditioning to mental coaching. You will also benefit from training your dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and concentration while doing hours of intense competition. For these players, the slightest advantage can mean the difference between winning and losing a Grand Slam.
For everyday people, these dynamic and alternative exercises can offer a different perspective on training to take a break from boredom and challenge the body while mixing some stimulation and fun at the same time.
You are an advocate of outdoor activities and exercise. So how important is it to inspire people to get up from the couch – especially during Wimbledon – to actually test their own mental agility and coordination?
In this day and age we are blessed with an abundance of athletes from a wide variety of disciplines. This month alone we have footballers, Formula 1 drivers, cyclists, cricketers, golfers and more putting their skills to the test, not to mention the Olympics just around the corner. By observing these athletes who are in the top 1%, we can take note of their stories and know that we are all capable of our own greatness – but it is up to us to change something.
Wimbledon is synonymous with summer, grass and the outdoors. So by equipping everyone with the knowledge how to enjoy their fitness, in the spirit of the largest tennis tournament in the world, we can all enjoy our summer a little more.
So who are your top picks for Wimbledon this year?
Given his current form, it’s extremely difficult to play against Novak Djokovic. The modern age has spawned legends that will go down in history, but the form and determination Novak found is undeniable. It’s a real shame Naomi Osaka won’t be at Wimbledon this year, but I look forward to seeing her at the Tokyo Olympics later this year. Serena Williams is always a pleasure to watch, but after Coco Gauff’s exciting match against her sister Venus Williams in 2019, I will be following her tournament closely.
But if I show my support to someone, how can I choose someone other than (the UK) Andy Murray? The man embodies this do-it-yourself attitude that anything is possible if you focus on it. Faced with some injuries that could end his career, he has recovered to play top-class tennis again.
Wimbledon inspired warmup
Basic warm up: Do 30 seconds of each exercise. Make 2 rounds.
Alternating leg and arm vibrations
Training inspired by Wimbledon
Perform 1 minute of each exercise for 5 rounds:
1. Jump lung, jump lung and squat with wall ball throws
Courtesy Born BarikorDo a forward lunge (one on each leg), then crouch. In the squat with a tennis ball, throw the ball directly against the wall with one hand and catch it with the same hand. Don’t let the ball ricochet. Alternating hands (throwing and catching with the right hand of the left hand).
2. Two-person ball catch drill
Courtesy Born BarikorWith a tennis ball, a person holds the ball in front of him. That person then throws the ball in any direction (left, right, or forward). The other person must stand about five feet away and run towards the ball and catch it before it hits the ground.
3rd reaction square
Courtesy Born BarikorPlace four marks in a square shape about 10 feet apart. Label each marker: 3, 6, 9 and 12. The partner pulls out a math equation that gives the marker number (e.g. 3 x 3 =?), Then sprint and touch the number before going to the Return center.
4. Sprint exercises
Courtesy Born BarikorSet a timer for 5 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest and see how far you can sprint with maximum effort. Turn on your timer sound and try to respond to the beep of the timer on every 5 second run. (As you react faster to the timer, your distance will improve.)
5. Squat ball reaction exercise
Courtesy Born BarikorThrow a tennis ball in the air on your knees. Explode on your feet and snap the ball to catch the ball.
Follow Born Barikor on Instagram: @bornbarikor