Cheryl Teo: “I train so I can chase my Olympic dream”
Name: Cheryl Teo
Occupation: Student at Ngee Ann Polytechnic
Personal Trainer: John Cheah
Time with Level: 10 weeks from October 2019
Cheryl is a national sailor and has represented Singapore at the 2018 Asian Games and 2017 SEA Games, where she bagged a Gold medal. Most recently, she has been training to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and has been working hard in the gym to build her strength.
She had been doing the Skill and Handstand classes at Level to develop her mobility and her “pushing” strength. In October 2019, she also started 10 weeks of personal training with John Cheah. She wanted a trainer to watch and correct her form in the gym, as she would often used her back to compensate for her lack of strength, especially when doing exercises that she is weaker in.
To keep her at the top of her game, John developed a 10-week personal training programme that would allow Cheryl to see the results of her hard work in the gym on water. Many of the exercises focussed on strengthening her latissimus dorsi muscles, as she needs to use a variety of pulling movements on the boat.
John introduced rope pull-ups into the programme. Unlike regular pull-ups, these helped her to build a grip that was more relevant to what she needed when sailing.
“I’m glad that I was exposed to rope pull-ups, which I had never attempted before. I found them much more relevant to what I would out at sea, as compared to normal bar pull-ups.”
Her pushup form was also not ideal and John made her use an incline bar at first, moving the height of the bar lower each week till she could do a strict form push-up on the ground.
After noticing that she had a habit of over-using her lower back, John taught her how to hinge and squat again by getting her to keep the tension in her legs instead. These movements are designed to improve her speed and agility when she ducks under the boom of the boat.
2 months into the programme, Cheryl has seen an improvement in her form and gained much knowledge with regards to activating the right muscle groups.
“I feel extremely pleased with my progress. I feel so much more confident and well prepared out in the water knowing that I am getting stronger in the gym.”
Cheryl has also noticed tangible results. On the ropes, she started out only managing a dead hang, but is now close to attaining her goal of 5 strict form rope pull-ups on each arm. Her deadlift also improved from 75kg to 100kg (surpassing the the target that John set for her which was 3 reps of 85kg).
When asked about her experience training at Level, Cheryl says, “I would definitely recommend training at Level to anyone.”
“The trainers at Level are really passionate about what they do and deep down, it’s more than just a job to them. They develop a personal relationship with their clients that really makes one look forward to the gym sessions every week”
“Even the receptionists put on a really warm smile and greet me whenever I walk into the gym.”
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