Born Barikor, a former high jumper from London who launched the free fitness initiative known as “Our Parks,” created this Wimbledon- inspired CrossFit workout that athletes of all abilities can try and, better still, there’s no racket required.
Barikor is a respected Tough Mudder trainer as well as a Lucozade Sport coach. He also serves on several athletics boards, including the British Olympic Foundation. Admittedly, it’s all a far cry from his younger days when Barikor couldn’t even afford his own gym membership, so now he’s paying it forward and believes that everyone should have access to sports participation and physical exercise.
Inspired and excited about the interest surrounding Wimbledon 2021, Barikor offers M&F this fresh outdoor workout that anyone can try as well as his thoughts on this year’s Wimbledon.
What do you admire about the athleticism of tennis players?
The endurance and explosive motions that tennis players display. Matches can last up to four hours, so this truly shows that these athletes are amongst the fittest in the world. From short sprints and explosive serves to long-lasting rallies, tennis players push their bodies to the brink, not to mention the frequency of the tennis calendar. What they put their bodies through is truly a testament to peak athleticism.
How important is it for all people 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 needed, we can cater exercise to everyone from all walks of life to ensure that nobody is left behind. We all deserve the knowledge of how to give our bodies the right exercises to live a healthy, balanced life.
Your Wimbledon workout features a hand-eye coordination angle — even mental agility. How important are these aspects for tennis players? Can ordinary people benefit from honing these skills for their own lifestyles?
Tennis players will have a variety of trainers that develop their skillsets from strength and conditioning, to mental coaching. They’ll also benefit from training their dexterity, hand-eye coordination and concentration as they go through hours of intense competition. For these players, the slightest edge can be the difference between winning and losing a Grand Slam.
For people in everyday life, these dynamic and alternative exercises can offer a different outlook on workouts to offer a break from tedium, and challenge the body while mixing in some stimulation and fun.
You’re an advocate for getting outdoors and training, so how important is it to inspire people to get off the couch — especially during Wimbledon — to actually test their own mental agility and coordination?
In today’s age we’re blessed with a plethora of athletes across a variety of disciplines. In this month alone we have footballers, Formula 1 drivers, cyclists, cricketers, golfers and more displaying their skillsets, not to mention the Olympics just around the corner. By watching these athletes who are in the top 1%, we can take note of their stories and know that we’re all capable of our own greatness — but it’s in our hands to make a change.
Wimbledon is synonymous with summer, grass, and outdoors. So, by equipping everyone with the knowledge on how to get out to enjoy their fitness, in keeping with the spirit of the world’s biggest tennis tournament, we can all enjoy our summer that little bit more.
So, who are your top picks for Wimbledon this year?
Given his current form, it’s extremely hard to go against Novak Djokovic. The modern era has produced legends that will go down in history, but the form and determination that Novak has hit on is undeniable. It’s a real shame Naomi Osaka won’t be at Wimbledon this year, but I look forward to seeing her perform in Tokyo at the Olympics later this year. Serena Williams is always a joy to watch, but after Coco Gauff’s thrilling match against her sister Venus Williams in 2019, I’ll be following her tournament closely.
But if I’m going to show my support for anyone, how can I pick someone other than (the U.K.’s) Andy Murray? The man embodies that can-do attitude, that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. In the face of some potentially career-ending injuries, he’s bounced back to play top-flight tennis once again.
Basic Warmup: Perform 30 seconds of each exercise. Do for 2 rounds.
- Jumping jacks
- High knees
- Trunk twist
- Alternating leg and arm swings
Perform 1 minute of each exercise for 5 rounds:
1. Jump lunge, Jump lunge and squat with wall ball throws
- Perform a forward lunge (one on each leg) and then squat.
- While in the squat position using a tennis ball, throw the ball directly at the wall, using one hand and catch with the same hand.
- Do not allow the ball to bounce.
- Alternate hands (throw and catch with right hand the left hand).
2. Two-person ball-catch drill
- Using a tennis ball, one person will hold the ball in front of them.
- This person then throws the ball in any direction (left, right or forward).
- The other person must stand about 5 feet away and run toward the ball and catch it before it hits the ground.
3. Reaction square
- Place four markers in a square shape, about 10 feet apart.
- Label each marker: 3, 6, 9, and 12.
- Partner calls out a math equation that results in the number of the marker (for example, 3 x 3 = ?), you then sprint and touch the number before returning back to center.
4. Sprinting drill
- Set a timer for 5 seconds work and 15 seconds rest and see how far you can sprint at max effort.
- Turn your timer sound on and aim to react on the beep of the timer on each 5-second run.. (As you get quicker reacting to the timer, your distance will improve.)
5. Kneel-to-squat ball-reaction drill
- In a kneeling position, throw a tennis ball up in the air.
- Explode up onto your feet and catch the ball on one bounce.
Follow Born Barikor on Instagram: @bornbarikor