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News Guardian, Thursday, April 21, 2011

It can’t promise Spider-Man-like strength or intuition, but ‘Spidercise’ can help you get in shape The only web she knows her way around is the internet, but that didn’t stop TEGAN CHAPMAN learning a thing or two from a real-life Spider WHILE the name ‘Spidercise’ might suggest it would provide you with superstrength, the ability to cling upside down to any surface and a nose for impending danger – also known as spider-sense – sadly that is not so. But while it does not offer Spider-Man-like abilities, it does offer a radical exercise programme promising to help improve your energy, strength and fitness in a matter of weeks. ‘Spidercise’ was developed and pioneered by Paul ‘Spider’ Chan and is based on what he calls a web of six movements, which consist of varying forms of a leg stance, squat, push, pull, bend-to-extend and rotation. Paul, of Newcastle, said: “I inherited the name Spider when I was a kid because I simply loved Spider-Man and the way he moved and looked. “I used to always go on about the way he flows and how smooth he was.

Holding out for the physique of a superhero Paul Chan’s love of Spider-Man, below, as a child earned him the nickname of Spider. “I researched lots of weird and wonderful body-weight moves. “My inspiration began with a fictional comic book hero and went on to real life examples of dance, martial arts, yoga and various forms of grappling techniques, and ‘Spidercise’ was born. “Over the past few years of proven research, I decided to combine what I call the six essential move-

ment components into my original body-weight programme to fully develop ‘Spidercise’.” Keen to put Paul’s claims to the test, I took part in a 21-day challenge to help me improve my fitness and get in shape. For anyone, like me, who comes out in a rash at the mere mention of the work exercise, the thought of devoting just 21 days to

achieving a sylph-like figure seemed almost too good to be true, but once the workout started I could see why it was going to work. I was exhausted. For three weeks, I would attend the thrice-weekly torture sessions, which I quickly learned to enjoy – yes, really – trying short bursts of intense workouts. At my first session, I got straight into push squats with a medicine ball – something I had previously never heard of but turns out to be a weighed sort of basketball – kettlebell swings and tyrepulling. On that first day, I was exhausted by the end of it, unable to squat very far and completely unable to hold the plank position. In just four sessions, I was able to do the plank and the cobra and downward dogstyle poses that had previously eluded me. I already felt better and was able to see how ‘spidercise’ was having a positive effect on improving my cardiovascular fitness. By the end of the 21 days, I had mastered more than I thought I was ever capable of, I had dramatically improved my fitness levels and, perhaps best of all, I’d found a form of exercise I actually enjoyed doing. ‘Spidercise’ classes take place daily at Wallsend Golf Club. Visit for more details

Tegan Chapman tries a ‘Spidercise’ rope trick to get in shape.

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