The Western Mail (UK), June 24, 2003
Get fit with Keanu
by Ceri Gould
Bored of aerobics? Try the Matrix Reloaded workout - it's the hottest new gym trend ... and you don't even need a black mac...
THE Matrix Reloaded is a smash at the Box Office but it's also becoming a bit of a fad at the gym.
Fitness chiefs reckon that Keanu's gravity-defying moves can be tweaked to give you the perfect all-over workout.
We asked Fitness First experts to devise a routine so that we can get the reloaded body at home - but we're afraid getting a Keanu for the home is out of the question ...
To run like Keanu you need stamina. To add a cardiovascular element to your workout, experts at Fitness First Cardiff West suggest the following exercise: run on the spot for 10 seconds, then jump in the air, and land in the lunge position (with one leg in front, with the knee bent at up to 90 degrees, and the other leg out behind to stabilise you). Jump back to run on the spot, and continue until you can't go on.
For dodging bullets by bending over backwards, you need ... strong abs
Remember the amazing scene (in the original) where Neo (Keanu Reeves's character) fell back in slow motion to avoid the bullets? It has inspired this exercise. Obviously, you won't be able to do it quite like Keanu without a special-effects machine.
Lie on an exercise ball, so that the ball is supporting your lower back. Keep your knees at a 90-degree angle, your feet flat on the floor, and keep your head in line with the rest of your spine, as above. Raise your arms, take a ball from your training partner, and lie back, taking the ball over your head. Draw your abs in, exhale and, with straight arms, crunch forward, raising your shoulders off the supporting ball to give the smaller ball you are holding back to your partner.
To punch your way out of a tighter corner you need ... to practise jabs and crosses.
This is an age-old fighting skill, but one still applicable when facing futuristic monsters. Speed is what's important here.
Holding small weights, take up the Standard Boxing Stance, with hands raised in the "guard" position. Put one foot forward and one back (if right-handed, start with the right foot forward) with your weight distributed evenly between your feet. Jab straight forward with your leading hand, then, swivelling your body so that your back heel comes off the floor, throw a "cross" punch with the other hand.
To tackle the bad guys with high kicks, you need ... strength in all your thigh muscles.
Balance and control is the basis of all martial-arts kicking. This will help you with both.
Stand with your feet directly beneath your hips, and your hands raised in the "guard" position, as left.
Raise your right knee in front of you, then swivel it out to the side and kick out at hip height. Bring your knee back to the centre, then lower your foot. Repeat to the other side.
To jump across rooftops, you need ... power in your thigh muscles.
Your quads and hamstrings are where the explosive power in your legs comes from.
Stand with your feet more than hip width apart, with a football in front of you. Sit backwards into a squat, keeping your knees over your heels. Don't lean forward. Pick up the ball and then, pushing through your heels, jump up from the squat position, as above. Sink back into a squat, put down the ball, and jump, this time raising your arms above your head.
To develop the core strength you need for side-kicks you must work the outer thigh and bottom muscles.
In the films, the ability to side-kick is key.
Stand with feet more than hip-width apart, sink into a squat as above (either alone or holding your training partner's hands, as above), then come up and kick one leg to the side at waist-level. Repeat, kicking with the other leg.