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‘Mahi is the fittest’

entertainment Updated: Jan 10, 2011 01:10 IST
Rochelle Pinto
Rochelle Pinto
Hindustan Times
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Who’d you pick as the fittest cricketer among the men in blue? According to physiotherapist John Gloster, who worked with the Indian cricket team until 2008, MS Dhoni, along with compatriots Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and S Sreesanth are the toughest ones to crack.

“To be able to do hundreds of squats a day behind a wicket, and then come out to bat means Dhoni has to be extremely fit. With Sreesanth, put a global positioning system (GPS) on him to track how many kilometres he covers in one day’s play, it would hit around 25 km,” says Gloster.

Having worked with Tendulkar for many years, Gloster defends the man who might not look like he has a six-pack. “At his age, Tendulkar needs to train smart, not hard. He does a lot of running between wickets to keep fit while Sreesanth focuses on endurance running to maintain his stamina.”

At his Mumbai studio, Gloster aims to use his 12-year career in international cricket to benefit the average Joe. He says, “Our core focus is to keep athletes fit without stressing their skeletal system. Most common injuries in sports are related to the back and knees. I’ve seen smarter and more efficient training methods being used in Australia and England, and that’s what I want to apply here.”

Gloster’s initiative is to combine Pilates, a form of exercise which strengthens the core muscles without stressing the joints, with altitude training. In a room where he can adjust the levels of oxygen to match that of certain high altitude locations, Gloster hopes to, literally, bring the mountains to you.

“It’s not a coincidence that the longest living and leanest populations in the world all live in locations based 3,000 metres above sea level,” he says, adding, “At those heights where the oxygen level is low, the body adapts and metabolises fat more efficiently while using minimal oxygen.” Gloster insists that this form of training cuts the expected work out time by half. “If you had to workout intensely for an hour to burn fat, here you can achieve the same result in half an hour because the body is working in tougher conditions.”