Our Falmer Sports Complex fitness rooms are now open so you can get back to training, but it’s important to do it safely. Check out these top tips from our Duty Manager Ben Ospalak.

Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash

Exciting times, nervous times, strange times. But, nonetheless, the time has come and we are getting back into the gym - and back to fitness.

This might sound obvious, but you will likely be slightly slower and not as strong as you were in your pre-pandemic days. …


Laila Rumbold-Kazzuz, MA English Literature student at the University of Sussex, tells us how yoga has helped her through lockdown. Laila also works in the University Library, has a blog and runs Brighton’s popular pop-up cinema - White Wall Cinema.

Cherry blossom coming into bloom, snapped by Laila on one of her lockdown walks around Brighton.

In the summer lockdown last year, like many people I became incredibly active and outdoorsy, necessitated by the shock of being forced to stay inside for months. The sunshine was wonderful that summer and a welcome reprieve from what was already a difficult few initial months of the pandemic.

I had bought a bicycle second hand a couple of years…


Each week we’ll be asking members of our community what they’re doing to make lockdown life that little bit easier, and how they are looking after their physical and mental health.

Seven Sisters — Eastbourne. Photo by Joseph Pearson on Unsplash

Lockdown seems even tougher this time around for many of us, and with recent research by UCL reporting that fewer people are engaging with exercise and creative hobbies during the current lockdown compared to the first, we want to know what things are helping get you through.

We’ll be sharing some of our team’s experiences too.

We’d love to know what you’re doing to look after yourself. It doesn’t…


Active US Volleyball Activator and BSMS student Francisca Darko will be leading our Development Volleyball sessions in the autumn term, aimed at students who are new to the sport or want to improve their game.

Fran going for the ball at an Active US social volleyball session at the campus Sport Centre.

I hadn’t heard of volleyball until year 10 of secondary school. A couple of girls in my class played for the local Willesden Volleyball Club’s youth team and they led a session for our PE class.

It was really fun and I aspired to be as good them.


Terry Cooper, our Deputy Head of Operations, Fitness and Performance, has the low-down on maximising your gym sessions.

We’re reopening our gyms this week and because of our new Covid safety measures, our bookable fitness sessions are now one hour long. This means that being effective with your time is key.

For many, the way you workout might not change. But some of you may need need to consider some changes to maximise these new time-constrained sessions. If you are one of those that needs to adapt or shorten your workout, here are some ideas that cover all bases.

10 / 30 / 20

Divide your workout into 3 sections and allow 10 minutes for preparation (Warm Up) and then 30/20 minutes for…


Photo by Sam Owoyemi — Unsplash

Check out our video tutorials created by the Sussexsport fitness team for tips on how to keep your workouts going at home. Here’s our Duty Manager John with 3 dynamic exercises to work your upper body! If you have dumbbells you can use these to do the exercises at home, or try improvising with tins or cartons!

Perform the three exercises as a mini circuit, one after the other, with minimal rest in between exercises, and 30–60 seconds rest in between sets. Aim for 10–20 reps of each exercise, and start with three sets.

To increase the overall challenge, try…


Sussexsport Sport Scholar and Life Sciences student Katrin-Maria Zhivkova (Kat) is a sabre fencer. She won a bronze medal at the national British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) competition in February this year.

Katrin-Maria Zhivkova (end right), with her bronze medal for sabre fencing at the BUCS Nationals Competition in February 2020.

I am a sabre fencer. My highlight of the year was winning bronze at the national BUCS competition in February, where student athletes from universities across the whole of the UK competed in a range of sports. My other achievements include titles in Bulgarian national competitions, reaching twenty-sixth place in the Cadet World Championships, and claiming seventh place with the Bulgarian team in the Junior World Championships.


Ella Lucas is a second year Psychology student and Sussexsport Sport Scholar. She has achieved regional and national placings in competitive horse riding.

My sport is horse riding, specifically ‘eventing’, where a single horse and rider combine and compete across the three disciplines of dressage, cross-country, and show jumping. I’ve achieved numerous regional and national placings, riding both individually and as part of a team, representing the Horsham District Riding Club.

The University’s Sports Scholarship Scheme has helped me immensely with balancing my commitment to sport alongside my studies. My mentors have helped me develop a personalised training plan using…


US Girls Can Leader and English undergraduate Freya Sumner, 21, is training to be a fitness instructor alongside her studies.

Freya Sumner in Sussexsport’s Strength and Conditioning room

I started going to my local gym when I was 16 because it was the done thing to do after school. Girls would go in their little group and chat on the treadmills, while the guys would go to the small studio room and lift dumbbells. I grew up in quite a small town and this was pretty much the norm for people my age.

But there was something appealing to me about lifting heavy dumbbells. The technique it involved…


Why do we do strength training?

We mainly do it to avoid injury, to make muscles, tendons, and ligaments stronger, and - most importantly - to improve performance. This should always be the outcome of strength training for your sport; does it make your sport performance improve?

Stronger muscles are better shook absorbers and strength training also increases your bone density. A combination of upper and lower body exercises will enable the upper body to support forces and provide power, whilst the key lower body muscles provide stability, help absorb forces and drive endurance and power.

Starting out.

When you first start strength training, a good way to…

sussexsport@sussex.ac.uk

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