Muscle Through The Competition

You can't survive the Quarter Quell without the strength and stamina to navigate the Hunger Games' many challenges. Developing upper-body strength like Peeta did and conditioning yourself for one-on-one combat are two of the skills necessary for a tribute to become a victor.

Strength

Develop strength

Peeta was able to muscle his way through the 74th Hunger Games due in part to the strength he had developed while lifting flour bags at his family's bakery. You may not have 50-pound flour bags on hand, but you can make your own sandbag to mimic Peeta's style of strength training. Here's how to do strength training once you've got your sandbag ready.

Perform two sets of 8 to 10 repetitions of each of the following exercises:

  • Sandbag front squat
  • Sandbag shoulder lunge, both sides
  • Sandbag dead lift
  • Sandbag bent-over row
  • Sandbag upright row

Then, to develop the hand and wrist strength necessary to grip, throw and climb, perform three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions of each of the following exercises:

  • Wrist curl, both hands
  • Reverse wrist curl, both hands
  • Wrist rotation, both hands
1

Sandbag front squat

sandbag front squat


  1. Holding a 30- to 60-pound sandbag across your chest with both arms, start the squat with your feet shoulder width apart and your knees slightly bent.
  2. Sit back and bend your knees, as if you were sitting down on a chair, and lower your butt toward the ground. Keep your torso upright and your head facing forward throughout the movement. Also make sure your knees track with your toes but don't extend past them.
  3. When you reach the deepest part of your squat, reverse the movement and return to standing position, being sure to keep your weight centered over your heels and using your heels to help press you back up to standing position.
2

Sandbag shoulder lunge

Sandbag Shoulder Lunge

  1. Place a 30- to 60-pound sandbag over one shoulder. With your feet shoulder width apart, step forward with one leg, planting your heel on the ground about 2 to 3 feet in front of your opposite leg.
  2. Bend both knees, and keeping your torso upright and straight, lower your back knee toward the ground.
  3. When your knee is just shy of touching down, reverse the movement and return to standing position.
3

Sandbag dead lift

Sandbag dead lift

  1. Start with the sandbag grasped in both hands, directly in front of your thighs. Your feet should be hip distance apart and your knees should be slightly bent.
  2. Engage your core, hamstrings and butt, pressing your hips back and tipping your chest toward the ground as you lower the sandbag in front of your legs.
  3. Stop when your chest is parallel to the ground or when you feel a good stretch in the back of your hamstrings. Your back should remain straight throughout this movement.
  4. At the bottom of the exercise, use your hamstrings to powerfully pull yourself back to standing position, keeping your upper body straight.
4

Sandbag bent-over row

Sandbag bent over row

  1. Stand with your feet hip distance apart, your knees slightly bent and the sandbag grasped in both hands directly in front of your thighs.
  2. Engage your core, hamstrings and butt, pressing your hips back and tipping your chest toward the ground. Let your arms hang naturally down from your shoulders.
  3. When your upper body forms a 30- to 45-degree angle, draw your shoulder blades together as you bend your elbows and pull the sandbag directly up to your body.
  4. Reverse the movement and, in a controlled manner, allow your arms to extend.
5

Sandbag upright row

Sandbag upright row

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, your toes angled outward and your knees slightly bent. Hold the sandbag between your legs with your arms extended directly down your body.
  2. In a powerful movement, bend your elbows out to the sides and pull your hands directly up the centerline of your body until your elbows are at shoulder height.
  3. Reverse the movement and, in a controlled manner, lower your arms back to starting position.
6

Wrist curl

wrist curl

  1. Sit on a bench or kneel on the ground while holding a lightweight dumbbell in one hand.
  2. Rest the arm holding the dumbbell along the length of the same-side thigh, with your palm facing up.
  3. Curl your wrist up and then reverse the movement.
7

Reverse wrist curl

Reverse wrist curl

  1. Sit on a bench or kneel on the ground while holding a lightweight dumbbell in one hand.
  2. Rest the arm holding the dumbbell along the length of the same-side thigh, with your palm facing down.
  3. Curl your wrist up, then reverse the movement.
8

Wrist rotation

wrist rotation

  1. Sit on a bench or kneel on the ground while holding a lightweight dumbbell in one hand.
  2. Rest the arm holding the dumbbell along the length of the same-side thigh, with your palm facing up.
  3. Rotate your wrist internally as far as you can, then reverse the movement and rotate your wrist externally as far as you can.
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