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Getting ready to be a fall guy or gal: Fitness tips before you go over the edge

How does one get ready to fall off a building?

The over-the-edge view from atop Hotel Arista
The over-the-edge view from atop Hotel Arista

That’s what we asked Christine Litwicki, the NASM- and ACE-certified trainer, and USOC-certified triathlon coach who serves as the personal trainer at Olympus Executive Fitness Center at CITYGATE in Naperville.

Adjacent to 4-star Hotel Arista, the tallest building in Naperville and host to the upcoming Operation Support Our Troops-America’s Over the Edge fundraiser in September, Olympus is ideally located for those who want to prepare for rappelling down 13 stories.

Christine Litwicki, trainer, Olympus Executive Fitness Centere
Christine Litwicki

Here’s what Litwicki recommends for the up-to 96 rappellers who will scale the hotel come September:

1. Increase your core strength with this three-move core circuit:

High Plank with Arm Reach: Begin in a plank position with your shoulders over your wrists and your body in a straight line. Raise your right arm and hold keeping abs tight. Repeat on the other side. Perform for 10 repetitions.

Side Plank Hold: Lie on your side with your elbow under your shoulder. Tighten your abs and glutes then lift your hips off the floor, your feet and forearms should be holding you up. Keep abs tight and head in proper alignment. Hold for 30 seconds each side

Wood choppers: Squat, and twist left to hold the dumbbell on the outside of your left leg. Exhale, and lift the weight diagonally across your body, ending twisted to the right with the dumbbell above your head. Pivot on your left foot as needed. Focus on the rotation initiating in your torso. Control the weight back up to the starting position to complete one rep. Perform 10 repetitions

2. Improve your sleep quality with a personal digital curfew: Turn off your devices at least 30 to 60 minutes before going to bed.

3. Drink plenty of water: Drink plenty of water throughout your day. Use a general guideline of eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.

4. Increase your wrist and forearm strength with these 2 moves:

Wrist Curls: Sit with a dumbbell in each hand, forearms stabilized on thighs and palms up. Curl weights toward you, isolating movement to the wrists. Lower to the starting position and repeat. Perform 10 repositions.

Reverse Wrist curls: Kneel before a bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Stabilize forearms on the bench with palms facing the floor. Curl the weights up toward you, isolating movement to the wrists. Slowly return to your starting position and repeat. Perform 10 repetitions.

5. Practice relaxation breathing techniques for the day you are rappelling:

Even Breathing: Inhale for four counts through your nose, then exhale for four counts through your mouth. This will calm the nervous system, increase focus, and reduce stress.

To help OSOT supporters get started on these strength-building core, wrist and forearm activities, Olympus is offering a discounted training package for qualifying rappellers. For information on the training offer, and a link to register for or donate to OSOT’s Over the Edge event, visit


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