Duncan devises digital refit keep-fit to power through lockdown

Crew of Portsmouth destroyer HMS Duncan have turned to virtual keep-fit sessions to maintain morale and health through the third lockdown.

Normally the destroyer’s physical training instructor Mathew James starts the day with a flight deck workout sessions for his shipmates – not only to keep them fighting fit but also to build up team spirit.

But the ship is currently undergoing maintenance in her home base of Portsmouth with just a small duty watch onboard looking after her while, due to the latest lockdown, many of the 200-strong ship’s company are working from home.

To keep them on their toes, maintain morale and fight off any festive flab, Leading Physical Trainer James is running ‘Virtual Wake-up with Clubz’, linking with shipmates via Zoom.

Squats, lunges, goblets and minute workouts are all led by the leading hand with shipmates (and sometimes their families, plus students from the destroyer’s affiliated Royal Navy university unit in Manchester) joining in the sessions.

These virtual circuits have been great to keep the ship’s company fit but also keep in touch with one another. It’s great to see how well the circuits have been received, the support and camaraderie has been amazing.

LPT Mathew James, HMS Duncan

“These virtual circuits have been great to keep the ship’s company fit but also keep in touch with one another. We have been utilising body-weight movements, which allows you to take part anywhere,” said Mathew.

“It’s great to see how well the circuits have been received, the support and camaraderie has been amazing!”

Lieutenant Commander Michael Proudman, the Type 45’s Executive Officer is delighted with the response.

“During the early part of the latest lockdown, it was tough on the Ship’s Company. We were trying to regenerate a ship’s company ethos and build a team and had a lot of people working from home or in a watch system.

“Because ‘phys’ is such a big part of peoples’ lives, and most of the physical facilities were closed, we decided to try this out as a virtual session. It works remarkably well, and take-up has been great.”

Naval personnel wishing to join in Duncan’s workouts should email LPT James or Lt Cdr Proudman on MODNET for login details.