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In pictures: Maidenhead United's Magpies in the Community scheme launches 'soccercise' initiative for women

When the Advertiser was invited to send a female reporter to try out a new exercise class I was intrigued.

Run by Maidenhead United’s Magpies in the Community, I was eager to see exactly what the mysterious ‘soccercise’ initiative entailed and I wasn’t disappointed.

Soccercise, it turns out, is a football-themed workout class for women devised by the Football Association (FA).

The free class for women and girls over 14 was made possible thanks to a grant to The Maidenhead United FC Community Trust.

Provided by the National League Trust’s Women and Girls Programme, which is funded by the Wembley National League Trust, the grant also enables the Magpies to run a football club for girls.

Helen Park, community development officer for Maidenhead United said: “There’s always a big focus on men and boys in football and so it’s nice to raise the profile for women and girls as well.”

Both soccercise and the girls club take place at Altwood School on Wednesday afternoons. The club is for girls in years 7-9 who attend the school.

Helen said: “People think ‘soccercise, I can’t play football, I can’t do it’ but you don’t need to play football at all.”

I can vouch that there are no dribbling, tackling or scoring skills required as the footballs are used as weighted objects to carry out repetitions of exercises, not playing matches.

The class is delivered to music inside the school’s gym and combines cardio exercises and those that work the upper body and core strength.

Repetitions with the footballs include squats, lunges, sit-ups, Russian twists and toe taps which were all done through a variety of individual, group, partner work and circuits.

Not sure what a Russian twist is? Don’t let that put you off.

George Marsh, a coach at Maidenhead United, and Helen demonstrated each exercise and also gave simplified versions of each for anyone just starting out on their fitness journey.

Helen said: “The aim is that everyone at any level could come along and benefit from the class.”

I know that I did. Days after the class on Wednesday, January 30, the previously dormant muscles in my thighs were still burning, despite exercising a few times a week.

My advice is give it a whirl.

As well as being free, George and Helen created a relaxed atmosphere, the music was good, the repetitions varied and the whole experience released some endorphins.  The classes are held on Wednesday’s at Altwood school, between 4.30-5.30pm and places can be booked at

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