Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Boston Mania - Cool New Moves and Wackiness

So yesterday was the overview of the conference, and man was it fun and exhausting at the same time! Today we get down to the nitty gritty, nuts and bolts, the stuff that wowed me, and the stuff that just made me go hmmmm.

1. Partner bent over rows. I've looked for a photo of this, but can't for the life of me find one. So I'll do my best to describe it. Person 1 lies down on the ground, 2 stand over them, one foot on each side (I'd say just about waist or rib-height on 1). 1 crosses their hands over their chest, tightens their core so that they are as stiff as a board. 2 reaches down in a squat, grabs their hands around 1's arms (removing all watches beforehand) and lifts 1 up towards them in a bent over row. Elbows stay in close to 2's sides to activate the back muscles, weight stays balanced over feet (no leaning forward), knees nice and bent to support weight on quads instead of low back. 1 is working all through the core muscles to keep herself straight as she's being picked up.

Note: I wouldn't actually do this in my group ex classes, because while very fun and a great exercise if done properly, there is too much margin for error. If 2 wasn't able to hold 1 and let go, 1 could bump her head on the ground. If 2 squatted improperly and took 1's full body weight on her back, she could injure her back. So, a great exercise for people who know what they're doing, or for personal training, not so much for group fitness.

2. Fireman's carry. One of the other volunteers showed me this one and man was it frightening! Basically, he reached down, put his arm under my right leg, draped me over his shoulders, and picked me up. It's very disconcerting to be hanging over someone's shoulders, more than five feet above the ground, while he's running, and the whole time you're chanting "don't drop me, don't drop me." For obvious reasons, not going to do this in my group fitness class. Probably wouldn't do it with personal training either, unless the trainee was a serious athlete.

3. Jump and catch. Ok, starting with a bosu, stand on the bosu and get comfortable on it. Now, you need a small ball a little larger than your fist, filled with sand (or whatever it is they use to weight them down. I think one broke open and it looked kind of like kitty litter or fertilizer inside). Reach down, touch your knee, then your ankle, then put the ball between your feet and stand up. Now, try jumping up off the bosu a little with the ball between your feet. No worries if it pops out (exercise to go chasing it!). The last level of craziness? Give a nice jump off the bosu, letting go of the ball with your feet so that it flies upward in the air towards your hands. Catch the ball while you're jumping and then land on the bosu. And don't fall off. I tried it once, and I was able to catch the ball, but not stick my landing. I would say this one takes a lot of practice, but hey, you're exercise while you're practicing, right?

4. Tag. Say what what? Tag? You mean, that game I played in recess when I was 9 years old? Yup. A couple different ways to do this one. You can put together a couple of steps and then have one person chase the other back and forth (without reaching across, that's cheating!). This works, but there's a major dizziness factor and possibility of tripping over the bench. Then there's group tag. Take a group of people, split them into two side of the room, spread out in lines facing each other. Choose two ITs, one from each side. They stand in the center. Now when you shout go, everyone runs across the room, and IT tries to tag them. When they get tagged, they have to drop and do pushups, or stay in place for jacks, or something like that. The rest of the people who made it across have to keep running across, avoiding the people in the middle as well as IT, until they're tagged. Game ends when everyone's done. People feel a little silly, but there are a lot of grins going on. I was planning to take it easy and get tagged, but then the adrenaline kicked in and I ran across three or four times until I was out of breath.

5. Sheriff vs. Outlaw. No, this isn't a naughty XXX game, this is another one of those silly cardio games that kick your lungs' ass (do lungs have asses? If they do, then consider them kicked). Minimum 4 people each team. Person 1 is the sheriff, 2 is the outlaw, 3 and 4 are the outlaw's buddies. 2-4 clasp hands (in a circle or triangle). The sheriff has to run around the circle to tag the sheriff (can't reach across the middle), and the outlaw's buddies have to protect him by shifting the circle laterally, always keeping the outlaw out of reach. Once the outlaw is caught (or 30 seconds is up), then 2 becomes the sheriff, 3 the outlaw, etc. Great game for kids too.

6. Cycling into the wind. I'm sure lots of cycling instructors already teach this kind of interval, but it was a new one for me. Since I'm not a road rider, I sometimes forget a bit to give parallels to what's going on on the road, but this is a great one. So imagine you're riding down the coastline. You have kind of heavy resistance on because there's a little bit of a headwind, but it's manageable. You're kicking it to the beat of the music, because hell it's so much easier that way. Then you turn a corner and there's a killer wind blowing in your face. Ok, so we're in the cycling room and there's no real wind, so how do I do that? You turn your gear up, but keep your cadence the same. So all of a sudden it's sooo much harder just like you smacked that wall of wind. But you don't want to slow down (because that's just cheating yourself because it's getting easier, and if you slow down too much with high resistance, you could end up with knee issues).

7. Kick butt jump rope. Or maybe I should say whip butt jump rope. Jump rope is one of the best exercises you can do for cardio. It's got one of the biggest bangs for your buck. And sure, it can be hard to keep it up, and it gets tangled in your feet. But if you've ever jumped rope for 30 or 60 seconds straight (if you're not used to training with it consistently), then you know what I'm talking about. Then you bring in funkier moves and in comes some problems. Like crossing your hands, bringing your elbows together in the center so that you jump through the crossed rope, then open it up again. All well and good, I was psyched when I was able to do this. Then I tried it again and didn't cross my arms all the way to the elbows. And what did I end up with? Major whip burn on my butt from the rope smacking it. Hard. Ouch.

8. Singing presenters. There's this one presenter who does awesome step classes. The first conference I ever went to, two years ago, I was really burned out on step that I really needed to change it up. She was teaching a vertical step class, which I took to heart and never went back. Two years later, I pretty much exclusively teach vertical. She teaches an awesome dancy step class. The odd thing is that during the cool down and stretch, she sings. She has music with just the instrumentals, and she sings along with it. She has a good voice, so it sounds fine. But I was so shocked the first time I heard it, it was all I could do not to bust out laughing. I was used to it by this go round, but it's still bizarre every time I see it.

9. Ball punch. Person 1 holds a big stability ball in their hands. 2 punches the ball (tightening through core), nice fast rhythm. Then both 1 and 2 shuffle to one side, exchange. Then 1 punches ball while 2 is holding it. Shuffle back the other way. Lateral movement is great for cardio, punching is great for shoulders, back, and arms, as well as core (since you're rotating through your core to add power to the punch).

10. Bosu partner cross. Two people share one bosu. Then face perpendicular, standing to the side of the bosu. 1 crosses over the top of the bosu several times. When done, they say "cross." Then 2 crosses over. The person on the floor can't go until they hear "cross." Then you reduce the number of crosses to no more than 4, or 3, or 2. It's good because it keeps you on your toes, you never know when they're going to say cross, so you have to work on reaction time, and you get a leg workout in going over the top.

There was so much more I learned at the conference, but these were some of the different and new ones that stood out.


WeightingGame said...

when I read #1, I thought you were being super sassy. Now I realize my mind was just in the gutter.

Charlotte said...

Hahaah! Love leslie's comment!

Anyhow, thanks for the great ideas! And don't feel bad - I too have gotten serious welts from whipping my butt with the jump rope.

The Lethological Gourmet said...

WG, LOL!! That hadn't even occurred to me with #1! I should've gone to the urban striptease workshop, then I would've really had something sassy to write about! ;)

Charlotte, I had welts all along my arms and hands too...apparently I need a lot more practice with this jump rope thing...