Thursday, April 16, 2009

Why the Instructor Matters

I took my second TRX class today.

TRX is a new workout routine based on a workout some Navy SEALS put together down in San Diego using old parachute rigging. The rigging is hung from a ceiling, you grip the rigging, keep your back straight, and use your body weight as resistance in a series of calisthenics.

The first time I did it I wasn't impressed. It was only hard enough to annoy me. Not enough to truly hurt me.

This time it hurt me. The instructor this time is also the instructor who teaches my occasional CrossFit class and my Krav Maga conditioning class. While she uses a soft touch, she is still one of the toughest instructors I've ever had. Ironically, I took the TRX class this evening because my quads couldn't handle her conditioning class so close to a race day. Her workouts have left me with 8 weeks of non-stop quad and knee soreness. Murphy's Law being what it is, she took over teaching the TRX class.

For lack of a better phrase, she broke me. She was exponentionally harder than her predecessor. The section where I cracked were the ab exercises. The way they work abs in TRX is to hook your feet into the loops, which are suspended 12-18 inches off the floor. Doesn't sound like much, until you do the following;

- A sideways plank: having your feet suspended in the air a few inches off the ground exposed problems in my core strength between my front and back. Unlike sideplanks with my feet on the ground, I couldn't maintain a stable position.

- Did a tabata of bicycles where I got in a push-up position, then brought my knees up to my chest one at a time like in a bicycle sit-up. It was 8 sessions of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. Doesn't sound hard, but as is the case with the sideways plank, being suspended off the ground exposes a ton of balance and core strength weaknesses.

Torn at this point. My quads, thankfully, didn't die. So I'll be able to run on Sunday without a hitch. Everywhere else on my body hurts like a mo-fo. I hate being reminded of how weak my core muscles are, and all the places where I need to work.

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