In the gym: Don’t strap me in
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado
BASALT – So I’m hanging out at my gym early Thursday morning, intending to lift a few paltry weights before I head to the office, when the instructor of an increasingly popular “straps class” invites me in for an introductory freebie.
He’d seen me standing in the doorway before, watching this tortuous routine with equal parts fascination and horror. On Thursday, there was a vacant spot in the corner, where an unclaimed pair of hefty straps was suspended from a beam in the ceiling. Much of the class involved sticking one’s feet in loops at the bottom of the straps, suspending them a foot or so above the floor and engaging in a killer core workout.
Or, in my case, just killing myself.
It looks like training for, I dunno, Special Forces or something. The Force was not with me.
I had reservations from the get-go: I’ve been nursing a slow-to-heal shoulder injury since last fall, my lower back is perpetually primed for pain, and I’m still feeling the effects of a torn hamstring.
Still, the warm-up wasn’t too bad. I was handed a kiddie kettlebell to swing, just to get me started. It was too small to hold onto with my hands, so I used a couple of fingers to swing it between my legs and up to chest height.
Once my feet were dangling in the air, though, I was in trouble. The routine involved a lot of variations of the plank – holding oneself up on outstretched arms to strengthen the body core. There was putty in my plank.
As a beginner, I opted for “modified” versions of a hard-core workout that had some of the seasoned participants collapsing. At one point, while everyone else went from a plank to a pike position to a pushup, I went for coffee. That’s what I call a modification.
I struggled along until it was time to stick our heels in the strap loops, lift our hips into the air, sit and do a crunch (aka sit-up), preferably while holding a barbell. Naturally, there were repetitions.
My hamstring sent me a sharp reminder that this would be a bad idea. I meekly put my baby barbell away and slunk from the room.
I’m strong enough to admit defeat.
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