I love taking classes, mainly because most of the time I don’t have a clue what I am doing in the gym! Classes are a good way to learn new moves and what exercises you should be doing for each part of your body. I also find that having an instructor showing you the moves and counting down how long you have left for each one really helps push me.
So my challenge for April is to try out as many different types of classes as I can, learn some new moves, learn about my strengths and weaknesses and use these to create workouts of my own. I will be trying to identify which moves I find the hardest and then practicing these either at home or as part of my workout in the gym.
My gym currently offers 8 different classes so I am hoping to be able to try out all of them and perhaps a few from other gyms as well. All these different classes should push my body quite hard so hopefully there will be some noticeable changes in my body and strength by the end of the month (fingers crossed).
I will be writing a review after each class so hopefully you will be able to find out what classes you might like (and it might help me to try and remember what exercises I did in the class!).
So let’s crack on with review number 1 – Legs, Bums and Tums
For some reason when I hear the phrase legs, bums and tums I think of people bopping along to a Mr Motivator style instructor wearing bright coloured spandex and a sweat band (no offence to anyone who wears these types of things!). It just reminds me of something my something my mum would have been doing back in the 90’s, following GMTV in her living room. I thought it would be an easy class and that I would barely break a sweat.
I was wrong…
I knew the class was going to be harder than I imagined when I walked in to find people gathering equipment. For the class we needed a barbell with weights (I had 7.5kg on my bar), a free weight (I had a 2.5kg), a mat and a box step. After gathering all our equipment, the instructor Ben introduced himself and he got the 45min class started.
I always struggle to remember what I have done in classes and I took this one on Monday so have slept several times since then but I will do my best to recap what we did. The body parts we were working on, unsurprisingly, were legs, bum and stomach. The class consisted of 3 different exercises each done for a certain amount of reps, I think 16, with short breaks in between and then repeated. After that we would move onto a different set of exercises.
We started with legs and did exercises such as squats, sumo squats and lunges. I’m getting quite good at squats now (though by the end of the class they were getting a lot harder) but my lunges definitely need some work. I find it hard to get my knee close to the ground so that is definitely one exercise I need some practice on. We also did squatting with the barbell on our shoulders behind our necks. I have done this move in a few other classes so was quite comfortable with this one. Then we did lying leg raises, holding the free weight on top of the leg we were raising. These weren’t too challenging so next time I think I would use a heavier weight.
We moved onto bums. We got onto all fours and performed donkey kicks, then we repeated the exercise but swinging your leg straight out to the side and then up. I quite liked these as although they felt like they were doing some good, they were not too hard. Then we did a move that I found really hard, a squat up against the wall holding the barbell on our hips. This was a killer; my muscles were burning about 5 seconds in. I can’t remember how long we had to hold the position, I think it was 30 seconds but it felt like ages and both times we did it I did not last the full duration. Definitely one to work on in future!
The last section was Abs and we did moves such as mountain climbers (hard), planking (hard), side planks and then side planks with dips (hard and harder). We also did some Russian twists with a free weight (I can never keep my feet off the floor when doing these) and heel touches (I love these).
The class finished with some cool down stretches and that’s it the 45 minutes were done (there were quite a few other exercises but I really can’t remember them). When I do a class I find myself thinking it will never end and then when it finishes I’m surprised it’s finished so soon. I don’t think I could have done much more to be honest; the planks really killed me off.
What I liked most about the class was the instructor, Ben. He was so enthusiastic and motivating and offered moderations to moves if you were new. He had a “don’t worry if you can’t do it, try this instead” attitude which I thought was great as it was my first time at the class. I would definitely take this class again; unfortunately it seems to only be run a couple of times a week all at ties I can’t really do so not sure how often I will be able to go.
So what have I taken away from this class? Well there were plenty of exercises I struggled with, the ones I most want to work on are:
- Side planking (without dips at first, then with dips)
- Lunges (front, backwards and side)
- Russian twists
I’m going to be attending lots of other classes throughout April so hopefully will come across some of these exercises again. I will also be practicing them at home and in the gym, I am hoping by the end of the month I will see a good improvement in my strength and ability to perform these exercises.
Do you take any classes? Is there any moves you love or hate? Let’s chat in the comments!
In case you wanted to know any more about any of these exercises, I have created a Pinterest board based on leg, bum and tums exercise which features the ones I have mentioned and more. You can find it here.
(Images used taken from http://www.bodybybell.com/)