Archive for March, 2014

SkyRobics at SkyZone

With my instructor, Tyler, after class.

With my instructor, Tyler, after class.

Studio: Sky Zone Roswell

Class: SkyRobics

Class description from website: SkyFITNESS Featuring SkyRobics is low impact and combines advanced calisthenics, core exercises and strength building aerobics, all done on our patented, all-trampoline, walled playing courts. SkyRobics is one of the most dynamic, effective and intense workouts you can have, while being fun and easy on your joints. Those at any level of physical fitness will reap the physical and mental benefits of this revolutionary workout.

IMG_6574Location: 1425 Market Blvd. Suite 100-A, Roswell, GA 30076

Phone: 678-745-9900

Cost: $5 for first class; $10 for individual classes; $20/month for unlimited classes

 

SkyZone grip socks

SkyZone grip socks

What to Bring: Water, Sky socks. Sky Zone provides “grip” socks for $2 that you can reuse.  They prefer that you use their socks, and for $2 and half off your first class, it’s not an inconvenience.

What to wear: Comfortable workout clothes. Yoga pants, leggings, tank top, t-shirt etc. Shorts are fine, but I would wear bike shorts because you are doing strength training exercises as well as repeated jumping. And loose fitting shorts + squats = free peep show.

Class size: Small. There were 10 people including me so there was plenty of space for all of us. Attendance reaches as many as 50 on the weekends.

Props used: None for this class, but my instructor told me that they do incorporate resistance bands into some of the classes.

Volume and type of music: Music was at a medium volume. The type of music was what I would call “game music.” Songs you would hear at a sporting event to get people pumped up; a mixture of pop, rock, non-offensive music that provides a nice beat to workout to.

Impact: Low impact, but high intensity cardio. Sounds crazy, but it’s true! Some of the women in the class started doing SkyRobics because of knee, ankle, and foot injuries and they told me they felt no impact. I felt no stress on my knees and we jumped for the first 20 minutes of the class.

Modifications: Since I was the only newbie, the teacher gave me modifications when necessary and told me to do only what I felt comfortable doing.

Format of class: (I was told that each class is different to keep it from getting boring for the regulars.)

We started on the mats that frame the individual trampolines which make up the main court. We did a quick warm up, loosening up the neck, shoulders, knees, and ankles and then we were off! We began with the snake drill, which was, essentially, a form of follow the leader. Tyler, our instructor, would tell us what exercise we were doing and we would “snake” up and down the court following each other. We started by bouncing from individual tramp to tramp, down and back and down and back, the long length of the main court.

One end of the main court.

One end of the main court.

Next, we ran from tramp to tramp in the same pattern, followed by tuck jumps, and then tuck jumps pulling our feet up to the side. All drills were done with the same, initial pattern. After those drills we took a quick water break (although I stopped for water more than everyone else) and went back to more drills. When the action resumed, we went up and down the short length of the court, jumping from tramp to tramp, and interspersing the jumps with lunges on the mats separating the trampolines. Coming back down the court we did the same thing but with side squats. Following those, we did one more snake drill consisting of jumping front, back and center on each individual trampoline (bring your thinking cap for that one, I was definitely talking to myself for that entire drill chanting, “front, back, center, jump, front, back, center, jump”).

Following the snake drills we took another break, although, if needed, there were aways little pockets of time during the drills, to grab water and rest while waiting for the line to finish. After the break we did some ab work (crunches, knee ins, V sit, 6 inches, etc), push ups (wide and narrow), hellraisers (plank walk ups), and some side to side plank walks.

The class ended with a quick cool down.

What to expect: Expect an incredibly intense aerobic workout. My heart was elevated within the first couple minutes of jumping.

Expect to be surprised by how high you are jumping when assisted by a trampoline. I had not jumped on a trampoline in years and I was thankful for my years of dance training because landing with soft (bent) knees is now a reflex for me, and probably prevented me from falling on my bum. One of the other women in the class said she fell 8 times in her first class, so don’t feel discouraged if you fall! This woman obviously didn’t, because she was now at the head of the pack during the entire class I attended.

Expect to concentrate a little more than you may have anticipated. While this is an incredibly fun workout, it requires concentration, coordination, and balance to stay on two feet.

Expect a laid back and welcoming atmosphere. The teacher and students were all supportive and gave me words of encouragement throughout the class.

Who should take this class: First, and most obvious, are people who like to jump!; people who want a high intensity cardiovascular workout without the impact of landing on solid ground; this class is excellent for intermediate to advanced exercisers who are looking for an extra push to increase their endurance; it is also a great aerobic activity for people who feel pain in their feet, ankles, or knees when doing high-impact activities on solid ground (one of the women in the class said she started taking Skyrobics because she had plantar fasciatis, which prevented her from running); and it is a great class for people who hate repetitive conditioning activities (e.g. treadmills, running, elliptical machines) because you hardly feel like you’re doing cardio. But man will your heart rate get up there!

Synchronized jumping?

Synchronized jumping?

Professional advice: Go in with a “no fear” mentality. If you think you’re going to fall, or think you won’t make it from one trampoline to the next, then that is exactly what is going to happen. Be confident!

Do not get too caught up in the fun of bouncing. It is incredibly important for you to maintain body awareness and land with soft (bent) knees, to prevent you from landing on your rear. However, if you do land on your rear, it will be a soft landing. If you haven’t jumped on a trampoline in a while, get to the class a little early so you can take a few practice bounces and get your legs used to the unstable surface. I thought my gymnastic legs from 25 years ago would be ready to go, but they needed several jumps to get used to it.

Go at your own pace. I was the only new person in the class so I stayed at the back of the line, allowing me to jump at my own pace without slowing down anyone else. As I said, the other people in the class were very supportive and kept giving me words of encouragement throughout, so I felt no pressure.

After class, I spoke with Kellie, a Skyrobics regular, who told me that Skyrobics has increased her endurance for running. Besides the benefits to her running, she said she also loves the class because there are always people of all shapes and sizes. Kellie called Skyrobics “happy exercise” because on the days she attends Skyrobics, she is happy all day long.

Thank you to my instructor, Tyler, for being so welcoming and encouraging!

 

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SVELTE Signature Barre Class at SVELTE

My instructor, Cameron, and I after class.

My instructor, Cameron, and I after class.

Studio: SVELTE

Class: Svelte Signature Barre

Class description from website: The SVELTE Signature Barre Class draws from multiple dance inspired influences and infuses fresh customized isometric movements in properly timed sets to tone the large and small muscle groups of our most challenging areas. Combined with targeted stretching, the SVELTE technique provides an intensive body shaping experience and full body workout, designed to produce long, lean and svelte results.

Location: 3944 Peachtree Rd, Suite C, Atlanta, GA (Brookhaven)

Phone: 404-889-5963

Cost: $14 per class and they offer packages.

SVELTE socksWhat to Bring: Water, socks.  The studio provides “grip” socks for $6 that you can reuse (pictured to the left).  I do recommend these as the floor is a tad slippery and you need to get a grip on the floor for some of the exercises.  Any socks with rubber grips on the bottom (e.g. yoga socks) would work.

What to wear: Comfortable workout clothes.  Yoga pants, leggings, tank top, t-shirt etc.  I would shy away from shorts because you are lifting your leg into compromising positions at times and you don’t want to give a peep show while you’re getting your fit on.

Class size: Small.  There were 5 people including me so there was plenty of space for all of us at the bar.

SVELTE props

Props used: Theraband, sponge ball (some of you may know this as a Bender Ball), dumbbells (1, 2, or 3 pounds).  All props are provided by the studio.  I recommend going with the 1 pound pair for your first class.  You will still feel the burn…I promise!  I consider myself to be in very good shape and the 2 pounders kicked me square in the rumpus.

Volume and type of music: Music was at a low volume but audible enough to provide motivation.  The teacher had a microphone headset so it was easy to understand her over the music.  The music was a mix of top 40, R&B, hip hop, country, and pop.  Something for everyone!

Impact: Very low.  There was no jumping whatsoever.

Modifications: The teacher gave modifications when necessary and there was zero pressure to do any movements that might have been out of my comfort zone.

Format of class: Before entering the actual studio we were asked to take our shoes off.  There are cubbies inside the studio for you to place your belongings.

We began class with a quick, easy to follow warm up in the center, then moved right to the bar for our total body workout.

Exercises were performed using isometric movements (a small range of motion that increases muscular endurance.  Example: if you were to do a traditional biceps curl with dumbbells you would start with your arms down by your sides and then bend your elbows to bring the dumbbells all the way up to touch your shoulders.  In this class we performed biceps curls with the dumbbells wrapped in the ends of the Theraband, which was wrapped around the bar, and we started with our arms bent and the dumbbells already touching our shoulders and pulsed the dumbbells with about a 1-inch ROM (range of motion). Before each section, the teacher explained the exercises we were going to perform.  We started with upper body using the dumbbells and Theraband to add resistance and did an exercise to target each of the major muscle groups in the upper body (back, biceps, triceps, chest, shoulders).  Following the upper body section we burned out our legs using the sponge ball and the Theraband.  Again, hitting all the major muscle groups in the lower body (quads, hamstrings, glutes, adductors (inner thighs), abductors (outer thighs), and calves).  We did a quick hip stretch before moving to the floor for our core work; the studio provides a nice cushy mat on which to sit for floor work.  We used both the sponge ball and Theraband for our core work.  We finished class with a quick cool down and stretch on the mat.  The teacher passed out a sanitary wipe so we could wipe down our equipment.

What to expect: Expect a gorgeous studio, which is surprising considering the cost of the class.  They have a lovely sitting area, if you get there early and want to hang out beforehand, as well as clean bathrooms, and a water fountain plus bottle-filling station (water, that is).  There are two studios (one dubbed “Strong” the other “Slender”) so more than one class can run simultaneously.  Both studios were nice, spacious, and the temperature was just right.  I recommend reserving your spot online for class because they do cap classes so that everyone is comfortable.

Who should take this class: If you are one of those people who like to “feel the burn” then this class is for you.  This is not a cardio class so don’t expect to sweat or increase your heart rate exponentially.  This is a weight baring activity that is excellent for people who are afraid of the weight room; it’s a great way for you to ease yourself into lifting weights or to become more familiar with resistance training in a non intimidating environment.   This is a great class for both non-dancers and dancers alike (although I think dancers might feel more of a burn as you will have your ballet teacher’s voice in your head screaming “PULL UP!  SUCK IT IN!  GET YOUR HEAD UP!  STOP LEANING ON THE BAR!”  I know I did.)

Professional advice: Go in knowing that you will “feel the burn” throughout the entirety of the class so leave your pride at the door.  Drop your weights when you need to, abandon the Theraband if your hip feels like it’s on fire (mine sure was), and stand up and shake it out if you’re quivering so much that you can’t maintain proper body alignment…trust me, I’m speaking from experience. I was quivering the entire ride home.  Make sure that you are aware of your posture and body alignment.  It’s easy to fall into bad form when you’ve got that kind of burn going the whole class.  Keep your shoulders back, head in line with your spine, and belly button squeezed in.  Those things will help you and make the class more beneficial.  It is an excellent hour to practice posture and proper body alignment.

Thank you to SVELTE and to my instructor, Cameron, for being so welcoming!

Cameron at front desk_SVELTE

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Exercise is for everyone!

So you don’t like to exercise.  I beg to differ.  We live in an age where exercise comes in almost every possible form.  There is something out there for just about everybody!  The problem is that many of you might not know that your perfect exercise match is out there or you are too scared to try.  That’s where I come in.  I have decided to be your exercise tester.  Think of this blog as your exercise recon headquarters.  I try the classes out and tell you exactly what to expect.  You can’t fear the unknown when it becomes the known!  

I will be reviewing classes twice a month so let me know if there’s anything you’re afraid to try and I’ll see if I can fit it in to my schedule.  Keep in mind I am in the Atlanta area.

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