Athletically, you spend hours drenched in sweat–in the gym, racewalking to the train or just merely thinking about going to the gym.
You beat your body up for weeks leaving little time for any bodywork recovery. Luckily I’ve got just the guy to help you in that department.
Remember those days when conditioning classes used to be simple? No bungee cords hanging from the ceiling, no Tabata drills, no mini trampolines, just a mat, your muscle groups, and you?
Don’t get me wrong, I am far from complaining. As a woman who likes spice in her life (literally, I put hot sauce on pretty much everything), I love me some sweaty boot camp shenanigans, but sometimes a solid make-it-out-in-one-piece conditioning class is just what you want.
The road to recovery lead me to Athleta Flatiron for FIT+LOVE Total Body Conditioning class with Kevin Hanover, founder of H Body Lab where he trains triathletes like himself to compete at their best in swimming, biking and running.
At first I thought I might have read the class description wrong (being that it was 8:30am on a Saturday morning, that was a strong possibility) was this a yoga class? There were mats laid out, everyone was barefoot, and the music was a Coffee House vibe.
Kevin’s “quiet intensity” through me for a loop as he lead us through a series of conditioning, and recovery techniques. At first things start out easy….standing pulling our knees into our chest, dropping down into runners lunge, a few squats, a great side lying shoulder/ lower back stretch.
Then we went into a plethora of core strengthening plank positions. Planks with leg lifts. High to low planks. Shoulder tap planks.
Shaking, and sweat quickly ensued.
For the lower body we did glute exercises like briding for hip control and stability, and single leg bridging for hamstring strength. He also threw in some kneeling rotational exercises that felt freaking amazing on my hip flexors and IT bands.
He didn’t yell or dance, just lead the workout pretty straightforward with the occasional inspirational quip to keep our heads in the game.
This was a solid lower intensity conditioning class that got the blood flowing to the muscles but not over-tax them. While I didn’t find myself gasping for air or praying for mercy, my hips and shoulders felt much more open, and I walked out considerably less tin-man-like than when I walked in.
Why are these exercises so important? Muscular imbalances are created by repetitive overuse or overdevelopment of certain muscle groups, and are the biggest cause of injury in endurance athletes (marathon runners, Soul Cycle devotees).
Kevin gave us functional exercises which train movements and not just specific muscles, which will help increase your bodies range of motion, flexibility, coordination, agility, strength, power, stability and balance. While cross-training is effective, if you really want to make meaningful changes, you have to build consistency into your workout regimen and allow for R & R.
This active recovery-style workout was just what my myofascially challenged body needed.
Athleta 126 5th Ave New York, NY 10011 (212) 929-0512