So I tried some new equipment with my Sunrise Sweat class earlier this week, and it was an eventful enough session that I thought I should write about it. We used resistance tubing for some partner exercises, and in theory, it was an excellent class. There were a few issues, but I’ll get to those later.
After our warm up, we got down to work with the exercise tubes. 1. Lat Pulls – To start, the partners stood a few feet apart, facing each other with the tube folded in half between them. Partner A held the tube in the centre fold at chest height, while Partner B held both handles and did lat pulls by drawing elbows straight back and squeezing shoulder blades together. Completed 12 reps and switched partner roles.
2. Chest Fly – Partner A held tube in same manner as previous move, while Partner B turned around to face away from Partner A. Partner B held handles at shoulder height out to the side, and drew hands toward each other in front of chest. Completed 12 reps and switched partner roles.
3. Horse Race – Partner A placed resistance tube around hips, while Partner B stood behind her and held onto both handles. Partner B crouched into a squat and pulled backward on the handles to provide resistance, while Partner A ran to the opposite end of the gym, pulling Partner B forward. Switched partner roles and returned to opposite end of gym.
4. Bicep Curls and Lunges – Partner A stepped on centre of tube with instep of front foot and lowered into a static lunge. Partner B stood with feet hip width apart, engaged core, and pulled both handles from waist height up to shoulders in a standard bicep curl. Partner B completed 12 reps, Partner A switched feet, and then Partner B completed another 12 reps. Switched partner roles.
5. Tricep Kickbacks – Partner A engaged core and held centre of tube high above head while Partner B held handles at waist height with elbows pinned at sides. Partner B lowered handles to thighs (palms facing downward), while keeping elbows pinned in. Completed 12 reps, then switched partner roles.
6. Repeat the Horse Race
7. External Shoulder Rotation – Partners faced the same direction, and each held a handle in outer hand while standing a few feet apart (far enough to keep the tube from being slack, but not stretched). Keeping elbows of outer arms pinned to their sides, partners simultaneously rotated their shoulders outward by moving their hands away from each other. Completed 12 reps and turned around to switch arms.
8. Upper Body Rotation – In the same original position as previous move, partners each held a handle in both hands. Simultaneously, both partners stepped forward with outside leg into a lunge. While in lunge position, both partners rotated upper body at the hips, and pulled tube handles away from each other. Completed 12 reps and turned around to switch sides.
9. Repeat the Horse Race
We repeated the entire sequence one more time, but eliminated the horse race – not because I wanted to, but because it was necessary for safety. The third time we did the horse race, two of the tubes broke – one of them so severely, that it actually came back and whipped one of the participants in the butt. She’s a trooper, but I’m pretty confident that she’ll have a bruise (good thing my participants sign waivers!).
I have done all of these moves before in other fitness classes, and never had any problems whatsoever, so I was not even a little bit concerned that the tubes would break. The tubes we used were brand new, and very recently purchased from a reputable fitness equipment distributor, so I was confident they would hold up to all of the moves I had planned. I guess not. I WILL be taking them back, and finding new tubes that are of higher quality.
Tabata: After we did the tubing moves twice through, we moved on to the cardio portion of our workout, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) known as Tabata. If you aren’t already familiar with Tabata workouts, you should give it a try; Tabata is AWESOME! This is how it works: you do 20 seconds of a move (say skipping rope, or burpees, for example) as hard as you can, recover for 10 seconds, then repeat 7 more times for a total of 8 sets in 4 minutes. Tabata gets your heart rate up fast and torches calories in a short amount of time. I like to do 5 different moves for an intense 20 minutes of calorie burning.
The first time I did Tabatas with my Sunrise Sweat class, however, it became quickly apparent that 8 sets were a bit too much for my participants. After the first two sets, a couple of my participants told me outright that they couldn’t do 8 sets of Tabata Mountain Climbers; so we stopped at 4 sets. We will work our way up to 8 sets eventually, but I want to make sure the workouts are accessible for ALL of my ladies, so 4 sets are good for now.
This week we did 4 sets each of 20 second work/10 second rest of five moves: Burpees, Jumping Rope, Squats with Overhead Press, Butt Kicks and High Knees. Even though I reduced the number of sets to keep the Tabatas accessible for my participants, we had a little more equipment injury in this section too; one of my ladies somehow managed to whip herself a couple of times in the arm with her skipping rope. I advised her on a way to adjust the rope, and she was fine for the rest of the sequence. We work together, and she showed me her arm later that morning – still sporting a few red welts – poor girl!
Overall, it was an effective workout, even though we did have a few minor injuries. In the future, I will use a different, stronger type of resistance tube, and maybe test them out myself before using them with participants. Please don’t let my negative experience with the tubes deter you from trying them out, though; resistance tubes really can be a very effective piece of equipment, both on your own and with a partner. Just make sure to choose a high quality tube that is the right tension for your ability…happy sweating!