Yesterday afternoon I was overwhelmed with what I was going to do at the gym. So many options! Running, core class, yoga, swimming, weights, other types of cardio...I was a bit torn. I finally decided to do a quick swim and try a core class that I had never tried before.
I got in the pool at 4:50 and swam 40 lengths, or a little over 1/2 mile, alternating between freestyle, backstroke, using the kick board, and using the pull buoy. A pull buoy is a foam device that you put between your thighs and it keeps your hips lifted. When I use it, I swim freestyle without kicking my legs and you get a little more of an arm workout. The foam seems to make a big difference in my speed because I feel like I am flying through the water!
Afraid I was going to be late for the core class at 5:30, I got out of the pool between 5:10 and 5:15 so I could rinse off and put on some clothes. I found out that the class right before it ends at 5:30 so next time I can stay in the pool for an additional 10 minutes.
Class started and I was the only newbie. We had a substitute instructor, and apparently she was "easy" compared to the normal instructor, but I think we still got a decent workout for 35-40 minutes of core work. All of our work involved using the 55 cm exercise balls. We did a million crunches in several different ways, then did lots of planks. After all those crunches, I could barely do plank. Usually I'm a superstar at it, but I felt so weak that it was taking major work to stay in line! The last exercise we did was piking on the exercise balls. You put yourself in plank position with the exercise ball under your shins, and then roll the ball inward so you move into a downward dog-like position, and then roll back out.
(Images courtesy of fitsugar.com)
Today, my upper abs are sore, but that's about it. I would have liked to see more stability exercises and exercises for our backs, because our back is part of our core! I've read time and time again that crunches aren't even that good for you. It's the stabilizing exercises that make a difference (like plank). I plan on trying the class again when the regular instructor is there.