Sunday, March 21, 2010

Class #42 Power Pump Saturday 8:00 a.m. (Beth)

I really ought to be going to two classes today but the truth is, I just don’t feel like it. Most of the classes on Saturday morning are pretty tough and I’ve only got one in me today….that one being Power Pump.

This class is taught in alternating fashion by Beth Cirwinski and Kris Mougeot so beforehand I’m not sure who’ll be teaching. It turns out to be Beth, who I meet for the first time right before class. I try to convey with my eyes what a power pump wimp I am and not to expect too much but since my eyes aren’t really that expressive – she probably just thinks I’ve had too much coffee.

While getting the equipment ready for class, I run into my old high school buddy Richard Peek, who’s now a highly regarded orthopedic surgeon in town. He was one of the funniest, best guys I knew in high school and I can only imagine that his bedside manner is wonderful. I notice that Richard is in excellent shape and watch as he loads about three times more weight on his bar than what I have on. In fact, in shame I put on just a little bit more weight than I did the last time I took this class but it’s still a paltry sum.

Power Pump, for the uninitiated, is a weight lifting class using relatively light-weights (especially by me) and high repetitions. It’s a popular class and the room is almost filled, even at 8 a.m. on a Saturday, the first day of Spring Break. The crowd is impressive.

Beth runs us through a series of squats, pliés, shoulder presses, dead lifts, bicep curls, tricep presses, forward rows and numerous other exercises – all with the weight bar. It’s pretty much non-stop lifting except when we have to change the amount of weigh on our bars (oh how I hate that part). Near the end, we’re finally finished with the weights and go to the mat for “core” exercises. “Aha”, I think, something I can do. It turns out that the core series is all done from plank or side plank, so our upper body is being worked hard along with our poor aching abs. I want to make it all the way through without dropping to my knees but I can’ t quite do it. Yikes, this is tough.

Somewhere in the middle of the workout, perhaps while doing the shoulder presses, I feel a tiny tweak in the middle of my back – uh oh. I watch carefully to assess the damage but it appears to be minor – still, I expect I’m going to feel it the next day. Such is the nature of my fragile back. I’m not sure if this was caused by my inattention to posture, too much weight or simply doing something I’m not accustomed to doing. I watch it the rest of class and am relieved to find that the pain doesn’t reappear; it’s apparently a very small muscle or part of a muscle that’s affected, who knows, maybe I’ll be okay.

My advice to newbies trying this class is to simply start with very light weights – if they are too light, you can adjust next time. If you aren’t accustomed to lifting weights at all or the high repetition format then even the lightest of weights will do the job. Like many classes, there is a learning curve to Power Pump and it’s best to learn it while keeping safe. All that said, it’s a great class if you want to get your high rep, low resistance strength training done in a group format.

Well, I don’t have Beth’s bio information or a photo yet so I’ll introduce her more fully after the next class I take from her. I can say from observation that she gives a very fine and professional class. The workout is definitely challenging, she keeps it moving the entire time, gives good cues and is consistently smiling and encouraging everyone throughout the class. Good job.

Today’s $25 gift certificate winner is Sharon Krulin.

Next up – cycling on Sunday with David Prince.

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