In a fast-paced blend of pilates, boxing and dance, a popular group exercise class at the YMCA called Piloxing is a sure way to increase cardio and build long, lean muscles.
“It’s great,” said Carolyn Turner, a participant who’s been coming to the class since it started at the Y in November. “We just love it.”
She and her friends, Kathy Pannell and Katrina Grant, love attending the class, but they all find different benefits from Piloxing.
“For me, it’s a great upper body workout,” Turner said.
For Pannell though, she said she has learned balance and grace, and loves doing the workout with bare feet.
“The best part for me is the dance moves!” Grant said excitedly.
Instructor Tammy Hancock is also quite enthusiastic about the class, encouraging everyone to give it a try — men and women of all ages and of all fitness levels.
“It’s just such a fun thing and anybody can start it.”
The class starts with high tempo music and a quick warm-up to get the muscles activated.
Hancock quickly transitions into some basic punches, then some standing pilates moves, and finally, some simple dance steps.
These intervals, boxing, pilates and dance, are repeated for the duration of the class, and the session is wrapped up with some floor exercises.
Much of the boxing blocks are unlike kickboxing, as there are not twists or turns of the arm, and participants do not actually hit a bag.
“There’s no impact on your joints that way, but you’re still getting an upper body workout,” Hancock said.
Although she yells “ice cream cone” from time to time, don’t expect a delicious summertime treat.
“That’s how you’re supposed to hold your hand when you punch during the class, like you’re holding an ice cream cone.”
If someone wants to step up his or her upper body game, weighted gloves can be purchased to increase the intensity.
For the pilates block, poses are done while standing, sometimes on one leg, which engages core muscles and helps improve balance.
And the dance portion should never intimidate the non-dancers interested in the workout — “It’s really simple, mostly just steps.”
Hancock said the routine is constantly changing and participants can always look forward to new music and new moves.
“It’s just fun and different and makes you feel like a free spirit.”
She’s been a volunteer instructor at the YMCA of Southern West Virginia for nearly 15 years and she said she loves the Y and being able to give back to the community.
Last year, when Piloxing was introduced to the Y, Hancock said she took a few classes and immediately fell in love with it.
She decided to get certified to be able to teach the class, and the group workout has been a huge success.
“Everybody loves it. It’s all about being sleek, sexy and powerful.”
She said tennis shoes are not necessary for the class — “You can do it barefooted or you can wear socks with treads on the bottom.”
For beginners, she said the focus will mostly be increasing cardio, but after a while, participants will learn the techniques and really focus on muscle toning.
Hancock’s classes are taught Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:45 p.m. and on Saturdays at 9:30 a.m.
For more information, call 304-252-0715.
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