Not a single resident of the District of Columbia will be representing the U.S.A. at the 2012 Olympic Games. But both Vida Fitness and Washington Sports Clubs have plans designed to make you feel like a medal contender. Stick with these exercises, and you just might have a shot in 2016.
Vida Fitness: Train Like an Athlete
“Instead of just sitting and watching the Olympics, we wanted to get people involved in doing something,” says Lisa Lipscomb, personal training director for the Washington chain. Starting Wednesday, all five clubs are offering this $159 program — exclusively for nonmembers — that extends through the end of August. It includes access to all facilities (except the U Street Penthouse Pool) and two 45-minute classes a week focused on honing participants’ skills at a series of Olympics-inspired drills.
Part of the testing will be timed sprints on bikes, rowing machines and treadmills. But don’t worry if you’re not ready to take on Usain Bolt. “The run is a quarter mile, and that could be a fast walk for some people,” Lipscomb says.
The key, she says, is progression — and to see better, measurable results by the time of the Closing Ceremonies in London.
Lipscomb has re-envisioned the sport, replacing the usual small ball with a 16- to 20-pound Dynamax medicine ball. The ball’s slightly squishy and big enough to grab comfortably with two hands. “You’re going to hold onto it by your chest and squat down,” Lipscomb says. “And then rotate your body as you stand up and throw it.” The distance you manage to chuck the ball gives you a sense of your explosive strength.
Most folks aren’t familiar with Olympic lifts, so Lipscomb says participants will start by going over the steps of the power clean with a stick rather than a barbell. They’ll begin with the bar on the floor, pick it up to their knees and then shoulders, using a specific technique. “That’s why we have a personal trainer teaching the class,” says Lipscomb, who adds that fast learners will get to advance to using weights.
Get more information about the program and locations at Vidafitness.com. Email Lisa@vidafitness.com to register.
Washington Sports Clubs: UFX London Calling Edition
For the next four weeks, the Ultimate Fitness Experience program at the North Bethesda location (10400 Old Georgetown Road) will be based on sports featured in the Summer Olympics.
The format for the class, WSC’s Christopher Gillyard says, is a high-intensity circuit of five exercises. Participants perform each for one minute, take a quick break, and repeat the routine two more times. What if someone has trouble with a move? “We’ll work on that, so when you try the same workout again, you can blow your last performance out of the water,” Gillyard says.
Though the exercises are designed to improve athleticism, the parts of the workout that most resemble Olympic training are the warm-up and the cool-down, Gillyard says. “Athletes need to make sure they’re prepped to do their best work,” he says. “And do the best work again the next day.”
When they’re headed for the vault, gymnasts try to get some air. You can do the same thing on a personal, circular trampoline. With each hop, you’ll pump your arms behind you into a triceps extension (with weights or without). “I may not be able to flip,” Gillyard says. “But I can work on jumping and pushing off.”
Students will tackle hurdles straight on, hop over them from the side and weave through them to complete a series of drills testing speed and agility. The good news is that these hurdles are just 6-12 inches high. The bad news? “If you knock one over, you have to set it back up and start from the beginning again,” Gillyard says.
“You’re not going out for the Harvard crew team here,” Gillyard says. “The key is to get consistency of extending legs straight, pulling the bar back and resetting.” He hopes that including the rowing machine in the London Calling class will demystify it to gym-goers who normally avoid it. “If you can’t go running, this will give you that same cardio,” he says.
Mon., 9 a.m. & Thu., 9:15 a.m., through Aug. 20; free (non-members can take a class free). Details at Mysportsclubs.com.