Wednesday, July 20, 2011

pUnK RoPe

Boxers do it at lightening speed. The girls on the playground do it and add cool tricks. When I was in Mexico last summer volunteering, it was super popular with the children I was teaching. What could I be talking about?

Why, jump roping of course!

When I saw a class offered called “Punk Rope” at the 14th Street Y in NYC, it called out to me so I signed up in anticipation of a very fun class. Did they deliver? Yep.

I headed over to the east side after work armed with my water bottle and tennis shoes. The 14th Street Y is community-based gym housed in a Jewish community center but it’s open to people from all backgrounds. When I entered, I was greeted warmly by the front desk security guard and a receptionist. I signed in and was directed upstairs to the gymnasium. Because I was early for the class, I decided to explore the premises. The Y only takes up part of the building; the rest of the building is comprised of an elementary school. The Y’s fitness center, yoga studios, swimming pool, and locker rooms are all on the main level and the basketball court is on the second level. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the womens locker room has a sauna! Pretty fancy for a Y!

Explorations complete, I headed upstairs to the gymnasium. A few guys were already there shooting baskets so I headed to a bench to stretch and prepare for my class. Looking around at the brightly painted room with shelves of gym equipment and school flags hanging on the wall made me think of my own years in middle and high school. Seven o’clock rolled around and the basketball players were shooed away by our class teachers, Tim and Shana. Time to start!

The 20 or so of us grabbed our ropes and spread out around the gym. As I mentioned, the class is called “Punk Rope” so it’s set to (you guessed it) punk music. Not generally my taste in music but, as it turns out, perfectly appropriate for a class like this!

A brief description of “Punk Rope”: It’s “a cross between recess and boot camp. Themed classes (my class was held close to Bastille Day so we listened to French punk music), creative drills, relay races, and raise the roof music are intended to improve heart, lungs, figure, bones, coordination, and strength.  Oh, and, it inspires to bring out the kid in all of us!” I have to say, it DEFINITELY did!

The hour-long class consisted of first stretching and warming up, then a jump rope drill for about ten minutes, then a quick solo dance number we did in one spot, another ten minute jump rope session, followed by a partner-based dance, followed by a shorter jump rope practice, followed by a relay race in which we were put into teams of three, another jump rope drill, and finally a fifteen minute cool down and stretching period. Holy moly- I was WIPED OUT. I’ve never felt so… old… Jump roping is no joke! Such great cardio conditioning!

Would I do it again?
Yes. It turns out, I have HORRIBLE coordination. Actually, I was already aware of this weakness of mine but it was blatantly obvious as I struggled to jump rope. By the middle of class, I could finally jump rope for about five minutes straight without messing up but I never managed to do any of the moves (such as kicks or crossing my feet in between jumps) our instructor would call out to us to try. The class is not competitive at all, though, and Tim was encouraging so I had a good time despite my lackluster performance.

PROS: Price. Using a deal I found online, I paid just under $5 for the class. In addition to the class, I could’ve worked out in the fitness center, taken any of their other classes held that day, or even taken a dip in the pool so I’d say the price was very reasonable! If I didn’t have the deal I found, it would have been $12 to drop into the class that day. A membership at the 14th Street Y is comparatively reasonable (more so if you are a student or senior citizen), especially for this city. It includes access to all of the fitness classes and to the pool.

Besides the price, the energy in the class was DYNAMITE! Everyone was so positive and I felt like a kid, wrapping up the hour feeling almost giddy.

Cons: None!

If you’re curious about this class, I encourage you to look into signing up!

 Punk Rope (my class) :

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