MOV' Your Body | Eclectic Cake: MOV' Your Body

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

MOV' Your Body

"Smile. No matter what, smile."

As the only rule for the session was laid out, it was clear the MOV' Lab fitness class was going to be hard you had to be reminded to smile! This was confirmed by looking at the physical benefits – built like a tree, it seemed appropriate that our instructor's name was Forrest – you only get that strong through some serious hard work.

The Chainstore Academy, a purpose built parkour venue, is an inspiring space. The indoor urban playground is full of physical challenges – ropes, scaffolding, giant tyres, weights, concrete walls – and if you're lucky, it will also be full of regulars leaping impossible distances and griping onto invisible holds. Despite being a complete beginner in full view of some experienced-looking free runners, I wasn't intimidated, even by being the only female. It may be built of concrete and metal but the Academy has a pretty warm atmosphere. 

Having already experienced Parkour once before, I was aware of the physical demands – jumping, crawling, balancing, vaulting, climbing – it uses every inch of your body and other bits you didn't even know you had. As this class was essentially for conditioning, designed to build strength and fitness, we'd be working every single muscle. But not before a thorough warm-up with the rest of my group – equally nervous yet keen as I.

We started gently enough but were soon bending and stretching in peculiar ways with only shaky limbs to hold us up. Limbered, we moved onto the giant scaffolding climbing frame for a sequence of over-and-unders – swing over, crawl under, hop over, sweep under, jump onto and off – trying to be as light-footed as possible through fear of adding to our push-up count. After completing 15 laps of the course and 50 push-ups, our warm-up was over!

The session 'started' with a leg section – balancing on a scaffolding bar whilst holding different height squats (with a little help from an outstretched hand). MOV' Lab classes aren't just about training your body. Without knowing it, we were focusing our minds and teaching ourselves not to panic at (the small) height. As each squat hold got longer, we became calmer.

There was some shaking, though – all involuntary from my poor tired muscles. Forest seemed to enjoy watching our efforts, shaky limbs and red, sweaty faces – he was singing and dancing away as he counted down the seconds. But actually, I was thoroughly enjoying it too! Everything was the right side of hard – definitely challenging but not soul-destroyingly difficult. And it didn't matter if we couldn't quite complete the full set of pull-ups unassisted (I did two. TWO!!!) or hang from the bar for the full minute as long as we tried our hardest...and smiled.

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