Body Dynamics, 2660 Canyon Blvd., Boulder, foundationtraining.com
Instructor: Gili Wolf, of Louisville, was a trained ballet dancer for 15 years. She was certified in Foundation Training in December, among the first group of trainees.
Her chiropractor turned her on to Foundation Training years ago as a way to improve her chronic lower back problems.
"The method itself is aimed at changing movement patterns," Wolf says. "It's turning those muscles back on and integrating those muscle chains so they work together."
Wolf is also a graphic designer.
What is the workout? Foundation Training is a series of movements that aim to integrate the body's muscular chains, starting with the posterior chain to stabilize your spine and core. These muscles are often weak and imbalanced from the habits of modern life, such as hunching over in chairs for extended period of times.
Foundation Training is part isometric strength-training, part physical therapy, using your own muscles and body. No equipment.
It claims it can improve chronic pain, especially lower back pain, and teach you new ways of moving. Other clients have experienced improved control of their body and improved athletic performance.
Classes begin with decompression, to open everything up, and end with something called "tensioning." We did exercises standing and on the floor.
What's different: It was developed with modern-day lifestyles in mind. Principles are commonly used in conjunction with Pilates and yoga.
Some of the moves we did felt similar to yoga. For example, we did a "child's pose," but with feet flexed. Flexing your feet engages the bottom of your feet and connects the entire chain of posterior muscles, Wolf says.
We also did something called an eight-point plank instead of regular plank. This kind of plank uses more muscles, while forcing them to work together, and is much harder.
Yoga offers more lengthening and stretching of muscles, whereas Foundation Training stretches and strengthens muscles at the same time, Wolf says. Imagine bending over in a way that stretches your hamstrings and lower back, while doing strength training in that lengthened position.
I've never done moves quite like this before.
Foundation Training describes the core as the pelvis and everything that attaches to it, not just your abdominal muscles. It spans your adductors, glutes, hamstrings and lower back.
What does it cost? A one-time drop-in is $15. Get a 10-class punch card for $100.
When: 10:30 a.m. Monday for an hour. Wolf also teaches a free community class with another instructor in Central Park at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Level: All ages and fitness levels. The class attracts everyone from people with back issues, to people who sit a lot on their jobs, to professional athletes who want to access more power. If you're new to exercise, try a private session first.
Classes attract from three to 10 participants.
While I was taking the class, I thought it was a four on a 10-point intensity scale. I thought it was interesting but pretty easy, other than a few specific moves.
But as the day went on and I began to realize what exactly we did to my muscles (I actually pulled out the Icy Hot because my muscles were on still on fire at midnight), my rating rose to a nine.
This was the most sneakily challenging class I've ever taken. I had no idea how hard I was working.
What to prepare: Comfortable exercise clothes, no shoes or socks, bring a yoga mat if you want your own. Water provided in studio.
Muscles worked: Posterior chain muscles: glutes, adductors, lower back, hamstrings.
What I loved: I know my lower back is weaker than the rest of my body, and it was refreshing to be in a class that put the main emphasis on strengthening that. I feel as if lower back is too often a side note in other classes, because it's not as sexy as doing ab work. But if your lower back is injured and you can't walk, it doesn't matter how great your six-pack is. We need to be balanced, and this class offered a surprisingly unique take on strength training.
What I didn't like: If you are looking for a rockin' cardio class with loud music, this is not your class. We had no music and Wolf is a soft-spoken, calm teacher. While I was taking class, I found myself getting a little distracted because it wasn't hyper-stimulating and overly energetic.
How I felt after the class: As my muscle exhaustion grew to the point that I spent my family dinner lying on the floor, I realized that Wolf did not need to rely on music and shouting to give an insane workout. I probably pushed myself too hard, thinking it was easy because it was so slow. Learn from me and ease your way in.
I woke up the next morning feeling better, but notably sore in my entire core, as Foundation Training defines it.
I am thoroughly impressed and convinced that Foundation Training not only is effective, but that my body desperately needs more of it.
-- Reported by Aimee Heckel
Know of any interesting workouts? Tell us about them so we can check them out: firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-473-1359.