Arnold Schwarzenegger used to be a bit embarrassed by the size of his calves. As a result, as often as possible, he would wear shorts or cut off trousers to show off his calves, as a way of motivating himself to focus on them and train them. What he should have done, was try whiplash, because my goodness even his calves would have hurt.
Whiplash is one of Gymbox’s new classes, and focusses on the use of skipping ropes to ramp up your cardio, improve your co-ordination and improve the endurance in your legs. Any one of these by themselves would be tough, but combining the three means a challenging mix.
The session began with some basic footwork with the ropes. Starting with ‘base’ skipping, the simple kind of bouncing from one foot to the next we are familiar with from watching boxers, progressing to jumping to the left and right, skipping each foot front and back and finally to crossing the feet over behind one another (this is really hard to do, and with so much effort focussing on the co-ordination, you often forget how hard your lungs are working).
Quite soon, not only are your lungs burning, but also your shoulders, arms and forearms are feeling the pain. Our instructor, Erkan Talip, who has seen plenty of time inside a boxing ring and on the grips of a skipping rope, then added bodyweight exercises in the forms of jump squats, jump lunges and of course, everyone’s favourite, burpees. As if the ropes just weren’t enough.
The fundamental question is; how did I feel after? Well, the calves were burning. How did they feel the next day (and a day after?). Flippin’ painful. 45 minutes of hopping, jumping and skipping will do that to you.
Perhaps the best bit of Whiplash is simply learning new techniques on the ropes. Skipping is a great exercise for cardio and endurance, and unless someone teaches you how to do things like the figure of eight and behind the feet skip, it’s hard to learn.
Also, if you’re looking to improve your dancing skills, the co-ordination can’t really hurt. Well, except in the calves. They hurt.