Photographs: courtesy of Chelsea Piers
Above: Weights filled with sand-like material sway with movement, adding a new balancing challenge to this weight-training move.
Picture yourself planking on a stability ball or squatting on a balance trainer. To offset the inherent imbalance that is introduced, you engage the core. As trainers often say, activating these muscles will help you remain steady while helping you improve overall balance, stability and strength, which is essential to staving off the ravages of age.
That thinking has recently shifted and today also applies to young athletes and fitness fans. By working on core strength and enhancing mobility and balance, anyone can boost athletic performance and muscle response and endurance while also lowering the risk of injury from an early age.
This is where Reaxing comes in, which is currently having a moment. Offered locally only at Chelsea Piers, Reaxing introduces instability to other established moves by simultaneously engaging additional muscles and building on the body’s ability to react, making a workout more challenging and effective. To that end, imagine slamming a medicine ball that is half-filled with fluid, or doing dead lifts with a barbell with rubber-like weights that are not attached to the ends but hang from them.
During a recent packed class that incorporated these and other Reaxing tools, participants worked hard—some struggling more than others—to adapt to the unique challenges created by movement and rotation set in motion by the various weights, chains, kettle bells (and more) that they used during the workout. Adding extra difficulty to the session were Reax Boards, which are, simply put, slightly raised platforms on accordion-like bases that shift in response to body movement and weight, or to a trainer’s electronic instruction by way of an app.
So now picture this: planking on a stability ball half-filled with liquid, while on a moving platform. That’s what I call serious core engagement.
For more about Chelsea Piers’ Reaxing classes, Athletic Club membership and youth athletic training that incorporates Reaxing, visit chelseapiersct.com.