Tag Archives: cxworx

Indoor Cycling – New Group Fitness Over Coffee Episode

Let’s talk about Indoor Cycling.

My latest guest is Stephen Breakwell. He’s a Black Belt Taekwondo Teacher, rock guitarist, cyclist and now a Les Mills Body Combat, Body Balance, CXWorx and RPM instructor as well as a freetstyle Kaiser Spinning instructor.

Indoor cycling

It’s not only about indoor cycling. We get to hear a motivational story about how Stephen overcame a critical illness to become the accomplished group fitness instructor that he is.

With tips, tricks and stories about all the programmes he teaches, you really cannot miss this interview with Stephen Breakwell.

Listen to the podcast by clicking here:

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Now it’s your turn: If you enjoyed this podcast about indoor cycling please share it with your friends, leave a comment or go to iTunes and leave a review.

Which core exercises are best – crunches or hovers and planks – what we can learn from CXWORX?

Are crunches best for core strength and a flat tummy? You can’t beat millions of sit ups can you? Everyone remembers their PE teacher sitting on their legs and screaming at them to lift up over and over. These memories stick.

I often get the crunches question. In fact for some it’s an obsession. When I teach Body Combat, if the conditioning routine for that release does not feature crunches, some people will be unhappy. This is because they believe that crunches are best.

But in Body Combat you can work the abs and the rest of your core simply by performing punches and kicks with good technique. psychologically though people still think they need to do crunches.

Lets get away from this.

I’ve done CXWorx, which is Les Mills new core training class, and one of the first things you learn is that your core is not just your abs. As the instructor said to me, “What is your core? Well chop off your head, your arms and your legs and what is left is your core.”

Which core exercises are best - crunches or hovers and planks
CXWorx hovers

So it includes the shoulders, the glutes, the obliques, and the muscular slings that criss-cross the body creating the X-shape of muscles referred to in the class’s title.

If you want a strong core then you have to do exercises that work all of these muscle groups.

When Les Mills developed the CXWorx programme they did research into the difference between isolated movements and integrated movements. Their researcher, Dr Gottschall said, “Core exercises traditionally focus on isolated areas, like the lower or upper abdominals.” So our beloved crunch is an isolated exercise.

Dr Gottschall compared these with integrated exercises like hovers and planks, which work all the muscles of the core. She found these moves caused as much or more activity in the individual muscles as isolation exercises that targeted each one. The results told Les Mills that integrated exercises would give the core the most effective and efficient workout.

This is why they launched CXWorx and why it is packing classes out in the UK and across the world. This is why in other Les Mills classes like Body Combat and Body Balance we are seeing more integrated core exercises which means more planks, hovers, side planks and yoga based exercises like locust pose.

So crunches have their place but if you really want to beast your core – and by that mean the whole of your core – then give CXWorx a try.

Or if you are still not convinced enough to venture into a class, just try this exercise routine based on hovers and planks. The author, Tina Haupert, says:

“The plank is a great multitasking move because it works your abs, back, and arms all at once. Plus, many people don’t realize the stronger your butt and hamstrings, the less pressure on your core to do all the work.”

Which core exercises are best - crunches or hovers and planks
I found this exercise routine at: http://news.health.com/2012/10/15/10-minute-plank-workout/

So now forget that screaming scary PE teacher sitting on your legs. That was so old school.

Over to you: Have you tried any of the exercises I’ve talked about in this post? Which core exercises are best – crunches or hovers and planks? Do you agree that integrated exercises like planks for better than crunches? Please leave a comment. Share your thoughts. Go on Tweet this article.

CXWorx core fitness class gaining ground in Edinburgh

CXWorx is a slightly odd name for a fitness class. But don’t let that put you off because for a 30 minute class which focusses on core training exercises, CXWorx really does work. I can testify to the tightness in the tummy muscles it brings and the fires it ignites in the gluteals. Half an hour of torture, great music, weight plates and stretchy bands will leave you exhausted but elated.

CXWorx core fitness class

Les Mills the creators of Body Pump brought this revolutionary fitness class to the UK at the start of 2012. I wondered if it would be a little slow to take off. Not because of any flaws in the workout, CXWorx works as I said, but because some clubs appear reluctant to pay for another licence. Maybe they think their PTs can put something similar together.

Whilst take up as been slow down south, CXWorx is starting to gain a strong foothold in Edinburgh. Blazing the trail has been Edinburgh Leisure who have introduced many classes across the city. David Lloyd have followed and I hope others are interested. Les Mills have held 2 instructor training modules already and more are to follow.

One of my fitness instructor friends has already trained in CXWorx and Karl Fitzpatrick on his Group X site comments as follows:

“30 minutes passed. And job done. Ouch. But you love it. Get the lovely feeling of ache. Knowing you’ve earned it.”

And another is about to take the plunge and do the training – in his CXWorx Blog, Simon Philp reminds us about the benefits of the class:

“Formulated with a carefully structured, scientific approach and unforgiving intensity, Les Mills CXWORX tightens and tones, improves functional strength and assists injury prevention like nothing else.”

So should I consider doing the CXWorx training module?

After I qualified as a yoga teacher in 2010, and as I now teach Body Combat, Body Balance, Power Yoga and Hatha Yoga, I said no more. But there is something about CXWorx. It’s chipping away at my resolve. And as the class gains ground in Edinburgh so too does the feeling that my portfolio might not yet be complete.

Over to you: Have you trained on CXWorx? What did you think of the training module course?Are you a participant? What do you think about the CXWorx core fitness class? Have they made any noticeable difference to your core strength? Please post a comment below and let me know.

If you enjoyed this blog you might like to try this one as well:

6 Ways to sculpt your core with CXWorx

I finally got to try CXWorx, the 30 minute core work out class recently launched in the UK by Les Mills the creators of Body Pump.

CXWorx for your core

Many clubs run classes sporting titles such as “Ab Attack” or “Core Extreme”. These too run for 30 minutes and feature endless sit ups and oblique curls. On paper CXWorx promises a similar experience but with the added Les Mills standard accompaniment of the hottest musical sounds from charts around the planet.

It is not the same believe me. The creators of this class have crammed much variety of exercise into the allotted time to work your core from every angle. You start by realising your core is not just the abs. As the instructor said, “What is your core? Well chop of your head, your arms and your legs and what is left is your core.”

So it includes the shoulders, the glutes, the obliques, and the muscular slings that criss-cross the body creating the X-shape of muscles referred to in the class’s title.

I was already tired having just taught a very busy Body Combat class but I promised myself I would stay as the CXWorx instructor came in. She started by giving out resistance tubes. There are three levels and I inadvertently chose the hardest one. They have handles because you need to hold on tight. Another optional extra is a weight plate.

We got started lying down on mats on the floor as the music kicked in.

  1. Warm Up: A rapid combination of leg extensions, crunches and oblique crunches. Even as early as this you learn the importance of a flat back against the floor and a strong belly and how easy it is to lose technique and arch the back. Don’t. It stops the exercises or from working.
  2. Core strength 1: Here come the hovers. This is tough stuff. The instructor introduces arm and leg movements but you have to keep the hover strong and centred. It only takes a few minutes for this to start burning.
  3. Standing strength 1: A series of lunges, squats and stretches using the resistance tubes and weight plate to heavily work the glutes and top half of the legs. I had started to shake by now.
  4. Standing strength 2: The resistance tube becomes more of a focus in this one. Range of movement is small but the tubes make it hurt. By now, only 20 minutes in, I am starting to struggle.
  5. Core strength 2: More hovers, side planks, and leg raises test you almost to the limit.
  6. Core strength 3: Lying on the belly or up on hands and knees, we finish with diagonal pointers, leg extensions, shoulder and leg raises with moves that tighten the butt. A few quick stretches and your half hour is over. And you feel elated but broken.

The people in the class were of all ages and all shapes. Judging by the moans and groans and pools of sweat, everyone was happy with their performance and would be feeling the results the following day.

“CXWorx – A great work out for your core.”

I loved the class. Will it take off all over the UK? I imagine there might be resistance initially from clubs. They won’t want to pay another licence fee when they can convince themselves that their PTs can produce a similar experience for free. I think ultimately their attitude might change as people hear about CXWorx through word of mouth.

So CXWorx is a great express workout, not at all sure about the name though.

Over to you: Have you tried CXWorx yet? How did you feel afterwards? Have you seen results in your core? Please leave a comment and let me know.