Shock and awe: Classes take circuit training to new level

Participants have to invest in each other

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian health reporter

Published:

 

The group class room is full. Full of voices cheering. Full of lyrics from Eminem's "

ShockWave

For more information about ShockWave classes, visit Northwest Personal Training or call 360-574-7292.

Lose Yourself" song. Full of sweaty, out-of-breath people.

At one station, women are balancing on Bosus, steadying themselves on the halved rubber balls before lowering their bodies into a squat position and standing back up.

At another, men and women are holding the plank position — bodies propped up on their elbows with their feet stretched out behind them, their backs straight.

At the third station, the group members raise a bar over their heads, then place it down on exercise steps before kicking their legs out and dropping into a pushup.

And at the middle of it all is the line of rowing machines. As a group of red-faced men and women propel their bodies back and forth on the machine, the rest of the class shouts out words of encouragement and, occasionally, pleas for faster rowing.

"Come on rowers!" "Let's go rowers!"

Then, in less than a minute, it's over … at least until it starts again 15 seconds later.

By all appearances, the class, ShockWave, is just another form of circuit training. But what makes ShockWave different than every other type of circuit training is the psychological component and the intensity, said Ted Schatz, a personal trainer and class instructor at Northwest Personal Training in Vancouver.

The class is divided into four stations: upper body, lower body, core and rowing. The rowers are given a distance and the starting signal. Everyone at the other stations must continue their workout until all of the rowers reach the given distance. Because the workout hinges on the speed of the rowers, participants at other stations often cheer for the rowers, hoping to motivate them to row a little faster.

"Everybody steps it up a notch," Schatz said.

Depending on the rowing distance — Schatz usually keeps the distance between 150 and 300 meters — each station can take anywhere from 30 seconds to more than a minute.

The class begins with a warm-up round, which is followed by three ShockWave rounds. The entire class lasts only 30 minutes.

"It's a fun class," said Mike Turnbull of Vancouver. "It goes really fast."

As someone who takes group classes year-round, Turnbull said some classes can begin to drag.

But "ShockWave never drags," he said.

The intensity of the class makes up for the brevity.

"It's crazy intense," said Maggie Traverso of Milwaukie, Ore. "It's super-high-intensity. Your competitive nature gets going. That element makes it that much more intense."

Kara Carlson of Vancouver teaches and takes ShockWave classes at Northwest Personal Training. In a recent class, she burned 350 calories in the half-hour workout.

"I think it's the best bang for your buck," Carlson said. "It's a total body workout in 30 minutes."

Northwest Personal Training is one of the only facilities in the Northwest to offer the ShockWave program, Schatz said. The program first launched last year at Equinox fitness clubs in the Boston area.

After giving a group of rowers the starting signal at a recent class, Schatz reminded everyone of the class name.

"It's not called 'a little wave.' It's not called 'no wave.' It's called 'ShockWave!'" he shouted. "Shock your bodies."