Fitness Feature Class Report: ShockWave Instructor Training

Tamera Clifton

Class:  ShockWave Instructor Training

Date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Location: Bo Jackson Building, Nike World Headquarters, Beaverton, OR

Instructors: Jay Blahnik and Josh Crosby

Before I heard of the ShockWave workout, I never in a million years imagined myself looking forward to getting on a rowing machine. As a 25-year veteran of the fitness industry, I have always had a theoretical appreciation for the apparatus, the ways in which it benefits to the body, and especially the ways in which it differs from other cardio machines. That said, its appeal was rather elusive - until Jay Blahnik and Josh Crosby arrived in Beaverton.

Last month, world-class trainer Jay Blahnik and world-champion rower Josh Crosby came to the Nike campus to host a training for local instructors on this high-intensity format that until now has been taught only at Equinox clubs. They took us through both the 30-minute and the 45-minute versions of ShockWave, and I can attest that you can, and will, empty your tank during the course of this workout.

Most like:  No circuit training class you have ever seen. Like no other group exercise class you have ever seen, in fact, in that every person in the room is focused on the success of everyone else in the room, you almost forget how hard you are working. Almost - your muscles will remind you. Constantly.

Intensity:  Jay joked that there is a recovery interval built into the workout – at the end. The work is balls-to-the-walls hard from start to finish with just enough time to catch your breath in between. The pace feels driven, not frantic, as you are working for the team. The intervals are not timed, but are driven by the rowers finishing a distance. This seemingly small detail is in fact the magic of ShockWave. It is inspiring to be in a room full of participants so fully invested in the success of the group.

Equipment: ShockWave utilizes the Indo-Row Studio Rowing Machine, notable for 1) using water as resistance (just like real rowing!) and 2) its unique monitor, which makes rowing for predetermined distances or times a snap in a fast-paced interval-training environment.

Flow: With four exercises in the 30-minute version, and eight stations in the 45-minute version, it is very easy to follow. The instructor can choose the exercises from a library of options, so with a little thought about planes of motion and complementary activities, it can flow nicely from rowing to a variety of upper body, lower body, and core exercises that all have a multi-joint, “big bang” impact on the body. There was nothing so complex that it would cause confusion, although there are several clever variations that I had not seen.

Target Audience: One of my favorite things about ShockWave is that it is very clearly defined as not for everyone. Jay and Josh both state very clearly that this is a workout that is high intensity, high energy, and not for the meek. There is a lot of sweat flying, and a lot of whooping and hollering. Sometimes in group exercise we can get so caught up in the durm and strang of finding a modification for everything, we end up setting the bar lower for the group. This class is for whoopers and holler-ers. There are level options for the strength exercises, but even the level 1 burpee is still a burpee. While everyone will be welcome (and vigorously supported) in ShockWave, it will set the bar high, and work upward from there.

Teachability: I can’t wait to teach this class. While the exercises are simple enough, there are some very real teaching opportunities – rowing was new to almost everyone in our room full of trainers and instructors – the role of instructor in this class is to motivate the individual, the team, and the class as a whole.

Music: High energy is the only requirement. As Jay said, you don’t want to put on a spinning play list – pity the team stuck on the rowers during the slow hill climb song. Keep it perky and you’re golden.

Progression: This might be the best part. In ShockWave, the measurement of your success is built into the formula. The non-rowing strength exercises will rotate periodically, but the driving force of ShockWave is the rowing. You may be first, last, or somewhere in between in any given class, given the strength of your current team, but the data does not lie. If you row 300 meters in 2.5 minutes on Tuesday, then row 300 meters in 2.4 minutes on Thursday, you have a tangible measure of success. We all love the data, and in ShockWave, the numbers don’t lie – you provide your own progression.

High-intensity training is all the rage now, and while it isn’t for everyone, and maybe shouldn’t be the only form of training we recommend to our clients, it can be an important part of almost anyone’s training regimen. ShockWave is such an ideal combination of intensity, energy, team spirit, and fun for our participants, while beautifully simple to implement. I can’t see it being anything but a “win” on the schedule.


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