Planking in the sand might not actually count as a trip to the beach, but if your crazy work schedule is standing between you and the surf, here’s one way you can feel the sand between your toes without leaving the city.
The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers’ Manhattan Beach Workout class, led by star trainer Andia Winslow, takes place in the crazy-giant fitness complex’s sand volleyball court, and you’ll ditch your sneakers before diving in.
It’s part of the center’s new small group Signature Program classes, introduced in February, which max out at 10 participants and are led by top personal trainers.
During class, Winslow puts you to work with running drills, core work, and strengthening and resistance training. In mine, we ran sprints with jogging breaks around the court, working on different aspects of running form in intervals. Then, we did strengthening exercises like walking squats, push-ups, and plank variations. At the end, we got into our surroundings even more, using volleyballs for core and agility work and passing them back and forth while shuffling down the court with a partner.
Winslow has a laid-back training style that makes the class feel fun and fresh, and her athlete cred—she’s a former pro golfer and trained with USA Track & Field—is a huge asset, too. She knows how to take advantage of the sand in a smart way that would definitely help runners improve their gait and form (the sand helps you train your body to land on your forefoot) and will help all athletes, casual or series, build injury-preventing foot and ankle strength.
Oh, and there’s also the added effort. You really don’t realize how hard the sand is making your body work until you’re suddenly, unexpectedly breathless—and your limbs ache the next day. Perhaps it’ll also inspire you to bang out some lunges during your next Rockaways beach day?—Lisa Elaine Held
The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers, Pier 60 at 23rd Street and the Hudson River, free for full access members, www.chelseapiers.com/sc