There’s an episode of “Fame” where Debbie Allen has the high school football team take her dance class. The dancers kick the jocks’ butts in flexibility and coordination, of course, but they also trounce them in strength and endurance.
What’s my point? If you want your workouts to have an impact on your range of motion, you might want to cross-train with a dancer.
This is not just another Lotte Berk-style barre class. This demanding class puts isolation-focused core work into motion with the promise of amping up your athleticism (and further chiseling your abs, shoulders, arms, and butt). “Any sport done well requires knowledge of your core, which is not easy to get to in various mediums,” says Ingram, who likes the brass-tacks class with almost no choreography as a counter to ballet.
In fact, Ingram’s manner was more NFL than Nijinsky as he emphasized correct alignment and tuning in to your body during the sequence of squats, twists, jump-backs, and push-ups—all using a destabilizing 6-pound ball with handles to keep your concentration on your core. (Its butch agenda also seems to draw more men than traditional Core Fusion.)
Each exercise emphasizes strength-in-motion training, engaging the core with two or more muscle groups, like triceps and glutes, while factoring in a third component: movement. “We get several things done at once,” says Ingram, who considers intensely small resistance-band stretches for legs and glutes a cool-down.
But can this “core in motion” concept that dancers are so good at make us better at other sports or even more able to tie our shoes? Ingram thinks so.
“A big motif of the class is moving with the added weight of the ball: leaving your center of gravity and coming back, and doing this from the core with control. That’s just like beautiful golf or tennis swing. A controlled, powerful movement from the center.”
Core Fusion Sport, $35 for non-members, is available at two Exhale Spa locations in New York, www.exhalespa.com