This was honestly one of the hardest workout classes I’ve tried so far. I chose this workout because I was in the mood for a quick exercise fix, something that would cover all my bases (cardio and strength) for the week so I wouldn’t feel too guilty about not finding more time to workout later (ah… midterm season). The name seemed to indicate that this class was what I was looking for, and the description on Penn State’s fitness website simply says it’s a class of half cardio and half muscle building that changes on a daily basis. I wanted cardio, I wanted to work my full body, so I gave this class a shot.
In the class I went to, we started with about 20 minutes of cardio, then did 10 minutes of arm workouts, 15 minutes of cardio/ab workouts, and ended with 15 minutes of leg workouts. The cardio was broken up into different sets of moves. For example, one set brought in kickboxing elements. We did jumping jacks, boxer shuffles, high jabs, middle jabs, and low jabs, then repeated a pattern multiple times. The most difficult cardio set we did was a HIIT workout, which stands for High Intensity Interval Training. Essentially, you do designated exercises at the highest possible intensity for three minutes, get one minute of rest, then repeat. Some of the exercises we did during the HIIT portion were star jumps, burpees with a medicine ball, lunges with shoulder presses, and a dynamic plank where you roll the medicine ball from under one hand to the next. The HIIT cardio set was towards the end of the class when I was already exhausted, so it was really difficult for me to get through. I’ve included a HIIT workout from Youtube below so you can get a sense of what it’s like if you’re interested.
The muscle part of the class was pretty standard except for the use of a medicine ball, which I’d never used before. It’s about the size of a volleyball but much heavier (perhaps around 10 pounds). We used the ball for a lot of the cardio moves and for the arm workout, which included forward arm raises, shoulder presses, and tricep dips. If you’ve never used a medicine ball before, you might find these exercises a little more difficult (I know I certainly did). The fact that you’re squeezing the ball between your hands while doing all the normal arm exercises adds an additional layer of muscle work/exhaustion. Our second muscle set was focused on legs and felt like a nice transition into a cool down. We ended up doing side planks and some different leg lifts that focused on the outer thighs.
One of the longer classes offered at Penn State, this workout is an hour long. When I was figuring out which class to go to, it didn’t really register in my head that this class was going to be simultaneously more intense and longer than the classes I was used to doing. That’s probably why by the time I was around 50% done with the class I was already fairly exhausted. Because of that, I feel like this class would be excellent not only for cardiovascular health and muscle building, but also for improving endurance (this class is hard but it’s definitely effective in multiple ways). This class was high intensity and kept me moving/on my feet; however, you can make this class easier and modify certain moves if you need to. The instructor in my class showed a lot of modifications so that you can personalize the workout to a level that is right for you. TL;DR this is an awesome workout for both cardio and strength training for people of all skill levels, but be prepared to work hard!