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Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Jo's yoga to thank for my super plank

This weekend was the annual Glasgow Tri Club training weekend. As usual we enjoyed two days of excellent coaching across each of the three disciplines and a lot of fun and socialising. Also, as usual, we took part in a hilarious Mini Olympics.

This year events included "how many Rolos can you get in your mouth at once" (fantastic effort from Nick who managed to squeeze in a stunning 32 Rolos!), "high jump over a rope of elastic bands" (top marks went to the bloke in the flowery pants) , "fastest transition", "50m swim" and "the plank".

Again, as usual, the latter event was won by Super Plank Holder Ray who held his super straight position for more than five minutes. (His record is eight minutes, I believe). But in second place came... me! It did come as something of a surprise since the last time I held a plank was some two years ago. Back then I think I squeezed out an agonising two minutes.

While I do keep cardio fit I do not do sit ups, nor indeed do I ever really focus on my core muscles at all. So the only explanation for my four-minute plank on Saturday is Ashtanga Yoga. It seems that thanks to two years of Jo Lockhart's Ashtanga-style Yoga classes (once a week for 90 minutes) I have developed a strong core. In fact I've developed the strongest core I've ever had - and muscles that helped me to beat all but Super Plank Holder Ray. (This is some feat given the number of fit folk in the GTC!).

I guess I knew that Jo's Yoga class was a tough workout but I hadn't realised quite how good it's been for my core strength. My improved muscles also explain why I rarely suffer from back ache anymore, and why I have been much less prone to general injuries from running over the last 18 months.

So perhaps you might now be interested in giving Ashtanga Yoga a go. Jo runs a number of classes in the Bearsden and Strathblane areas, and has recently started a new beginner's class. I'm hoping to make a real challenge on Super Ray at next year's tri club training weekend (I just hope he doesn't read this blog and join Jo's class in the meantime!)

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