Training Tuesdays: The Most Awkward of Training Exercises Ever

I am the worst for not doing the exercises my physiotherapists recommend for me. My best track record to date was the time I did clamshells every day for two weeks. In the moment, it felt like climbing my own personal Everest. In hindsight and based on my current injury, it is evident that two weeks of clamshells are clearly not enough to permanently strengthen one’s glutes.  But seriously, does anyone do their rehab exercises?!?! (Seriously, if you do, I want comments and magical secrets that will transform me from the stubborn, lazy fool that I am into a wizard of obedience).

Despite my deep-seated aversion to following orders, now that I’m shelling out an ungodly amount of money every week on physio and personal training sessions, I figure it’s time to get over myself and just do it.  My trainer has given me a very manageable set of exercises to do just twice in between our sessions.  Combined, they take maybe 40 minutes and most of them are things I’ve done before (albeit with poor form), so it all feels manageable.

Everything I’ve just said applies to all but one move, which I’ve now deemed to be the most awkward of exercises that I have come across. Ever. This move is the dreaded soft roll.

Not familiar with the soft roll? Imagine yourself as a beached whale trying to roll itself over using only its head and one of its fins.  It’s modeled after how babies turn their heads and their bodies follow, without engaging their lower bodies at all. Still need more? I included a video for you to witness its awkwardness firsthand (thankfully without having to see me do it).

I find this move perplexing.  We all learn to walk precisely so that we can engage our legs. Now, as an adult, I find myself intentionally trying to mimic an uncoordinated baby.  As a side note, I’m also fairly incapable of successfully performing this move. Congratulations lower body, after years of being forced into use, you’re now unable to just back off and let my core do the work.

This is all aside from my real issue with this move, however, which is that it looks awkward as hell. I will fully admit that I am easily embarrassed by looking ridiculous.  It was one thing to do this exercise in the relatively quiet training studio, where only my trainer could silently judge my inability to roll over.  It is quite another to witness the suspicious side-eye from total strangers at my popular, downtown gym.

I wave my white flag of shame. I cannot do this exercise in public, which is problematic as it’s meant to be my warm up to everything else in my training program. And I am certain that when I arrive at my next training session tomorrow my trainer will know that I have not practiced this move.  I’m convinced trainers have an uncanny sixth sense about these things, like how dentists always know you haven’t been flossing.  Although that’s probably more about the bleeding gums…At any rate, her superhuman intuition will just know I’ve been cheating, and she will only grow more certain when she asks me to do a soft roll and I fail to complete even one with proper form.

But I will feel no guilt in the face of her judgment and disappointment. No, I will stand steadfastly behind my decision to avoid the soft roll in public spaces. Because, seriously, doesn’t it look a bit ridiculous?


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