Hip & Healthy: Kangoo Bootcamp

When I prepare for a marathon, running is my central focus. The variety in my training tends to dwindle as I find it hard to fit in — or summon the energy for — other workout classes. But for the past few months, I have been noticing fliers for a new workout called Kangoo. Finally, this week I decided to give it a try. I went into my first Kangoo experience full force, skipping the intro class and going straight for Kangoo Bootcamp.

I was nervous as I entered the studio, but I wasn’t about to leave without at least trying it. So I grabbed a pair of Kangoo Jumps and started strapping them on. Kangoo Jumps are rebound-exercise shoes that look like roller blades on the top, but have rebounding springs on the bottom. Once I had them on, the next task was standing up. I carefully made my way to my feet from all fours. If standing was difficult, how could I workout in these things?

I didn’t have long to wonder as the instructor wasted no time starting the class.  She instructed us to start bouncing.  At first, I barely left the ground for fear of toppling over. But we soon moved on to jump twists and by the second set I had found my confidence and my balance and was pretty comfortable bouncing up and down to Maroon 5.

The class was a combination of rebounding, step-aerobics, strength work and a touch of yoga.  We started with jumps back and forth across the room and in various directions, which had me out of breath in only five minutes. Then we moved onto standing lunges and squats. The Kangoo shoes added a balance element making them much more challenging than the ones I typically do in my sneakers. 

Whether we were lunging and raising our knees, running around the room or shuffling side-to-side, my heart rate was up. I wasn’t confident or coordinated enough to do all of the steps and I had to take breaks to catch my breath. But I definitely felt like I had a great cardio workout.

After 30 minutes of jumping around, the strength work on the floor was much welcomed. We moved to the mat for pushups and plank variations. Then, we worked the leg and seat with donkey kicks, leg lifts and bent-knee pulses. The weight of the Kangoo shoe added difficulty –  my leg was burning after just three exercises.  Finally, we took off the shoes for final ab work. We ended with stretches and a few minutes in Shavasana.

My first attempt at Kangoo went fairly well. The fun pop music kept me energized throughout the class and I felt like I got a full-body, yet low-impact, workout by the time the 45 minutes were up. Kangoo Jumps take a while to get the hang of and I will definitely have to take a few more classes before I am fully comfortable squatting, lunging and completing the moves successfully.

Next time, I plan to try the foundation class or the dance version so I can learn the basics before diving back into the bootcamp. But I am already thinking about my next class, I would say that’s the mark of an engaging workout.

Kangoo classes are offered at the New York Health and Racquet Club and at select locations through trainer Mario Green. Kangoo Jumps can also be purchased for personal uses – even running – online.

Melissa is a NYC resident and workout junkie. She keeps motivated to stay fit and active by trying out new workout classes, signing up for races, and keeping an eye out for a fun fitness challenge. She hopes to complete the New York City Marathon for the second time in 2011. Read more about her healthy adventures in New York City at her blog fitnessnyc.wordpress.com.

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