A few weeks ago, I found myself just outside of Austin, Texas at Travaasa, which is an “experiential resort” — also known as the happiest place on earth for an active, adventure-loving, zen-seeking gal like me. (To be totally transparent, my food and accommodations were covered by Travaasa as payment for a campaign we did with them last year, but I wasn’t required to write about my trip at all. Just so you know.)
Jared and I were only there for two nights, but we wanted to get in just as many experiences as possible — and it wasn’t a problem, because the resort offers an enormous selection experiences in five categories: fitness, adventure, culinary, culture and spa/wellness. And the vast majority are free for guests staying on property!
We got in a massage and some meditation right off the bat, but on our second day, we got in some kiiind of epic adventures. We hiked, we threw hatchets at targets, we even conquered the Prickly Pear Challenge Course (which, at 35 feet in the air, was one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done — have I mentioned my crippling fear of heights? Words came out of my mouth that I didn’t even know I knew up there.).
And we also hit the bike pump track, which was the inspiration for this workout. (Do you know what a pump track is? I didn’t, but Jared was super, uhhh, pumped about it, and it didn’t take much convincing to get me to try something new on a bike.)
So, it might not look like all that much — woooo, stand on a bike and roll slowly around a small course, over rollers and around berms. So scary, right?
Actually, it really was. I had to take a few deep breaths before starting the course every single time.
And it’s a hell of a workout. Your legs stay in a semi-squat the whole time (unless you’re pedaling — the idea is to get around without having to pedal, but, well, some of us got to that point, like Jared, and some of us … did not), your arms are in constant use as you balance your body weight and shift side to side, and your core? Well, if you’re at all like me, everything from your glutes to your chin stays pretty engaged out of nerves, if nothing else, the whole time. After my first successful ride around the whole track, I proclaimed that 60 seconds tougher than a half Ironman. I wasn’t kidding.
Anyway, it got me thinking about some exercises I could do to work those muscles when I don’t have access to a pump track, because yeah, it was a nerve-wracking experience, but I was so excited to have done it … and my thigh muscles were crazy sore after the fact.
Pump Track-Inspired Workout
Do the following exercises three times through. Go for 30 seconds each on the first round, 1 minute on the second round, and 90 seconds on the third round. Take a two-minute break between rounds, but try not to take more than 30 seconds between each exercise within the round — don’t take a true rest until you complete the full circuit. And while the goal for the moving exercises is to get in lots of reps, do not sacrifice form to do it. Getting this workout in a few times should get your fully ready to rock your way around some sweet berms and pump over some rollers.
Wall Sits: Get those knees to 90 degrees.
Mountain Climbers: Keep your butt low and move those feet fast.
Squats: Get low. Then get lower.
Bicycle crunches: Elbow to opposite knee.
Alternating forward lunges: Maintain good form — make sure you can always see that front foot, and keep your knee in line with the second toe. Go as low as you can with that in mind.
Plank: Your choice of high or low; just engage that whole body!
Have you ever gone out on a pump track? How did you do? I had one full on wipe out, and there were a few times when I couldn’t quite stay on course, but the fact that I had at least a couple of trips where I made it the whole way around makes me believe it’s entirely doable for most people! —Kristen