As you now know, last Saturday was New England Spahtens day at Unleashed. They put on a special 3-hour session for members of the group, and even opened it to the public. You know I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity to meet members of the group I had recently joined, so I made sure I was prepped and ready to go. I was a little anxious about meeting new people, but Tara gave me an awesome card that made me feel a little better.
It was scheduled from 1:30-4:30, so I planned on getting there early to take some pics before it crowded. I ended up getting there just after 1:00 and there was already a line out the door of people signing in! I think close to 60 people showed up and the place was packed. The first 2 hours of the session were going to be like a regular OCF class and then an hour of “play” time to practice any obstacles we wanted. Before it kicked off, Kevin was busy setting up each station, so they opened up the swap table for people to grab any items people had brought in that they didn’t want/need or to donate some items that they don’t use anymore. There was a good amount of stuff donated, but nothing I was really interested in that day.
Prior to getting the class going, Kevin gathered us all up to explain the stations he had set up and told us to split into teams of 3 people. I joined up with the two that happened to be standing next to me while he was going over instructions, Sylvia and Scott. I got really lucky, too. I couldn’t have asked for better teammates.
Closer to 2:00, we started our warm-up. Kevin yelled out to follow him and out the door we went! It was a decent day weather-wise (highs in the low 50s I think) so it was the first time I’d ventured outside as part of his class. We ran down and out of the gym parking lot to a small park around the corner, over some walls and a picnic table and then down to a small basketball court where we did 1 minute of burpees. After that, we climbed back up the wall/rocks and ran back to the gym.
We lined up at the door and were assigned stations by team. I have no idea what some of the obstacles are “officially” called, so I’ll give you a basic description of the horror. I also might not go in the exact order we did them, but basically it’s as close as I can remember of an order. I also didn’t start taking pictures until almost halfway through.
Our first obstacle was going to be the tall wall w/ rope. It’s a 10 ft high wooden wall with a rope draped over it that you use to climb up to the top and over. No big deal, right? My progress has gotten better on this particular obstacle. When I first started, I couldn’t put both feet up on the wall so I modified and basically hung there as long as I could to increase my grip strength. Now I can get both feet up for a few seconds before I slip back down.
Next up, one of my personal faves was the tire flip. Pretty self explanatory. Since they had 3 tires of varying sizes, we all swapped here and there. Oddly enough, I thought the biggest tire was slightly lighter than the smaller one, but that could be my imagination. I absolutely love doing the flips and wish we did them in our regular class more.
After my beloved tire was the kettlebell hoist. Basically all the hoist is a battle rope tied around a kettlebell handle that we lift up to the top of the monkey bar cage and then lower it back down. I can do the smallest and middle size now, but still can’t lift the big boy (which I think is 70 lb). One of the guys there was telling us that the big boy is the weight the ladies lift at a Spartan Race, but it’s easier because at the race it’s on a pulley. Hopefully this is true, otherwise I’ll be doing some punishment burpees!
Next up, muscle ups on the rings. This, for me, is a joke. I can’t even get up and stay in a muscle up position. I get up on the padded mat (which even gives me a height advantage) and give a slight jump to boost myself up, but then my arms/chest can’t handle the weight and I can’t stay up. I tried not jumping, too, because they suggested it might be easier, but couldn’t do it at all that way. Definitely something I need to work on much, much more. This would probably help with my wall climbing once I get it down.
Back to my “monkey ropes”. I don’t know what these are technically called, maybe traverse ropes. If you know, feel free to comment! Basically, you hang upside down from them and work your way from one side to the other. I made a little progress on this obstacle as well. I usually just hang because I don’t have the grip to move one hand over the other, but this time I think I actually moved a couple of feet!
I found this pic online – this is what I’m talking about
From this we moved right into monkey bars, where I made the slightest progress as well. Instead of doing a one arm, one rung strategy, one of the spotters suggested that I move one bar, two hands at a time. So basically, grab a rung and then move my second hand to that same rung and reset before reaching for the next bar. This was much easier and I can see myself getting better at this now that I know this technique works better. Then maybe I won’t throw my shoulder out anymore!
On to the rope climb, which I still can’t do, so I did my modification which is just to lower myself down as flat as possible and then pull myself back up, over and over. Boring. Someday I will own that rope. They will have to rename it the Courtney Rope because I will dominate it.
Another difficult one for me was up after that, which is the ladder climb. They recently just replaced the ladder with a thinner, more stable rope as opposed to the yellow rope ladder they used to have hanging there. Either way, they swing too much for my liking and it scares me. I usually go up 1-2 steps, hang there and come back down. I just don’t feel safe on that sucker.
From there was a new obstacle I was VERY excited to try out that they just built the week before – the traverse wall! It was SO much fun. I wasn’t very good at it, but I liked doing it. Apparently I cheated though, because they said in a race you’re not allowed to grab the top of the wall to help yourself along, which I did probably half a dozen times. I think I’ll like playing on that one next time.
Another new item was up next, also built last week – the wall climb. There were 3 variations, but I only did the straight up version which was basically 2×4’s bolted to the wall. They also had one that reminded me of American Ninja Warrior where you use pegs to climb and then the third was basically using a sideways pinch grip, which even Kevin had trouble with and he’s part monkey!
A new fresh hell was introduced after this – the outdoor sled. This is basically the same idea as the indoor sleds, except we were pushing it on the asphalt parking lot and it had no slide to it. Soooo much harder than on the turf inside. To give you a comparison, inside on the turf, I can push the sled loaded with 4 x 45 lb plates for a total of somewhere around 250 lb (when you include sled weight). The outside sled only had 2 x 35 lb plates on it and we couldn’t budge it! We had to take 1 plate off and it was still really tough!
From there, we came back inside for another new to me obstacle – the “barbed wire” course. Kevin basically took all the kickboxing bags, lined them up in rows of two and strung rope around the bottoms. We then had to crawl under, or in my case I rolled under, the length of the ropes (maybe 20 feet or so).
If you survived the “barbed wire”, you moved on to a special hell called sand bags. We had to alternate between lifting/flipping/squatting them and lifting/flipping/overhead pressing them. Tons o’ fun.
One of my other favorites awaited me next which is the plyoboxes. You basically just have to run and jump over them however you can. This is where I think I got this fresh scrape on my shin. That tends to happen when I lift my left leg (which is my follow leg) up after jumping up because I think I scrape it along the velcro that holds the various size plyoboxes together. No matter though because I have so much fun crawling over them.
My punishment for enjoying the plyoboxes too much was that my next obstacle was the TRX. OK, so maybe it was just next in the rotation, but it felt like punishment. At this point of the rotation, I was hurting. For this item, we had to rotate around 4 exercises for the entire time we were at this location: hop squats, alternating jump lunges, rows and push-ups.
Moving on, we had one sled we had to pull with the battle rope, then pull it back to the start by the “dog bone”. After that, we dragged the body bags down forwards one way and backwards on the way back. And lastly on the turf was the other sled, where we had to push it with high bars in one direction and back in the other direction by the low bars.
And lastly, my nemesis – the wooden wall. We had to try to get over both the 6ft and 8ft walls. I still can’t get over the 6ft, so I would try and then roll under it as instructed. I’m getting slightly higher, but not enough yet that I can swing my leg up.
After we finished our circuit, it was “play” time. Some people started practicing other obstacles, but I was toasted after 2 straight hours of amazingness. I chatted with Scott and Sylvia for a few and then looked outside and forgot all about the new spear throwing station they just got! I hopped on over to watch and then jumped in a few times to try my hand at throwing the spear. I think I threw 3 times, and never once reached the hay bales, but I blame the wind. I will say, not a lot of people made it to the hay bales and I think I only saw one person actually stick the spear.
All in all I think they put on a FANTASTIC class for everybody and I loved meeting so many new people. Unleashed is like the ultimate adult playground!