Louisville Recreation Center, 900 Via Appia Way, Louisville, 303-666-7400, louisvillerecreation.com
Instructor: Anastasia Benson, of Lafayette. She has been teaching for 12 years.
She started teaching water aerobics after her teacher left and asked her to take over the class. Later, she got certified through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. Since then, she has taught almost every kind of class: step, Pi-Yo, cycling, kickboxing. She began teaching Zumba 31/2 years ago and is certified in Zumba, Zumba Gold-Toning and Zumba Sentao.
What is the workout? A style of Zumba that uses a chair to strengthen and
Josie Black, right, participates in the Zumba Sentao class at the Louisville Recreation Center. Using a chair into as a dance partner, the explosive Zumba Sentao program strengthens your core, torches calories and sculpts muscle. ( CLIFF GRASSMICK )
sculpt, using targeted resistance training, as part of an upbeat cardio workout. “Sentao” is a spin off the Spanish word for “to sit” — but don’t let that fool you. This is not your grandmother’s chair exercise class (although your grandmother might love this). Because Sentao has the Zumba influence, it is lively, with simple Latin-style choreography, loud music, faster-paced and has tons of up and downs to get your heart pounding.
“Often when you see a chair, you think frail, elderly, and it’s not that way at all,” Benson says. “It’s a high energy, pretty powerful class that combines cardio and toning using your body weight.”
Benson has been offering this class for less than two months.
Class began with a warm-up and ended up with a long cool-down (more than five minutes). During the warm-up, we walked around the chair and got used to where the chair was in space and how we would be interacting with it. I really appreciated this, and I think it enhanced my ability to use it to its max.
What’s different? According to Zumba.com, this is the only Sentao class offered in Boulder County. Benson was part of the first group of teachers trained in Sentao in July.
Unlike other toning classes, this class has no equipment, other than the chair. Unlike regular Zumba, this class includes great strength-training moves.
Cost: $6 for a one-time drop-in resident of Louisville; $4 if you are older than 60. The rec center offers a variety of different passes to bring the prices down, including a slightly higher non-resident fee.
Level: The class is meant to be all levels. Benson says she aims to keep it around a six or seven on a 10-point exertion scale. I found it a solid seven.
I thought this class was equal to or maybe even a littler harder than many of the regular Zumba classes I’ve done, especially the core work — although Benson taught easier modifications for most of the challenging moves. Note: She taught those options and offered safety tips at the beginning of class, but a good number of people came into class late. Don’t do that. Especially in a class like this. It’s simple etiquette — and smart — to get to class a few minutes early.
My class had about 16 participants, mostly women, mostly middle age and up, because of the time of day. But this class would be appropriate for people of all ages, and I think a younger crowd would especially enjoy the music and funky dance moves.
When: 10:45-11:45 a.m. Fridays.
What to prepare: Wear regular exercise clothes and shoes, preferably Zumba or dance shoes that allow you to turn smoothly. Bring water. Although there is a fountain nearby, the Zumba flow is highly efficient with minimal downtime, so have water on hand.
Muscles worked: Full body, with an emphasis on core. I also felt it a lot in my hamstrings and triceps.
What I loved: This is a truly fun way to get in strength training. I especially enjoyed working the abs in a variety of different positions, none of which were lying on our backs doing crunches. We crunched standing, sitting, in plank, with one leg up on the chair — I can’t even list all of the different ways we killed our core.
What I didn’t like: As with any choreographed group exercise class, particularly toning classes, there is never enough emphasis on form to keep everyone’s bodies aligned and keep everyone as safe as possible. Sure, the moves were not too difficult and a basic fitness background would set most people up to succeed in this class, but it makes my knees hurt in empathy when I see students doing improper lunges and squats. I love the idea of choreographed toning to keep it fun, but if you aren’t experienced with strength training or you struggle with coordination or body awareness, I would recommend taking it easy for the first few classes and chatting with the teacher before class to have her keep an eye on your form, so you don’t get hurt.
How I felt after the class: Oh, I felt it. Right in my obliques. My core was exhausted. I also got a better cardio workout than I expected. It’s hard to combine cardio and toning, but this class does it well. I would go back.
— Reported by Aimee Heckel.
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- ^ louisvillerecreation.com (www.louisvillerecreation.com)
- ^ Zumba.com (www.Zumba.com)
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