Core Club: Spontaneous fitness in the Ritt Kellogg Climbing Gym

Written by Sarah Laico

It’s 9 p.m. on a Tuesday in the Ritt Kellogg Climbing Gym. You’ve attempted countless V1s, V2s, and V3s, and you’re wiped. But you’re still hungry for a challenge. Out of the corner of your eye, you see movement in the training room with the slackline and campus boards.

Turning from an admittedly exciting prospect of a V4, you find a group of first-years overzealously doing an abdominal workout and wonder how these people can be grinning through what looks to be a legitimate training session.

Little do you know, you’ve stumbled upon Core Club.

Initially proposed by Claire Bresnan ’19, Core Club is an informal, impromptu meeting of people willing to push their abs to the limit. Bresnan invited me and a couple other freshmen to join her as Jack Schrott ’19 led a challenging core workout of some of the more obscure ab exercises.

Though this first workout was difficult, the group agreed that doing a variety of core workouts would be beneficial to truly strengthen the abdominal muscles, and thus, Core Club was born. Now, whenever there’s a small group of climbers at the Ritt Gym, there’s almost assuredly a Core Club session to follow.

Anyone can lead a Core Club session, and you don’t necessarily need to have a full circuit already planned. Most of the exercises are chosen in the moment, depending on everyone’s energy level.

One thing remains consistent however: everyone’s enthusiasm for engaging their abs. If you’re not stoked to work on your core, you’ll undoubtedly be in pain.

To get a better sense of what kind of exercises Core Club does, here are some examples of what we’ve tried and some members’ favorite routines:

Claire’s bar core knee-to-elbow circuit:

Hang on bars or rings at a 90-degree lock-off in the arms. One rep involves several motions. Start by bringing your right knee to your right elbow, then bring left knee to your left elbow. Then bring your right knee to your left elbow, followed by your left knee to your right elbow. Then simultaneously bring both knees to your right elbow, then both to your left elbow. All of these motions are one rep. Maintain the lock-off throughout these movements and minimize swing. Perform 3 sets of 3 reps.

First-year Eva Bombeck’s workout:

Everyone lies in a circle on their backs. One by one, each person chooses an ab exercise for the group to do for 30 seconds. Go around the circle doing exercise as many times as desired, or at least for 5 minutes (10 exercises).

My personal favorite, “The Core Challenge”:

50 crunches

15 push-ups

1 minute plank

30 second side plank

1 minute bridge

15 push-ups

1 minute plank

30 second side plank

50 crunches

1 minute raised plank

2 minute bridge

50 crunches

In addition to these workouts, Claire and I attended Kayla Fratt ’16’s Hardcore Abs Class (Wednesdays from 4-5 p.m.), which also definitely works that core. Using a circuit repeated 3-4 times, Kayla leads you through a mix of planks, sit-ups, bicycles, flutter kicks, and so on. By the time the hour is over, you’re abs will be thanking you for taking a rest.

No matter your fitness level, if you love doing core, come join Core Club! We may not be official, or even have regular meeting times…but if you stop by the climbing gym on weeknights, you might just see us. Love for killer abdominal pain required!

Sarah Laico

Sarah Laico

Sarah is a junior from Warwick, New York. After being Head Writer of her high school paper, she has enjoyed continuing her passion for journalism working at the Catalyst. An outdoors enthusiast, Sarah loves to rockclimb, hike, ski, and trail run, and she also is a backpacking, rafting, and climbing leader for the Outdoor Education Center. When she is not editing for the Active Life section at the Catalyst or monitoring at CC's Ritt Kellogg Climbing Gym, Sarah can be found playing drums and eating cereal.

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