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Exercise equipment is not limited to your local gym or recreation center. It can be found anywhere and at any time. However, to see the equipment that is all around you, you must change the way you view your environment. As a traceur, you already have a head start on gaining this perspective; you see obstacles as opportunities for movement. A natural variation of this perspective is to also see obstacles as exercise equipment. An every day, common rail, bench, tree, or wall can all be turned into an incredibly versatile piece of exercise equipment. In this edition of Urban Exercise Equipment, we will explore the exercise possibilities of a basic rail.
The number of different exercises you can do with a basic rail is huge. Imagine you are standing in front of a basic rail with one horizontal bar on top and the occasional vertical bar securing it to the ground. Let me take you through my thought process when I am thinking about the exercise potential of this piece of equipment.
This rail is about three feet tall. I can train my legs by jumping onto it or over it. I can train my upper body with the rail through many different pulling and pushing movements. I can develop basic flexibility and coordination by crawling or ducking underneath the rail. I could even do all sorts of quadrupedal movement variations weaving under and through the rails. What about contacting the rail? I could hang underneath and pull myself along. Or I could get on top the rail and do the same thing. Or I could balance in various ways along the rail. Balance. One of the unique attributes of the rail as an exercise apparatus is that it can be very difficult to keep balance on top of it. Many basic exercises can be made more difficult with a rail. Squats, push ups, plant plyos, handstands, static holds, all on a rail. Every one of these exercises will be significantly harder on a rail because of the balance and proprioception skills required. Since the rail requires so much balance, I will be forced to use my stabilizer muscles and core muscles more than usual. Last of all, if the rail is long enough, I can combine different exercises for continuous movement along the rail; providing great conditioning and cardio opportunities.
In this video, you will find a sample of exercises you can do with a simple rail. In order of appearance, they are:
Incline push ups
Quadrupedal movement (basic)
Decline push ups
Decline push up traverse
Hip balance plank
Plyo push ups
Cat balance push ups
Cat balance plank
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