I Tried The Spiderbands Workout & Feel More Empowered Than Ever
I’m all for increasing my endorphins and lowering my stress levels a notch, but after having an ankle injury and surgery a few years back, I’ve toggled with workouts that would be good for both my mental health and my body. Settling for low-impact exercises, I ultimately couldn’t find anything that got my heart racing or reached the ideal sweat sesh I craved. I was committed to getting back in the workout game because my fall body should be just as salient as my summer body. When I was on the hunt for a steady exercise regimen (my New Year’s resolution came early this year), I found Spiderbands, a new cult-favorite class that gave me all the empowerment feelz I was searching for. If you’re spidey-senses are tingling, read on:
I met with Franci Cohen at her new studio a day after she hosted their launch event. “Let me take your things and show you to our locker room,” an instructor greeted me as I walked into the brightly lit studio on east 14th street. Situated down the block from The New School, I pictured college students fitting in a workout during their free time.
A rack of spider branded clothing caught my eye and I mentally prepared to shell out my recent paycheck on the *fierce* black and white sets. Dress powerful, feel powerful, right?
“I’ve been teaching for almost 24 years, and have taught and created over 200 different classes. I hold dozens of certifications, including AFAA, ACE, ACSM, and NASM. A triple bachelors in BFA English Writing, BS Nutrition, BS Exercise Physiology and a double Masters in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. I’ve taught at all the major fitness clubs and gyms on the east coast,” Franci says — while it’s intimidating to have a real-life fitness wizard in my midst, that also meant a real-life fitness wizard was instructing my body movements and for that, I’m grateful. From the moment I stepped onto the trampoline, I knew I was in good hands. We warmed up by jogging in place and started to incorporate the lightweight bands draped in front of us, which helps focus on compound movements.
Franci describes this compound movement method as using various body parts and muscles simultaneously throughout different planes of motions. While my feet were pounding up and down, my hands were looped into the band’s handles and pulling down on the ropes as my elbows bent and unbent in one swift movement. That was a mouthful, but it wasn’t as difficult as it sounds — even for a newbie. As the spidey ropes were pulling me up by a gravitational pull, I was fighting back with my *superhuman strength* to pull it back down. I was basically involved in an adult game of tug-of-war.
That part was easy. The two bands in one hand portion is where things got difficult… As I turned my body clockwise, I grabbed two of the bands that were once on opposite sides of me with just one hand. This portion was a mix of kickboxing, jumping, and squats, and I knew by today’s end my whole body would be burning — but in that super satisfying way.
Squat, straddle, repeat… But with a twist. You’ll have to take the class to see what I mean but let’s just say it was a complete upper body workout before we got to kicking some ass…
No (good) workout is complete without some ass-kicking, of this I’m nearly certain. Similar to the jab motions from earlier on, we completed a pattern of rounded kicks and jogging in place between each interval to keep up the heart rate. By this time, the heart rate was at an all-time high.
Ass-kicking completed, we needed to rid of our trust issues and let gravity do its thing to bear-hug it out. (Disclaimer: I am not doing this portion correctly in the photo as my elbows are not bent and my booty is clearly pointed downwards as opposed to stiff and straight. Hey, I never claimed I was a real-life fitness wizard after all. That’s why we see the professionals.)
At this point, we let the bands do the rest of the work in true Spiderwoman style with a slingy twist on your average ab workouts. By the end of the sweat session I’d been craving for so long, I felt more empowered than I’ve felt in a long time. “Spider integrates cardio, strength, and toning into one cohesive workout that yields amazing results in record time,” Franci explains when I ask her why it left me feeling so strong compared to other workouts that leave me feeling weak. She was right, Spiderbands left me stuck in their web.