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Queens Chronicle

Punk Rope: child’s play or a new fitness fad?

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Posted: Thursday, February 3, 2011 12:00 am

PART II in a series

˜ am sure you all have read about different fitness crazes sweeping the nation. From the Hollywood Cookie Diet to zumba, I have always felt left out.

I can’t subsist on cookies, and I’m still pretty sure the zumba is some sort of vacuum.

That being said, in the second week of my induction into the world of modern health and wellness, I decided to try my luck with an exercise class called Punk Rope. Who knows, it could be the next big thing.

I arrived at the YMCA in Long Island City and signed up for a free weeklong trial membership, not knowing what to expect. Our tattooed and cheerful instructor, Kimmy Reilly, explained that Punk Rope is a mixture of jumping rope and relay games designed to give an overall cardio workout.

Founded in 2004 by Tim Haft and first demonstrated at the LIC YMCA in 2005, the routine is designed to be one that everyone can enjoy — exercise that feels more like play than work. Today more than 600 instructors are certified to teach the jubilant jumprope classes which center around fast-paced music and themed workouts.

“Today is Australia day,” Reilly announced to our all-ages class. “And how could we have Australia day without famous Australian Olivia Newton John?” Reilly pressed play on the stereo and the song “Let’s Get Physical” boomed. I knew I was meant to be in this class.

Every song we moved to had something to do with Australia, and all the music was pretty good. Who knew Australia had so much to offer? The Distillers, a well known punk band, was apparently formed by Australia natives Brody Dale and Kim Chi — Punk Rope was a learning experience.

After we warmed up with some stretches, Reilly said that all our relay exercises, performed in between jumprope sessions, would incorporate animals of the outback.

At this point, many of the adults in the class considered leaving, but out of curiosity, or perhaps a desire to reconnect with their childhood, they did not. After all, fun shouldn’t just be for kids while we adults are left to suffer, feeling the burn of boring situps.

Before long, our class was doing the downward facing dingo and running away from the two children who had been turned into sharks.

While this workout may seem childish, we all felt the burn as we huffed and puffed across the floor. The grownups were having just as much fun as their youthful counterparts, hopping on one foot after the class sharks attacked them.

Gawkers had gathered to stare through the room’s glass window at our odd fitness group — it isn’t every day that you see men and women in workout attire running from 6-year-olds, but why shouldn’t it be?

In his mission statement, Haft said he wanted Punk Rope to be a community building experience, and it’s true, when you have fun with people and embarrass yourself by acting like an armadillo, a bond is felt.

My only complaint: to make for easier jumping, the ceilings in the room should have been higher.

Punk Rope

When: Tuesdays, 7:30 p.m.to 8:30 p.m. (adults) and Fridays, 5:30 p.m.to 6:30 p.m. (all ages)

Where: YMCA, 32-23 Queens Blvd., LIC

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