Tired of the old standard exercise routine? If you have one to begin with at all? Here are unique workouts that some students of Country Day do to stay in shape. Daily goal: Get Moving!
Senior Dylan Breen has been swimming since he was less than a year old and on a swim team since he was 4. His favorite part? Playing underwater hockey with his teammates.
Once a week, Breen plays this game with his swim teammates at the Auburn Racket Club.
There are two goals made of bricks set up underwater, and two teams are trying to get a puck in the goal. Each team consists of about 20 people, and they play in water as deep as 18 feet without any breathing devices.
This drill is designed to increase your lung capacity and allow you to swim longer distances underwater.
“Underwater hockey even helped me out with our dry days where we would do drills on land,” Breen said. “I was able to run and breathe more efficiently.”
Although Breen has fun while playing, it can be scary at times.
“Sometimes you get trampled and stuck under people, and you have to fight your way to the top to get a breath,” Breen said.
Underwater hockey also strengthened Breen’s core.
He would constantly be kicking his legs to keep himself underwater which engaged his core muscles.
“I am always sore the next day,” Breen said.
It’s almost every young hooper’s dream to dunk a basketball. But not everyone knows that there is a science behind jumping higher: plyometrics — explosive bodyweight exercises that build your speed, stamina and strength.
Junior CJ Dwumfuoh does plyometrics two to three times a week in his backyard.
Dwumfuoh takes exercises such as unweighted Bulgarian split squats and broad jumps and adds a twist to them.
For example, he adds a jump to the end of his split squat and holds a 10-pound kettlebell during broad jumps to make his movements more explosive.
Dwumfuoh got into plyometrics last summer by watching motivational videos on Tiktok and YouTube. He was impressed by how quickly people progressed and decided to give it a shot.
Dwumfuoh has seen major progress in his basketball game.
“When I first started, I wasn’t able to dunk. But now, I can dunk consistently,” he said.
Dwumfuoh is on the Country Day track and field team, so he is also doing plyometrics to make him perform better in sprinting and jumping events.
“Ever since starting plyometrics, I’ve been able to get out of the sprinter’s box quicker and jump further on the long jump,” Dwumfuoh said.
Sophomore Annalucia King originally started hula dancing as an alternative to ballet, but it has become her passion.
King started ballet when she was 3, but constantly dancing on her toes caused King foot pain for which she received physical therapy.
She halted her dance journey and searched for something that wouldn’t aggravate her injury.
That’s when she discovered hula dancing through a family friend at the beginning of her sophomore year.
King’s six-person dance team meets once a week.
When King arrives at practice, she puts on her floral skirt in a very specific manner.
“Hula is all about respect. We have to put on the skirt from over our heads and we can’t let it touch the ground,” King said.
At King’s practices, they do a set of essential hula movements.
“Hula has so many different steps and components that it’s just like telling a story,” King said.
The hardest part of hula is doing all the hip movements.
“Staying in sync with my dance mates all while moving quickly and staying low to the ground is very difficult,” King said.
King needs a strong core to perform these quick movements, so she does planks and other abdominal exercises at the gym a couple of times a week.
Also, since her hula class is almost entirely in Hawaiian, she studies Hawaiian vocabulary flashcards during the week.
Her mom, Laura King, is a certified yoga instructor and teaches Annalucia occasionally as well.
“Doing yoga with mom really helps me out in hula because it increases my mind-body connection,” King said.
— By Rod Azghadi
Originally published in the Nov. 16 edition of the Octagon.