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 the demonstration video for this article, you will find a sample of
exercises you can do with a simple rail. In order of appearance, they are: