CX30: 30 Minutes to Fab Abs

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Before I came to UCSF last year, the only type of group fitness class I’d ever taken was yoga. As a former college athlete, I had often chuckled at group fitness gurus who worked out in gym studios. I thought, “How could you possibly get a good workout that way?” But after a friend convinced me to try my first class last year at the gym at Parnassus, I got hooked.

I loved the instructor, the music, the moves and the burn I felt all day after taking class. I’ve made my way through most of the classes offered at UCSF, getting to know the instructors who inspire and the community members who have come to feel like family. I’ve become a devoted regular at some classes, while others never quite clicked for me.

It’s taken some trial and error to find the best classes and instructors to fit what I’m looking for in a workout on any given day. That being said, I’d like to use this column as a way to help all the newcomers to campus (and those who have been here a while!) sort through the classes and find one that might be a good fit.

The first class I tried at the UCSF gym—and the one that got me hooked—was CX30®, and I still go regularly for an excellent core workout. If you’re thinking, “What a funny name for a class!” I thought the same thing, too. CX30® is part of the Les Mills line of group fitness classes offered at UCSF.

After a little investigation, I’m come to the conclusion that the “C” stands for “core,” the “X” makes the shape of your “cross slings,” which [briefly] encompasses the muscles of your right pecs, obliques, rectus abdominus and connecting down to your left adductor across the front, and your right lats across to your left glutes down the back (and the same muscles traversing the body from left side to right).

The “30,” however, is my favorite part of the name, because it refers to the fact you’re in and out in 30 minutes. This workout helps you get that sexy hourglass figure, uncover those washboard abs, tighten your butt and say goodbye to that muffin top. While those benefits of the class might appeal mostly to the ladies, one of my guy friends accompanies me often and really feels the burn from this quick and efficient workout.

The first track is a warm-up, where you start to work your upper and lower abs, your obliques and your glutes through some easy C-crunches bridges, and cross-crawls. The second track is the “hover” track, which is mostly plank work. The third and fourth tracks take a “core off the floor” approach. In the third track you use exercise bands to work your obliques, while the fourth track uses the bands to focus the work on your glutes.

You’re back to the floor to work your obliques and hips for the fifth track, and round it out with a cool down track that focuses on strengthening your upper and lower back for the sixth and final song. In addition to the exercise bands, you’ll occasionally have the option to use a weight plate or dumbbell to increase the resistance and get a little more out of your workout.

You won’t come out of class sweating (a plus if you’re trying to squeeze it in between classes or on your lunch break), but you will certainly feel it in your abs and glutes for the rest of the day.

All of the songs are catchy and popular, so all you have to do is focus on grooving to the music, and let the instructors count you through reps for each of the tracks. The instructors themselves each bring their own personality to the class. You’ll get the best workout from

Kimi Hori, who teaches on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:45-1:15 p.m. She’s incredibly buff and energetic, and really pushes you to the next level.

The class is offered Saturday and Sunday mornings, Monday afternoon, twice on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Wednesday evening at Parnassus. It’s also offered on Wednesdays and Fridays at Mission Bay—check the Group Fitness schedule for exact times.