I'm anchored on the floor of a five-foot pelvis in front of the 35-pound dumbbells that I've clamped with my white knuckles. My mission is not for the faint of heart: crawl the length of the pool (75 feet) underwater and pull the dumbbells with me.
I'm also half way through when I see the rest of my ten-headed class gasp for air. I join them, let go of the weights and fling to the surface, the ears ring, the lungs burn.
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Before this drill I was told that the abdominal pain was not breathing the doormat of death. I could fight back after initial discomfort in my chest and stay underwater for at least a couple of seconds, the coaches said. So I stayed under the sink in the indoor pool of the Chelsea Piers Fitness in Manhattan to test this theory.
Sure, I came up for air before I completed my mission, but I felt I had achieved something – and it burned in my lungs.
Pushing Fitness to the Extreme
Two Activities in the 4-Hour Workshop of Extreme Performance Training, Better
Known as XPT, I should feel the same way: The idea of surfing legend Laird Hamilton and his volleyball star wife Gabby Reece, XPT, describes itself as more than just a calorie-burning and sweaty fitness class that seeks to manipulate your basic human ability to adapt to stress, expand your physical and mental boundaries – and enhance your performance in the process.
Everything about XPT is said to be uncomfortable, from the underwater pool drilling (called reptile migration) over the ice-cold ice bath (more on that later) to the structure of the entire class.