What is CXWORX? It’s an awesome 30-minute group fitness class, and today I’m going to tell you what you can expect in your first Les Mills CXWORX class.
A Lady Goes West, you’ll often see the names of several Les Mills group fitness programs that I teach, and there’s one that pops up from time-to-time that I’ve not yet fully explained — CXWORX.
According to the folks at Les Mills International in New Zealand, who are responsible for creating CXWORX, the program can be described as:
“The intensely challenging 30-minute core workout that gets you results where it counts the most.”
CXWORX is one of the newer Les Mills programs and has only been around a few years. It’s grown in popularity and is typically tacked on to the end of other Les Mills programs to make a great full-body workout.
What kind of workout is CXWORX?
CXWORX is all about building core strength, improving functional fitness of the abdominals, mid-section, and glutes, as well as working the cross-slings, which run from the upper to lower body. Basically, CXWORX targets everything from the mid-thigh up to the shoulders, which is an area also known as your trunk. It’s not exactly weight-lifting, and it’s not exactly cardio.
CXWORX standard class
Because CXWORX is a pre-choreographed program, no matter where you go in 80 countries around the world, a CXWORX class is always going to be similar. It’s just under 30 minutes and consists of six tracks in the following order, each designed to target a different part of overall core strength:
- Warm-up – various movements lying on back to prepare the core muscles
- Core strength 1 – long-lever movements lying on back and hovers
- Standing strength 1 – standing movements to integrate upper and lower body
- Standing strength 2 – standing movements to focus on glutes, hips and legs
- Core strength 2 – various movements to focus on rotation and obliques
- Core strength 3 – various movements to focus on posterior (back) muscles
What equipment do you need for CXWORX?
To do CXWORX, you need a resistance tube, a mat and a towel. There is usually the option to use a small, medium or large weight plate for added resistance.
It’s important to note for both women and men, you should make sure that your shorts aren’t too short, because you will spend time with your legs in the air. If you need a little help finding the right workout gear, please take a look at my thoughts on how to dress for success at the gym here.
Using a resistance tube
The resistance tube used in CXWORX is a versatile piece of equipment that allows you to add load to your muscles when doing movements, without momentum. Resistance tubes have no momentum, because they are only weighted when you pull on them. Therefore, it’s safer to use a tube during wide-range fast movements across the body, rather than dumbbells. If a gym offers a CXWORX class, then they will have a selection of tubes for participants.
In a typical class, you’ll do a combination of isolated and integrated movements, like leg lifts, crunches, cross-crawls, hip bridges, leg extensions, hovers, oblique crunches, power skaters with a tube, wood-chops, lunges with a tube, rows with a tube, supermans, planks, mountain climbers, squats with a tube and much more. You don’t need to know what any of these moves are, because the instructor will coach you through them all.
What do you need to know as a first-timer?
To be completely honest, CXWORX can be a little bit awkward, even for the instructor. Not only is it sometimes hard to see everything you need from a lying down position, but you will also have your legs in the air, your butt in the air and will have to work with a tricky piece of equipment, the resistance tube. First and foremost, don’t feel weird. Everyone else is in the same boat as you.
With that being said, I recommend that you go in with an open mind and consider these tips:
- Show up a little bit early and introduce yourself to the instructor, that way they can tell you what to expect.
- Set up close enough to the front so you can see the instructor’s full body.
- Don’t worry about using a weight plate, it’s only an advanced option.
- Grab a green tube. Usually resistance tubes go from easy to hard, with green being easiest, orange/red in the middle and blue/black as the hardest.
- If you get confused on how to set up with the tube, then leave it out. It’s perfectly acceptable to do your first CXWORX class with absolutely no equipment.
- Listen to the instructor’s cues for what you should be feeling in your body. There are many small movements and adjustments, and you may not be able to see it modeled exactly on someone else, so you’ll have to feel for it on your own body.
- In the long sets of hovers, never feel bad about staying on your knees.
- In the tube work, never feel bad about holding onto only one handle for less resistance.
- It takes a while to get comfortable with the movements, so plan to try at least a few classes before you decide if it’s for you or not.
- Please don’t worry about your neighbor or feel competitive. Nobody is looking at you. In fact, most people are so busy worrying about themselves and fixing their own form that they won’t even glance in your direction. (But that doesn’t mean you should wear short shorts!)
How hard is it?
It’s challenging. After my first CXWORX class years ago, before I started teaching it, I remember having the worst soreness in my entire trunk for a couple of days. But I went back, and I grew to love it. It doesn’t come naturally to most people either. In fact, the moves take some time to set up and perform properly, so plan to feel a little uncoordinated at first.
But CXWORX truly changes your core, which in turn, can improve your overall fitness and athletic ability.
It’s also important to note, that because CXWORX tires out the core, it’s not advised that you do any resistance training after CXWORX and risk injuring your back. In fact, most of the time group fitness schedules will feature BODYPUMP directly before CXWORX, so resistance training is already complete. It’s okay to do light cardio afterwards, but I like to do CXWORX as the last element of my workout for the day. There’s not much you can do with an exhausted core.
What’s the best part of CXWORX?
Thirty minutes sure does fly by. I’ve never experienced a workout that goes by so quickly and leaves you feeling so complete. And when you finish a CXWORX class, your core seems noticeably stronger instantly.
If you’re interested in finding a CXWORX class near you, try this gym locator.Have you tried this super-hard @LesMills core class? Click To Tweet
Disclaimer: CXWORX may not be right for everyone, especially those with back injuries or women who are expecting. Make sure you check with your doctor before trying a class.
Questions of the day
Have you ever taken a Les Mills CXWORX class?
If so, what did you think? Do you ever incorporate a resistance tube into your workouts?