It’s all about balance and strengthening your core at 5focus Movement Studio.

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AS I BALANCED on one foot, tossing a 6-pound medicine ball back and forth with my partner and physical therapist, Laura, I realized the challenge ahead — staying upright.

I was at 5focus Movement Studio in Seattle, which specializes in physical therapy and small-group interval training on kinesis machines. The kinesis machines use rotating cables with resistance to build strength, and I was interested to see the difference.

Several of the exercises that trainer and owner Jeff Robinson ran through required balancing on unstable surfaces, including bosu balls, mixed in with other complex movements designed to build stability and core strength. The class rotates between cardio and the kinesis machines for maximum effort.

5focus Movement Studio

5focus.com

I started off with the medicine-ball tosses. Laura assured me it would get easier, as both of us wobbled in the first round.

On my first machine, I worked on pulling two cables in to my torso, rotating to one side, then pushing them out. I was at a low resistance to get used to the movements. For my second exercise, I balanced on one leg on a bosu ball, stood up with the other leg lifted, then did a butterchurn-like motion in a circle with the cables. If it sounds complicated, it was. I could feel my entire core working to keep me from falling off the bosu. On the second round on the machine, I noticed a regular had increased the weight. I dialed it back down.

In between machines, we went back to cardio. We added slam balls, grabbing our medicine ball, lifting it up and slamming it to the ground. Robinson told me to take it easy and not go too fast. I was happy to take his advice.

For my second round on the machines, I balanced on soft balls on both feet, and did arm raises. The arm raises seemed simple, but I wobbled, making it tougher. For the second exercise, I lunged one leg back, then lifted a leg and pulled a cable in. Balance and core, and more balance and core.

Form is emphasized over speed at 5focus, and I appreciated the consistent instruction to keep working on my core stability.

The cardio rotated between planks and side planks, with added leg movement for challenge. Robinson also threw in some quick steps, moving one foot out to the side and back as quickly as possible, as well as side shuffles for footwork.

Did I mention I was sweating?

Back to the machines. I lowered myself onto a physio ball, balancing my shoulders on the ball, my feet on the floor in a bridge. I pulled cables down to my chest, and spun my torso to one side. It was almost fun, if it hadn’t been so much work. I also did some shoulder strengthening.

For my last machine, I hooked a cable on my foot and pushed it back for lunges, and also turned sideways to work inner thighs. My legs shook, and my hamstrings protested; if Robinson hadn’t been counting down the intervals, I would have taken more breaks.

Finally, it was done. I was sweaty, and beat.

The workout can be tailored for various fitness levels. Some regulars have been doing the kinesis intervals for years.

I can see why. It is consistently tough and challenging, in the right ways. It pushed me on balancing, stability and core strength, plus speed.