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Lift and learn: Free community class Saturdays at The Distance Project, Freeport

Lift and learn: Free community class Saturdays at The Distance Project, Freeport

The Distance Project

Generally speaking, I don’t give much thought to “torque.” Especially not when I’m working out and my brain is focused on other things, like how much my muscles are shaking and what I’m going to eat after (usually blue corn tortilla chips).

But I thought about it a good deal last Saturday during a community class at The Distance Project in Freeport. Trainer David Bidler isn’t simply there to lead us through a string of burpees and deadlifts and lunges (although he’ll do that, too), he wants us to really understand the mechanics behind what we’re doing.

The Distance Project, free community class Freeport
Trainer David Bidler, on the right, talks about the body mechanics of reverse lunges. Shannon Bryan photo

Each week (and during all his classes), David focuses on a few key components. On Saturday, they included torque, stability, and scaling. He showed us how differently, say, a pushup might feel if you focused on rotating your arms out versus in, or how your stability in a handstand (in our case, against the wall) can change when you rethink the rotational force on your shoulders. Everyone works out barefoot or in socks, too, to better see what your feet are doing (body mechanics again)!

The Distance Project, free community class Freeport
Wall walks (keeping torque in mind, of course) during the Saturday community class at The Distance Project in Freeport. Shannon Bryan photo

I’d never thought about these concepts before. Sure, I think about keeping my chest up during a deadlift and keeping my butt down in plank, but I’d never given much thought to why those nuances mattered. I certainly never thought deeply about the concept of rotational force. But David Bidler does (as someone said in class that day, “He geeks out over this stuff”), and he loves to share the knowledge.

But here’s what’s even sweeter: this Saturday community class is free. And open to everyone. Every Saturday at 8 a.m., year-round.

The Distance Project, free community class Freeport
Lunges (with weights, for extra fun)! Shannon Bryan photo

David mixes things up each week. The class I recently attended had a warmup (but of course), an entertaining and exhausting round of “bear crawl ball,” where opposing teams attempt to whack a ball into goal, all the while maintaining a bear crawl position, then a good spell of deadlifts. We also did squats and burpees and wall walks and lunges, followed by a short run up the road to say hello to the local fire hydrant.

The Distance Project, free community class Freeport
Warming up at the start of the Saturday community class. Shannon Bryan photo
The Distance Project, free community class Freeport
Bear crawl ball (we played as teams, this was a demonstration). Shannon Bryan photo
The Distance Project, free community class Freeport
Deadlifting in front of the open garage door at The Distance Project. Shannon Bryan photo
The Distance Project, free community class Freeport
Alternating wall walks and hollow bodies. Shannon Bryan photo

And before each set of exercises, David went over mechanics, hammering home those ideas about torque and stability.

The Distance Project, free community class Freeport
David goes over good mechanics for deadlifting at The Distance Project. Shannon Bryan photo
Updating the personal records board at The Distance Project. Shannon Bryan photo

I also appreciated, as a newbie, that class started with everyone in a circle, and one by one everyone introduced themselves and offered up some Distance Project tidbits (like how the community is awesome, just showing up is the hardest part, and how David’s handwriting is wonderfully illegible).

Introductions at the start of the Saturday community class. Shannon Bryan photo
High fives are everywhere at The Distance Project. Shannon Bryan photo

I only spent a little more than an hour there, but I can attest to all of those things, particularly the community part. Some of the people I met in class have been training with David for years, but they still made me feel entirely welcome as the new person in the room. And that’s cool. (Also cool, there’s lots of carrot cake talk, and judging by The Distance Project’s Facebook page, there’s also actual carrot cake sometimes.)

Lunges during the Saturday community class. Shannon Bryan photo
Deadlifting like a machine. Shannon Bryan photo
A short run on Route 1. Shannon Bryan photo

After our sweaty workout – and the run out to the fire hydrant – the one-hour class was officially over. But no one left. Not yet. Instead, some took time to stretch and others took time to work on something else (heavier deadlifts, pullups, etc.). I’m used to seeing people flee from the gym the moment class is over (guilty!), it was mind-boggling to see people stick around for more! I think that says something about what David’s created with The Distance Project.

Working on pull-ups AFTER the class was over. Shannon Bryan photo
Saturday community class at The Distance Project. Photo taken by David Bidler

The Distance Project

291 Route 1, Freeport | www.facebook.com/distanceathlete | www.distanceathletics.com
Saturday community class: 8 a.m. Saturdays, year-round. Free. Open to everyone
A membership to The Distance Project costs $90 a month and includes 24-hour access to the studio and class. David also does personal training, strength and conditioning. In fact, there’s a one-day strength camp for runners on Sept. 2 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost is $100. More on that: www.facebook.com

Note: This post was originally published on August 23, 2017

Shannon Bryan

Shannon Bryan

I don't like "exercise" any more than you do. But you know what I do like? Paddleboarding with a friend all afternoon (and then sitting in the grass to drink chardonnay). Bike rides and nachos, hikes, yoga classes held in breweries, group paddles to Fort Gorges, you get the idea. Because Maine is my gym.

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