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TRX training FTW

December 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

Another new feature in a lot of gyms recently is TRX Suspension Training. Its not as scary as it sounds but it does require a bit of coordination and getting used to.

TRX  (Total Resistance eXercise)  uses straps and a central pivot point with which you then use your own body weight to work out. Sounds easy right? That’s usually where these things go wrong….

Once again I met up with Virgin Active personal trainer Ian Pienaar who put me through my paces with the TRX. Usually at Virgin Active gyms anyway, these straps are hanging from a wall, which isn’t how they are meant to be used, but the wide A-frames they usually come in are quite space-consuming. But if you know what to do you can still get a good workout with them against a wall.

What are the benefits of TRX training? Portability, using your own body weight, quick changeover between exercises and it provides a real workout for your core.

I was actually very surprised at what a good workout the TRX provided…for a few days afterwards I could feel the muscles that had been worked, especially my core.

Check out these pics of some of the core exercises Ian made me do, I didn’t do many but my stomach reallllllly felt it!

The pics aren’t very clear, but you get the idea… my feet are suspended off the ground… so my core had no excuse for not working exceptionally hard to just keep me balanced. It took a few minutes to get my balance right, and made push-ups rather difficult, but it was a great workout.

We also did some upper-body exercises which really highlighted how my upper-body strength needs some attention. But that’s where the TRX could come in really handy, just practicing a few upper-body moves on it with different foot postions should help build my strength in no time.

Overall I really enjoyed the workout, but I would recommend getting someone who knows what they’re doing to show you how to use them properly first. No point in using them if you’re not going to do it right, right?

I would definitely recommend this as a good strength training addition to your workout.

My encounter with a ViPR

December 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

A few weeks ago I noticed a personal trainer at my Virgin Active putting someone through what looked like a grueling routine with something that looked like a cross between a big pipe and a log of wood. Whatever it was, it looked heavy and the workout he was doing looked hardcore.
So of course I just HAD to try it out J
Virgin Active were kind enough to organise personal  trainer Ian Pienaar to put me through my paces with what is apparently called a ViPR. The fact that it’s name sounds like a poisonous snake should be an indication of its potent potential.
Ian explained that the ViPR comes in a few different weights ranging from a light weight of 4kg, all the way up to 20kg, similar to Kettlebells. It has a few different grips on it which you can use according to your preference or workout.
There are a number of different exercises you can do with the ViPR, and after doing a few of them with Ian as well as a few short combination workouts I would seriously recommend getting someone professional to show you how to do the exercises properly so you get the full benefit and don’t look like a dumbass just throwing it around aimlessly.  #justsaying
Ian made me do a clean and press:
Then a needle and thread move:

Then a lunge with a twist (which was surprisingly difficult with such an awkward weight):
And then a short workout that got my heart pumping and made me all sweaty. Which is just how I like my workouts.
I was a bit sore the next day – in the best possible way of course, and I thoroughly enjoyed the workout. It was challenging and different from the more common fitness routines. So if you’re looking for something different to add to your exercise programme or if you just want to give weights a miss for a day, I strongly suggest you try out ViPR training and see how it works for you. I only had 45 mins with Ian, but he assures me there are many different exercises you can do with it.
Check out this video he put together illustrating some of the moves.

Sweat, sweet sweat….

December 11, 2012 in fitness, health

So recently I tried out a S.W.E.A.T. 1000 class. And man, did I sweat. It could easily have been 1000 calories, but possibly more.
What is it you ask? It’s a gym class, but a very unusual one. It combines interval training with weights and cardio in a deadly combination that left me breathless, but wanting more.
Basically they have a room with a bunch of treadmills lined up against one wall. Then on the floor they have various toning and resistance paraphernalia such as BOSU balls, dumbbells, TRX suspension bands and so on. In the class I went to in Sea Point, we used BOSU balls and dumbbells.
The class switches between sprinting on a treadmill at different speeds, on different inclines for different intervals. You do that for a few minutes until your heart wants to take a seat in the corner with a towel and then they whip you off the treadmill and before you can think too much about it you’re balancing on a BOSU ball on one leg with weights and doing some rather tricky balancing squats.

Treadmill sprints are damn hard, especially on an incline!

Another few minutes of this and then you’re back on the treadmills to haul your heart back in the game with some more sprinting and/or incline walking  (and we’re talking an incline of like 20 on the treadmill…. If you’ve ever been on  a treadmill you’ll know that’s virtually like walking up a wall it’s so steep).
That’s a rough version of what went on in the class – going between the treadmills and the floor doing weights, squats and lunges on the BOSU, push-ups, sit-ups.. you name it, we did it. And it was AWESOME.

BOSU balls… not for the faint-hearted (or balance-challenged)

According to the S.W.E.A.T. 1000 peeps, the reason they do this form of intense interval training is quite simply because they believe “It is the optimal way to train and that is why we believe that S.W.E.A.T. 1000 has become the ultimate workout.”
Fair enough huh? According to them “The body cannot get used to or rest at any given time as we are taking it through so many different work loads –  the slow twitch and the fast twitch muscle fibre is activated – the endurance aspect is activated.
“Integrating the components of interval training, functional training, core stability work, athletic training, and agility training – it is basically the result of taking everything that is the highest level of physical training and putting it into a 1 hour  dynamic, action packed class that is different every single time. Always changing the dynamics of the class, alleviating the boredom factor and never allowing people to know what they are going to get.”

The class in full swing… add in some pumping music and you’ve a recipe for (sweaty) success!

I must say that I agree with them too. Even though I prefer heavy weight training and short, intense workouts, this class was totally different from anything I have ever done before and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Sure it was intense and I was totally spent afterwards, but it was so much fun I would definitely consider adding it to my current workout programme 2 or 3 times a week purely because it made me feel so good afterwards.
While I exercise primarily for the health benefits it provides, I also LOVE exercising and this is definitely a class I could fall hard for.
Check out the video of one of the classes on their site. They have classes in Cape Town and Joburg, so check them out if you can…

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