Exercise Innovations: Kettlebells, Trx, Power Plates, Vipr

Just when you think you know it all about fitness, another trend usually comes along and makes you realise there are infinite ways to get fit and healthy. Some of the latest trends make the most of innovative exercise technology – and some are so simple that you don’t know why they haven’t been around much longer!

Try a Session on the TRX

If you want to find out how the Navy Seals manage to stay so fit, try your nearest Virgin Active club or look online for a gym near you that features TRX Suspension Training. The system was designed by a navy seal looking for a portable work-out, and the term TRX stands for Total Body Resistance Exercise. It looks simple and harmless enough, but the TRX is a hardcore piece of fitness kit that will test your body strength and get you feeling muscles that you didn’t know you had.

It’s hard work on your muscles but very simple to use and is well known for giving excellent results. You use nylon straps to create resistance using your body weight and gravity. The TRX system builds your flexibility, balance and strength, while improving posture and it’s effective for all levels of fitness…but beware, the heavier you are, the harder the workout.

Kettlebells – not just Glorified Dumbells

Kettlebells have become popular again in the last few years with a brand new selection of fitness classes and videos. They are cast iron weights that are said to be really good for endurance, strength, balance, and cardio fitness. Kettlebells come in different weights and sizes from 8kg to 24kg. If you decide to try kettlebells, there’s a definite technique to them, so the best advice is to ask a gym instructor for advice first.

The basic kettlebell workout involves holding a kettlebell in one or both hands and swinging it, pressing it or pulling it in a variety of different targeted moves. Some moves get you to switch the weight from hand to hand which means that it works on your core stability – other moves need you to use your legs and hips to move the weight, which means the moves use the whole body in one go.

Kettlebell training is excellent for coordination, flexibility, core strength, and provides a very good cardio workout.

The ViPR – Integrated Fitness Equipment

If you’ve never heard of the ViPR, watch this space as its simplicity and portability is likely to make this piece of exercise equipment a must-have for any discerning gym.

The ViPR is a metre high and made of rubber, an all in one piece of kit that’s available in seven weights ranging from 4kg to 20kg and adapts to all fitness levels. ViPR stands for ‘Vitality, Performance and Reconditioning’, and it can be lifted in the air for arm toning, carried and swung around to create a whole body workout. The ViPR was invented by fitness expert Michol Dalcourt. It’s great for building muscle and an effective calorie burner too. It does the job of several other pieces of gym kit – dumb bells, bar bells, kettlebells, medicine ball balance device, and speed ladder.

If you’re a Virgin Active member, they are running free ‘How to….ViPR’ sessions in most of their clubs which show users the most effective techniques for getting the most from the ViPR.

Exercise While you wait on the Power Plate

It sounds like the perfect way to workout – with as little obvious effort as possible. A Power-Plate is a machine that’s perfect for giving your muscles a high-speed workout. It uses vibration technology to make specific muscles contract and relax between 30 and 50 times per second. If you want to save workout time, it’s a great option as it works on several muscle groups at once, and lovers of this hi-tech piece of fitness kit claim that just 10 minutes on the Power-Plate can give you the same results as an hour on a normal gym machine.

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