23 August 2019
| THE HEARTBEAT OF WOMEN'S SPORT

How technology is changing the way we workout

October 30, 2009

It wasn’t that long ago that classes like Spinning and Pilates were hailed as the ‘next big thing’ in fitness, but recent developments in technology have led to the introduction of a new generation of these classes onto the fitness scene. Sportsister looks at how technology is changing the way we workout.

Reformer-pilatesThere have been big changes on the gym floor too, as state of the art equipment replaces traditional favourites like the cross trainer and treadmill. We take a brief look at how technology is changing the way we workout.

Old session: Mat Pilates

New session: Reformer Pilates

What is it?

The reformer is a traditional Pilates machine using springs to provide both assistance and resistance throughout the moves. Reformer classes focus on developing alignment, posture and balancing your whole body. You work at your own pace and within a range of motion according to your flexibility.

Better or just different?

Both these forms of Pilates will help to build a stronger core but using the reformer tones the rest of your body too. On the reformer you are in control of the resistance so you can challenge yourself as much as you like and monitor your progress in building strength. There are more exercises available on the reformer and it gets you used to turning on your core whilst doing another movement so it’s more applicable to ‘real world’ situations.

Where can you do it?

Pilates K (classes of 5) 12-14 Devonshire Row, London www.pilatesk.co.uk (pictured above right)

Beautcamp Pilates (classes of 8 -10) Westbourne Grove & Old Street, London www.beautcamppilates.co.uk

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TrixterOld session: Spinning

New session: Trixter Challenge Class

What is it?

This new generation cycling class uses the Trixter Xdream Bike which has virtual technology that allows you to compete against other riders in an on-screen race through deserts and highlands.

An LCD screen fixed above the bike’s handlebars displays an on screen avatar, while the bike’s sophisticated simulation, including interactive gears, brakes and crank allows the rider to adjust their pace for a more realistic workout.

Sensors are embedded in the seat, handlebars and pedals, so your every movement is replicated on screen, for example when you turn right, your virtual avatar turns right on screen.

Better or just different?

In a spinning class, music along with the instructor provides the motivation for hardwork whereas the Trixter class provides visual stimulation as well as additional elements of fun and competition to get you going. The handlebars on the Xdream bike move laterally to provide an additional upper body and core workout. Trixter claim this increases the calorie burn by up to 55% compared with a static spinning bike.

Where can you do it?

Trixter Challenge Classes are currently on offer at Virgin Active West London, Derby and Chelmsford with further clubs rolling it out throughout the course of the year.  For more information visit www.trixter.net

PowerplateOld session: Resistance training

New session: Resistant workout on the Powerplate

What is it?

The Power Plate machine works by transferring vibrations to muscles, which naturally activates reflexive muscle contractions. Different resistance exercises such as a squat, bicep curl or stomach crunch can be performed on the machine’s vibrating platform for up to 60 seconds at a time, activating multiple muscle groups simultaneously to stretch, tone or strengthen.

Is it better workout?

Experts say that training on a Power Plate uses 95% of your muscle fibres in contrast to around 40% when doing standard resistance training so muscles are worked more intensely. It also encourages increased flexibility, range of motion, balance, and coordination. The small platform does limit you to a smaller range of exercises though and they are not suitable for training with heavy weights.

Where can you do it?

Use the Plate Locator on the Power Plate website www.powerplate.co.uk to find a Power Plate studio near you

Old Session: Treadmill

New session: Treadclimber

treadclimber-1What is it?

The Treadclimber has ‘dual-treddles’ – two independent belts – which move up and down while the belt turns to combine walking, stepping, and cross training on one machine.  This new motion is designed to increase the calorie burn of your workout while minimising impact on your joints.

Is it better workout?

On the Treadclimber you’re limited to a brisk walking pace so it can’t provide as high intensity workout as running.  Despite being restricted by speed, the Treadclimber actually brings more muscles into play than the treadmill, meaning you’ll work harder at the equivalent pace, but often without realising.

Where can you do it?

Most David Lloyd Clubs have Treadclimbers in their gyms.  For more information visit www.davidlloyd.co.uk

Kristoph Thompson, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

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