23 April 2019
| THE HEARTBEAT OF WOMEN'S SPORT

Natalie Tries: Fitness 5 at Virgin Active

September 3, 2014
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The gym floor can be a daunting and difficult place – weights, ropes, balls, weird heavy bags – just what are we supposed to do with all of it? We’ve all been there, confidently striding into the midst of sweaty medicine ball connoisseurs before realising you have no clue what you’re doing and retreating to the comforting arms of the cross trainer. But Virgin Active have made the gym floor a little less daunting and a lot more fun. The introduction of five key pieces (the Fitness 5) that interlink seamlessly to give you a wide range of exercise options that work your entire body, can bring a whole new dynamic to your workout.

The Fitness 5

1) Bulgarian Bags
These innovative weighted bags were designed by the Bulgarian Olympic athlete Ivan Ivanov who wanted something that would strengthen his core and develop quickness and agility in ways that solid weights and resistance machines couldn’t. They can be used as a free weight during dynamic core work, or as a challenging addition to jumps, squats, push-ups, lunges and power crunches.With the curved shape and easy grips, they’re much easier to handle and more versatile than medicine balls.

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2) TRX Rip Trainer
The TRX Rip Trainer challenges you in all three planes of motion to develop core strength, explosive power, and flexibility whilst improving fluidity and range of motion. It’s a fantastic challenge for your upper body, especially if you’re used to focussing your weights training on your legs.

3) Battle Ropes
These are tough. Battle Ropes guarantee a high-intensity workout that builds core strength and improves all-over conditioning whilst toning and sculpting muscles. The battling waves, criss-cross and side-to-side fluid movements are the ultimate calorie burner and really test your endurance. Prepare to sweat.

4) TiYR
TiYR will help boost your all-round fitness and fast track full body strength and power. Another plus with this piece of kit is that it makes you feel like a contestant in the World’s Strongest Man, which has to be a good thing. These are heavy, so good form in lifting is vital to avoid injury.

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5) Plyo Boxes
These high-density foam boxes of various heights will help develop power, full-body explosive strength, and can form the basis of challenging cardio workouts. There’s nothing new about these boxes, but combined with the other four elements they create a workout plan that combines both strength and cardio training without being too tough on your joints.

The great thing about this set of equipment is that they can all be used together for fantastic effect. Grab the Bulgarian Bag and step up on to the TiYR, or take hold of the TRX Rip Trainer and feel your quads burn as you lunge on to the Plyo Boxes. The huge variation of possible exercises on each piece is another fantastic plus point.

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But don’t let the endless possibilities put you off – as soon as you get going you’ll realise how simple it is to grasp. Virgin Active Personal Trainer Alex Davies has put together this simple starter plan to get you going with the Fitness 5. Give it a try next time you’re at a loss for what to do next on the gym floor.

Starter Training Plan

Circuit of 10 reps on the #1 (no rest between the pieces of equipment)
Rest for 60-90secs
Circuit of 10 reps on the #2
Rest for 60-90secs
Circuit of 10 reps on the #3

Advance:
Less timed rest
More reps
Faster movements
Combine the equipment
Discover more exercise’s per equipment that may be more physically and technically challenging

Bulgarian Bags

  1. Swing to squat
  2. Swing to snatch
  3. Rotation Halo

Battle ropes

  1. Alternate squat
  2. Power Double arms
  3. Alternate arms and knees

TiYR

  1. Flip (lift/twist/push drop)
  2. Push and drive
  3. Drag

TRX Rip Trainer

  1. Squat Press
  2. Samurai Strike
  3. Paddle Board

Plyo Boxes

  1. Burpee to jump
  2. Lunge
  3. Jump over

To discover more about Virgin Active’s new Fitness 5 then visit: www.virginactive.co.uk/fitness5 for helpful cue cards and You Tube clips.

Natalie Morris, Sportsister
The Women’s Sport Magazine

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