What is it? Monofin swimming has been making waves in fitness since the 1970s. This one is for all speed fiends and fans of boardsports. As its name suggests, this aquatic sport involves a single flipper for both legs.
How? Monofin swimming needs to be taught. Sessions are structured in two halves:
• They begin with 45 minutes of warm-ups, specifically designed for this sport, on the ground. This is all about strengthening muscle through concentrating on legs, bums and tums.
• The rest of the session gets you in the water with traditional flippers in order to train your legs, then you’ll trade these for a monofin. Feeling like a mermaid is guaranteed, except it’ll be a physical experience as well.
Essentially, this sport works on your buttocks, abdomen and lumbar vertebrae. Legs are the star of the show as your arms do very little and are held up with hands pressed together.
Objective: wiggling your body to create a sinusoidal wave.
The movements: With each wave of the flipper, pull your stomach in and try to lengthen your body. Engaging the abdominal muscles and getting a corseting effect is very simple: just try to flatten your navel against your spinal column. This muscle strengthening exercise is highly effective.
The Fit to Flex
What is it? This is a fun and playful new fitness activity co-created by Reebok and Cirque du Soleil, using the Jukari Band, a new generation of resistance bands.
How? The exercise class has been designed around dynamic exercises based on fluid movements with the Jukari Band with the aim of creating a visual display. And the star of the show? You! A graceful circus acrobat with the resistance band which revolutionises the old exercise band of our tums and bums classes. Each position will reinforce your shoulder span and abdomen, tone your oblique muscles and improve your pelvic mobility in turn, all in a very elegant way (once you’ve mastered the Jukari band). This is ideal for lengthening and sculpting your figure, while being really creative too. The class is like being in circus school! Everything is fluid in this type of exercise, including the duration of the class which lasts between 30 minutes and an hour.
Learn more at http://www.reebok.com/US/womens/fittoflex
What is it? A new aquatic activity which you carry out on a treadmill in a swimming pool. For a perfectly toned body, you mix fast walking and running whilst in the water.
How? Immersed half way up your chest in the pool, you explore different exercise combinations on a treadmill. Up until now, there is nothing new, except that the treadmill mentioned is made up of 308 rotating cylinders. This little detail is not insignificant. Their rotation responds to the power of your pins and the determination of your stride, taking into account water resistance, another thing which will sculpt your body.
In a pool heated to 30 to 32°C, the class involves running or gliding exercises, based on the movement of a ski sidestep. How is it different to a treadmill in a room? You get the benefits of hydromassage. The resistance of the water makes the exercise more difficult and exerts a strong draining pressure for a slimming effect.
Ultimately, you tone up your buttocks, sculpt your legs, develop your endurance or simply burn off calories. The classes last around 40 minutes, involving a very targeted cycle of training.
Where? In aquatic sports centres, Ragdale Hall health spa or visit aquagym.co.uk to find local gyms.
Les Mills TRX training
What is it? Invented in 2003 by a commando in the US Navy in order to keep his team fighting fit during missions, this style of “suspended” exercise forms part of an intense style of physical training.
How? TRX is based on the idea of a dynamic workout, and combines the effort involved in supporting your body weight with using the resistance of handles suspended above you. This technique, borrowed from the commandos, enables you to work effectively on muscle groups by using only your body weight, without any additional weights. Deep muscles are also engaged, thanks to the action of gravity on the body. A no brainer, and at no cost, this exercise is unique in its simplicity!
Note: To vary the resistance and difficulty of the exercises, all you have to do is change the angle of your body. On the other hand, if you don’t engage your neurones in this way, you will still be stretching your endurance to the maximum! Perfect for a Marines’ training exercise.
Where? Find a list of coaches trained in TRX training here: www.trxtraining.com