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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

Review: Bounce Dubai's X-Park Adventure Challenge Course 

Following 10 weeks of construction, the X-Park finally opened its doors, inviting adrenaline seekers to test their physical limits

Evelyn Lau takes part in the X Park Adventure Challenge. Pawan Singh / The National
Evelyn Lau takes part in the X Park Adventure Challenge. Pawan Singh / The National

Bounce Dubai has unveiled its X-Park Adventure Challenge Course, which combines parkour with Crossfit and other fitness elements to offer a total body workout.

While Bounce locations around the world offer similar obstacle courses, this is a first for the UAE. “Every single X-Park has a slightly different design because we’re constrained by capacity and the shape of the location. But they all have basically the same principal and concept. The main course is the same,” says Nico Castanheira, marketing manager, Bounce Dubai.

Costing Dh100 per hour, the course is open to both adults and children. It consists of 18 elements of varying degrees of difficulty, and how long you spend on each depends on your inclination. You can keep attempting a level until it is completed, or skip to the next if it proves too difficult.

People can race against one another for the best time, or challenge themselves to complete each and every obstacle. Each run-through can be completed with a different route, so there is built-in variety and flexibility.

Before we start, my friend and I are introduced to a coach from Bounce, who gives us an overview of the entire course. It is set over three levels, and dotted with brightly-hued obstacles and multi-coloured lights.

The initial stages of the course are found on the top level and are centred around parkour, so you have to get from one side of the room to the other without touching the floor – a recurring theme for the entire challenge.

Once we get across, a fireman’s pole deposits us on the middle level. Despite only being at the starting stages, I’m already feeling some anxiety, induced predominantly by the prospect of jumping from one tiny wooden crate to another. The sheer height of the fireman’s pole also gives cause for alarm, but I persevere.

Once we make it through the mid-level, we’re tasked with getting down to the bottom level via a zip line, which engages our shoulder muscles in a big way. The following level, meanwhile, presents some obstacles that are straight out of the TV show Ninja Warrior, including a spider climb, which seriously tests our core stability.

The next two challenges demand upper body strength and my forearms are starting to feel the strain. We are tasked with jumping from one trampoline to another, before lifting ourselves onto a higher platform and running along rolling barrels to test both our speed and stability.

The hardest part of the course comes in the form of monkey bars, immediately followed by three gymnastics rings, a combination that calls for superior upper body strength. Neither my friend or I manage to get to even the second ring before falling off, and we don’t see anyone successfully complete that part of the course that afternoon either.

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Without spoiling the rest of the course, at this point, we’re just a (wall) climb, crawl, skip and (parkour) jump away from the finish line. Callouses are starting to form on our hands, we are sweating heavily and are more than a little relieved to finally be done.

And then we’re ready to do it all again, vowing to go faster the second time around.

X-Park Adventure Challenge Course is Dh100 per hour, including Bounce and X-Park access. For more, visit www.bounce.ae