x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

We try out ViPR: vitality, performance and reconditioning

Looking for a new fitness exercise? Try ViPR, short for vitality, performance and reconditioning.

A ViPR training session at the fitness centre in The Address Dubai Marina. Razan Alzayani / The National
A ViPR training session at the fitness centre in The Address Dubai Marina. Razan Alzayani / The National

Full-body functional training has become increasingly popular in recent years. From the rise of TRX and CrossFit, some might say that gone are the days of men with big chests and scrawny, neglected legs.

Featuring movements most of us do daily – like lifting bags of groceries, grabbing an energetic toddler or digging in the garden – ViPR, a form of strength training, is a growing phenomenon in the fitness industry.

Short for vitality, performance and reconditioning, this workout involves a weighed plastic tube that goes from as light as 2kg to as heavy as 20kg. The handles make gripping the object easy. Being much narrower than a barbell and the weight evenly distributed, it grants the person using it a fuller range of motion.

Jojo Aragon, the head coach at Fitness First in Knowledge Village, says ViPR fits well into current exercise trends: “It uses multiple planes of movement.”

For example, a forward lunge with a twist using the ViPR engages multiple muscle groups and enhances mobility.

“That’s how the body works naturally,” says Aragon. “When you eat, drive, sit at your desk – you are stuck in that same single plane of movement, often for many hours a day.” He says for this reason, when people come to the gym or do a class with twists and turns – such as in the dance fit class Zumba – they are more prone to injury.

Ryan Thomas, the club manager at Knowledge Village, says ViPR helps prevent injury, teaching people the correct movements for day-to-day activities.

He adds that in the Middle East, a lot of people perceive a fit person as having the “top-heavy physique” usually favoured by body builders. As more freestyle training is incorporated into its gyms and classes, Fitness First hopes to change that mindset. “We’re about building that overall strong shape,” says Thomas.

Aragon adds: “That kind of physique and being bulky is not that healthy.”

So effective is a good ViPR workout that in 20 minutes, you can achieve the same results as spending an hour in the weights area. You will also build overall body strength, as well as flexibility and mobility, Thomas says.

Fitness First has small group classes, for around 20 to 30 minutes, to help members familiarise themselves with the equipment and incorporate ViPR into the gym’s new XFit classes, which are based on the principles of CrossFit.

“Demand is increasing as people are becoming more aware,” says Aragon.

The Address hotel in Dubai Marina is the first facility to offer group classes in ViPR, led by the instructor Tarek Samir. To keep the sessions diverse, Samir has incorporated it into a circuit training format, with every class different from the previous one. “People get bored,” he says, “so we keep it varied.”

Group classes at the The Address Dubai Marina are Dh70 for members and guests and Dh80 for non-members. Packages with reduced rates are also available. For details, call 04 436 7777 or email tadmm.fitnesscentre@theaddress.com



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