Speedflex… machines that respond to your own force to generate resistance rather than using weights, meaning that it is suitable for all fitness levels to workout in the same class and create little to no muscle soreness after? Too good to be true? Amy from Healthy Living London checks it out!
BEFORE THE CLASS
The original Speedflex class is a circuit-based HIIT training concept performed wearing heart rate monitors. When you arrive you are given a strap to put around your chest which a heart rate monitor will be clipped into when you get into class. You have to do an induction at Speedflex before you can join the regular classes but this only takes about 30 minutes and is definitely needed as I certainly haven’t seen machines quite like these before and it does take a little getting used to.
You are first of all given a quick health assessment where you go through your basic stats and then go on one of those body analysis machines that tells you about your body fat % and water retention, skeletal mass, etc etc. Eurgh – that was a depressing bit – but I have to say even as I folded it up and put it in my gym bag it has been added to the mental check list of motivation images in my head…. that photo I saw of myself at a wedding once, that dress that didn’t fit 6 months ago… and now this little piece of paper!
The induction is simple and you get a go on all the machines. The machines themselves are mostly the same – each machine has bars that can be pushed up and down, the difference mainly is the exercise the trainer allocates to each one to create the circuit. All the Speedflex machines have no weights, they use your own force to generate resistance… so if a bodybuilder is ahead of you in the circuit nothing needs to be adjusted to the machine when you move onto it and you can just keep going with your workout! Heart rates are shown up on a screen so you (and the trainer) can monitor how hard you are pushing yourself and it is pretty motivating as everyone else can see you slacking!
I did the 30 minute classic Speedflex class. It is a high intensity class where your heartrate basically stays about 85% for a majority of the time…. and remember the trainer is watching you!! You are given various exercises to perform in short circuits where you have bursts of high intensity exercise followed by even shorter rest times in between. The trainer mixes up each round with cardio and strength exercises using not only the Speedflex machines but also some old classics such as kettlebells and burpees. Yup you can’t ever escape the burpee! I was super glad I had done the induction as the machines did take me a few gos to get used to but once you get the knack they are tough but a a fun addition to your average circuits class. The 30 minutes absolutely flew by and I loved being able to check on my own efforts by seeing my heartrate going up and down – very satisfying and motivational. It is nice having a gauge of how hard you actually have worked – there’s nowhere to hide away at Speedflex!
Speedflex have recently introduced a whole selection of new themed classes so there is something for everyone wether you are short of time or want to focus specifically on core work. The six new classes are:
- SPEED4LEX – Designed around the Tabata training theory, Speed4lex 30 minute sessions will be structured around four minute blocks to offer a variety of strength and cardio-based exercises, with an emphasis on intensity for enhanced fat burn and results.
- FLEXTREME – The most challenging Speedflex experience to date, Flextreme offers an array of new complex and compound Speedflex and auxiliary exercises which involve more resistance and are more focused on strength. These sessions will be more demanding on the body and have been designed to truly take your training up a notch
- PUREFLEX – 30 and 45 minute sessions comprising of Speedflex only exercises without any auxiliary stations. PureFlex has been designed to take interval training back to basics, utilising the Speedflex machines to take you to high intensity training zones, followed by rest periods to lower the heart rate.
- BODYFLEX – 30 minute sessions which focus on the use of your own body weight and interval training using the Speedflex machines, followed by 15 minutes of core work.
- COREFLEX – Challenging 30 minute sessions which combine Speedflex training with abdominal focused exercises to help achieve a flat and toned torso. CoreFlex sessions have been designed to improve your strength, posture and spinal stability.
- FUNDAMENTALS – Designed to perfect your Speedflex form and technique, Fundamentals sessions will teach you how to improve upon core Speedflex exercises including squats, deadlifts, pushes, swings and presses.
I really enjoyed my workout at Speedflex – and it is true I wasn’t as sore as usual the next day. I’m not 100% sure on the science behind this but as I understood it because as the machines use your own input to create resistance you don’t overload your muscles and there are fewer tiny tears in the muscle fibres meaning your body recovers a lot quicker. It was a thorough and satisfying workout and if there was a Speedflex in my area I would definitely be heading there as part of my exercise regime.
FIND OUT MORE:
Where: City of London studio is near Bank. Also UK studios in Newcastle, Leeds, Surrey and Aberdeenshire.
How Much? They offer a free trial and health assesment – book here.