It’s not often that a new exercise class comes along that is genuinely an original or new concept but Speedflex is a class that I would happily and heavily rubber stamp with originality. Not only that but it’s fun, effective, and just arrived in London with more studios to open around the City soon.
I was sceptical when I heard that this regime delivered a workout that would train and push every muscle in your body but that would leave you with little to no muscle soreness the next day or DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) for those fitness pedants among us. And if even this was true, I wasn’t sure if I wanted no soreness AT ALL, I mean that’s the point of doing a hardcore workout is it not? To feel like you have given your puny muscles a thrashing, that sense of martyrdom as you struggle, one taught leg at a time, up the stairs. Sure it doesn’t look attractive, but sometimes it feels darn good to feel the burn. I needn’t have worried on both accounts.
The class itself is tough, really tough and you certainly feel that welcoming burn whilst training. After being strapped to a state-of-the-art heart monitor to view your heart rate on the screen above you, including everyone else’s in the class, you are faced with the 7 unique (and slightly scary looking) Speedflex machines. These beasts are designed so that they respond to each individuals force to create appropriate resistance levels – so first time fit bods and ex-England Rugby players alike all enjoy and partake in the same class. Genius.
The 45 minute class is split into circuits; each circuit features movements on each machine, such as a clean and press or a squat and push, interspersed with more traditional circuit movements such as crunches or good old fashioned high knees. With only 10 second breaks in-between each exercise you start to feel your heart rate rise pretty quickly – which of course is reflected on the screen at the front of the class. The idea being that you need to ideally be reaching the ‘Red Zone’ (90% plus) to be in the fat burning stage. At the end all results are analysed including the amount of calories you have burned. Astonishingly I had burnt over 600 in just 45 minutes. To burn this amount of claries on my own it takes me about 2 hours +, well I assume it would, I’ve never worked out for that long! Like any fitness class you have to put in the work to get the results – but to see them tangibly like this and to be able to measure your performance each class seems pretty awesome to me.
Back to the DOMS = Yes, it’s true; I didn’t feel any soreness at all the next day. I am not going to bore you with the science of it, but essentially when you are lifting regular weights or using your own bodyweight, the downward motion of a rep incorporates gravity. It’s gravity that is working against your muscle and in turn tearing the longer side – which gives you the sore, ripped feeling. With the Speedflex machines, they don’t move anywhere unless you apply your own force or pressure – meaning that you are only working the short sides of your muscles and alleviating the long term soreness. And I liked it. I liked the fact that in the class I could feel myself working harder than I have before and that the tube journey home was torture without a seat. Equally I liked the fact that the next day, despite knowing I had worked seriously hard, I could sit down and stand up from my office chair without looking and sounding like an old man. Give it a try – you won’t be disappointed.
www.speedflex.com; 0844 543 3631
words by Harriet Chubb