What it is: For those who're not familiar with the Fire Trainer class offered at Virgin Active, allow me to cue you in. It's a suspension cable training system, but one doused with ingenuity. Unlike traditional cable systems that see the cables fixed in the center, Fire Trainer adds a pulley system which allows the cable handles to move at the anchor point, forcing you to constantly correct any imbalances, hence doubling that calorie burn.
What I loved about the class: Enter the inferno of benefits of a having a fire and brimstone instructor guide you through the class. Our instructor put us to the test immediately with a push-up and triple-variation shoulder press sequence. For 30 seconds, you tackle as many rounds of this exercise as you can before moving onto the next sequence. In between sequences, you get a little rest — enough for me to get my arms to stop shaking. The burn was truly something beautiful, focusing on the element of static strength. Three sets of this progression showed me just how far I had to go to strengthen my upper arms.
15 minutes into the class, we loosened the cables and performed our exercises within the framework of flexible cables. This is where the going gets tough. We knocked out a few more sets of arm and core exercises, some of which were quite imaginative yet astoundingly effective as my back and shoulders suffered throughout the various rowing exercises.
To round-up our session, we disengaged both anchor pins in the cable system, allowing the straps to both slide and rotate, thus introducing a third training element of dynamic balance to finish off what was left of our strength. The last few sets focused on our abdomen and obliques but somehow, my arms and shoulders took an equal beating on the plank holds and bicycle kicks.
It's great for: Looking for a comprehensive workout that you can sweat out in 30 minutes? This is it. If you're familiar with cable suspension training, you would know about the benefits of those push-and-pull, body weight exercises. Here, you control your own mass, maintain posture and engage your core stability all at one go — not an easy task by any means. Add to this multiple repetitions and exercise sequences with little to no rest in between. Virgin Active's Fire Trainer class is a sure-fire way to burn your holiday house of laziness to the ground so you can rebuild your body for the new year.
To view more fitness reviews from Rich Herrera, click here.