No matter how often we are told exercising is good for us, there are still days (and sometimes weeks) when we are just too bored to head to the gym. This keeps gym instructors on a perpetual quest to come up with new and improved ways to flex muscles and burn up calories. Here are a few of the new variations, all available at a gym near you.
Ramping (for your abs, back and thighs)
Banish all notions of stick thin models sashaying down a stage – Ramp is a simple piece of equipment developed by international fitness expert Gin Miller. It is an inclined plane and hence gives you the same effect of incline treadmill walking. This small, light and portable piece of equipment is supposed to work wonders on your rear muscles, core, abs, back, hips, thighs and calves.
Kiran Sawhney, a certified trainer who runs Fitnesolutions in New Delhi, says Ramp has caught on big time with her clients. “It’s a killer in terms of effectiveness,” she says, adding that it is a safe technique that helps you to shape and tone up.
Ramping is an easy-to-learn exercise routine that revitalises cardio fitness. The technique utilises the natural human motion of walking forward, and combines it with the opposing action of walking backward. Half an hour on the Ramp is enough to give you the required results. But it requires some high-impact moves, so it’s not recommended for beginners.
Twice as nice
Another way to escape the inevitable boredom of workouts is to exercise with a partner. A recent convert to this method of working out was Sania Mirza, who swore by the benefits of working out with cricketer husband Shoaib Malik.
According to Mickey Mehta, a leading holistic health and fitness guru, this is a growing trend. “There is so much more motivation and positivity around when people work out together that it’s a great feeling,” he says. Pets also meet the qualification of workout buddies.
Qiangbo (for mind and body)
A relatively new technique started by two martial arts enthusiasts – Ajay Ahluwalia and Deepak Uppal of Blackbelt Fitness – this one already has many takers in Delhi and NCR.
Qiangbo is a synthesis of martial arts principles, weight training and plyometrics. It’s an exciting new way to fitness, and has applications in self-defence too. Because Qiangbo combines the strengths of different disciplines, it is thorough and works on the mind as well as the body.
“Qiangbo literally means waves of good, strong energy, and aptly describes the feelings of a practitioner. It’s a result of years of my working with different martial arts, weight training and yoga,” explains Ajay Ahluwalia, chief executive, Blackbelt Fitness.
He adds that the specialty of Qiangbo is the simple fact that it can range from slow and calm movements, steadying the mind and body, to extremely vigorous and fast moves, combining a powerful spirit within a powerful body. It’s a circular workout, spreading from the core, outwards across the whole body, with an emphasis on working flexibility and then strength.
An hour’s session, to begin with, is an excellent way of getting into the groove of it. Once you’ve learnt the technique, your workout can be anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes.
Yogilates (for your core)
Here, yoga meets pilates to create an effective form of exercise that gives great results. While yoga has been around in India for centuries, the newer entrant Pilates has a very similar philosophy – involving a sequence of carefully performed movements that encourage you to become more aware of your body as a single, integrated unit.
Each exercise in pilates is designed to stretch and strengthen the body’s central core, while opening the joints and releasing tension. Kiran Sawhney, a certified trainer who runs Fitnesolutions at Greater Kailash in New Delhi, says yogilates has become extremely popular with clients.
“It uses the benefits of both yoga and pilates,” she explains. “It’s because of this that in a small time capsule (30 minutes to an hour), more work is achieved.”
Yogilates, says Sawhney, focuses on the core, back and abs. The result, she explains, is, “correct posture, better breathing, concentration, focus and of course a better body.”
Flowin (for balancing and six packs)
Mumbai-based fitness expert Leena Mogre agrees that workout routines need to get ever inventive to catch peoples’ attention. “There need to be new things constantly for a person to stay motivated,” she says, adding that this is why she introduced the Flowin regimen at her gyms – Leena Mogre’s Fitness.
Flowin is a workout on a smooth mat called Flowin, which provides hand, knee and fit grips. “You have to skid on it doing various movements,” explains head trainer Kalpesh, who adds that the workout is fast developing a fan following.
What is interesting is that the workout is so intense that only 25 minutes on it are enough to give you a perfect regimen. Flowin is very good for balancing, core strengthening, and controlling small groups of muscles.
But the biggest plus, says Kalpesh, is that it’s perfect for getting six packs. “That’s because during any movement in Flowin, the control has to be on one’s abs, so you end up exercising your abs really well.” Flowin is suitable for beginners as well as pros – the only difference being that the intensity of the workout changes. What’s more, once you’ve learnt it, you can do it at home as well as in a hotel room.