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Stephanie Ross in association with Virgin Active Barbican tells us about a couple of the many specialist classes on offer at Virgin Active’s Barbican establishment, and their benefits towards maintaining fitness and health

O willPower and Grace class

ne of the biggest trends in health and fitness at present is the entwining of heart-pumping, muscle- toning exercise with a

strengthening of positive attitude, empowerment and achievement. Meet willPower and Grace at Virgin Active Barbican: during a jolly good physical workout an instructor focuses our minds on overcoming our challenges and reaching for our ambitions.

exercise class that involves a formatted fusion of postures and drills, strengthening feet while progressively correcting imbalances in the ankles, knees and hips. Barefoot training has seen a recent surge in popularity as experts recognise that supportive shoes do not allow full articulation of the feet and ankles that can lead to a loss of flexibility and mobility. The willPower & grace programme teaches participants to stretch their toes in order to increase circulation and mobility throughout their feet and ankles. In the class participants are taught to use their most intrinsic muscles to land on their feet gracefully; reducing pain and injuries in their feet, ankles and knees. Stacey wanted to make this class a foot-fitness conditioning program, a workout, but something more spiritual - the strengthening of willpower based on the idea “what if you had to…”, thereby developing the self control and grace to manage oneself with elegance through all circumstances. WillPower and Grace has been a huge international success and is now launching exclusively at Virgin Active Barbican in April.

This class was created by acclaimed Aquatic workout session

New York fitness professional Stacey Lei Krauss (with over 20 years fitness experience). It is a barefoot cardiovascular high-energy group

Take a fresh look at water fitness A water workout, once a week, is beneficial as a cross-training activity for all regular exercisers. In fact, for those who engage regularly in high intensity exercise, an aquatic workout assists recovery.

Many top sports teams now

take part in regular pool training sessions for this reason.

So what are these benefits?

■ Less Gravity – More Buoyancy. The effect of gravity is significantly reduced when we are immersed in the water, which reduces the impact and stress on our joints. This lowers the risk of stress- related injury and assists safe rehabilitation of various joint and soft tissue injuries. Instead, the water’s buoyancy works to support and protect these same joints. ■ 360 Resistance. Moving in water is harder than moving in air. Water provides an increased resistance. Because the water surrounds us on all sides, we have to engage more muscles to


move in every direction. That means we’re working harder; and that means we’re burning more calories! A well- structured aqua class, like WaterWorks (the new aqua class launched by Daman Phipps Newman), will challenge your balance, core stabilization and muscle strength. Water provides a suitable environment for both cardiovascular and muscle toning exercises. There are huge advantages of the 360 resistance: muscle soreness is significantly minimised; good posture and flexibility are accentuated and muscular imbalance and injuries are avoided. ■ The Massaging Effect of Water. The water’s pressure helps to improve circulation, as well as helping to relieve stress and tension. So an aqua workout invigorates the body (and the soul!), as well as making the heart work hard without especially high heart rates. These valuable benefits are felt by everyone: the younger, fitter participant, pregnant ladies, people with conditions such as arthritis, back pain, joint problems, MS, soft-tissue injury, coronary heart disease as well as people who swim a lot and want an extra dimension to their regular exercise. Virgin Active Barbican has regular Waterworks classes time-tabled with Daman. He’s an experienced, energetic and motivating aqua teacher who created Waterworks to fully use the capabilities of aqua exercise. He points out that it’s actually quite challenging putting moves together in water. Some moves work well with a faster beat, others with a slower beat. So, in a WaterWorks class, the music has been carefully chosen to suit every move. Daman has designed Waterworks with a clear structure, it’s a great work out for everyone (regardless of your preferred exercise or sport) and it’s a lot of fun.

Virgin Active Barbican also re-launches it’s ever popular ‘weekender membership’. For all membership and club information please feel free to contact the club directly on 0207 374 0091.

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