Attain the Niko Physique: ‘leaner – not lean skinny, but lean sexy and strong’. The website somewhat ominously warns, ‘if you’re coming for a chat and a little stretch you’ll be in the wrong class, found out quickly and made to pay’ – gulp! You can opt in for group reformer Pilates sessions, which aim to push dynamic Pilates a step further; or book in for a one-on-one training session. All classes promise to be creative, never the same, and just a little bit cheeky.
I booked in for a one-on-one TRX suspension training session with Niko himself. The technique was developed by the US navy and uses two suspended straps which harness gravity to achieve a full body workout. The regime is based on resistance training with athletic and gymnastic principles including plyometric (jump training) work – I must admit that it looked just a little bit S&M. I am usually a tad sceptical about exercise regimes that require additional whistles and bells, and tend to stick to a quick run and a few sit-ups, but the principles behind the workout definitely appeal.
Despite a very brief chat about my levels of fitness, it was clear that Niko could gauge my capabilities from early on and tweaked the programme accordingly. After warming up, we quickly worked through a variety of TRX lunges, squats, pikes and push-ups. There was a particularly tense exercise that required attempting the splits using two harnesses. Niko broke up the session by showing me moves that could be achieved with a little persistence including a funny headstand with open legs (I couldn’t blame him for showing off).
There was a good variety between both static and fluid movements and I definitely felt like we worked methodically through each section of the body by focusing on core, upper body and leg strength. A definite positive of TRX suspension training is having the ability to easily adapt the difficulty for each move, so when I was tiring I could take it a little easier. There was a mixture of working on toning muscle but also some stretching. Out of breath and decidedly shaky, we finished the workout with kettle bell lifts and, in spite of thorough stretching, I felt the effects for days.
Niko is attentive, great company and definitely knows what he is doing. It is a rare joy to come away from a session feeling like you’ve worked every muscle in your body. Some of the positions can feel a little un-lady-like and I would like to know a little more about which muscles are worked by each movement and where I should feel each exercise. However, what I thought had the potential to be a bit of a gimmick, turned out to be one of the most thorough and entertaining workout sessions I have ever had.