Never in my life did I think I would end up in a fitness studio ahead of a group class holding a pair of drumsticks, and yet there I was at Dubai’s exclusive Burj Club wielding some in anticipation of the first track on what would be one sweaty evening.
No sound checks or stages here, just a strange new cardio concept called POUND that has crossed shores and hit the UAE hard. Numerous studies have been done to prove the powerful stress-relieving effects of drumming.
We get that – we’ve been caught airdrumming to Metallica before. Further to that, it’s said the rhythm of drumming permeates the entire brain to improve focus, increases higher-level thinking and decision-making skills, boosts the immune system, lowers blood pressure, decreases chronic pain, anxiety, and fatigue.
This part we’ll have to see for ourselves, but we’re certainly listening. The sticks (these special POUND ones are called Ripstix) aren’t specially weighted or anything – they’re literally the same as your average set, just neon green and made of highly durable plastic.
But don’t be fooled – there’s a lot you can use them for in a workout and the instructors certainly do get creative in making sure it’s tough.
The Ripstix offer a light, peripheral resistance that not only works the shoulders, biceps, triceps, forearms and back, but also surprisingly increases the amount of stability in the body.
The cool thing is you can actually purchase your own pair for on-the-go workouts via the POUND website for Dh70.
There is obviously much emphasis placed on accompanying the class to thumpy tracks (from hip hop to classic rock anthems) with different types of beats in them so that, while squatting or jumping jacking, you are either whacking those sticks on the floor or overhead as if you were ramping up a crowd.
I was admittedly smirking through the first track…but never again after that. The further and further you venture into the music trying to keep in time with it, the more you realised how much faster some of the tracks were getting.
There was one move where we had to intersperse speed drum rolls on the floor with burpees; another that was almost like an air-drumming combo with the inclusion of jumping lunges.
You also hit the floor for a few rounds of core work during these 45-minute classes, too. While doing raised leg crunches, we were instructed to clap the sticks together at the top.
While doing bridge lifts and planks, we were pounding the floor. Needless to say, it’s a loud class as well. It’s been said you can burn up to 900 calories per hour “rocking out” like this, and we’re not surprised.
POUND is clearly designed to hit all muscles everywhere, packed to capacity as the choreography is with isometric and plyometric moves.
It not only can help you in the long run with your rhythm, timing and coordination ( just in case you still were harbouring those High School dreams of becoming a drummer); it can drastically improve your speed, agility, and endurance by combining cardio, conditioning and strength training with a few Pilates-inspired moves thrown in as well.
By the time you’ve reached the last track, you’d have done close to 15,000 reps, performed over 30 extended interval peaks, and zipped through more than 70 techniques without even realising it.
And that’s what’s going to make this class a hit with the bored and not-so-keen gym-goers – the distraction of trying to nail the combos and keep up with the rollercoaster beats.
THE VERDICT: Alright, I am convinced; drumsticks do somehow fit in effectively in a fitness studio. Get ready to rock out in a workout with this one.
WHAT: POUND classes
WHEN: Currently offered on Sundays at 19:35, Tuesdays at 18:30 and Saturdays at 10:00
WHERE: The Burj Club, Burj Khalifa
COST: Free for members and Dhs110 for non-members
CONTACT: 04 888 3900, www.theburjclub.com , @TheBurjClub