Classpass lands in Dubai - Marhaba to the world’s largest fitness network

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The ClassPass team readies for Dubai launch - (L-R) Ashley Kent, Country Manager, UAE; Sophie Pless, General Manager, International Expansion; Fritz Lanman, CEO; Chloe Ross, VP, International

ClassPass, the leading fitness membership in the world, will launch in Dubai this October with new members in the city immediately earning one months’ free access to a diverse cross-section of fitness and exercise classes.

Having launched in New York City in 2013, ClassPass’ aggressive global expansion sees Dubai follow hot-on-the-heels of its successful debut in Singapore last month.

Now operational in more than 50 cities worldwide, ClassPass counts an existing global network of more than 10,000 studios and gyms available on its platform – with today’s travel hungry users able to tap into the entire global network through one Dubai-based subscription.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to launch in Dubai; a fast-paced and dynamic city where studio fitness is booming,”  said Fritz Lanman, CEO of ClassPass, who is in Dubai this week to mark the pre-launch waitlist going live.

“We are excited to bring a completely different model to the market that we think is best for both consumers and studio partners.”

“Our Dubai membership will be underpinned by ClassPass’ long-standing proposition of variety, flexibility and value, while our objective is to provide Dubai’s residents with entry routes into the highest-level of premium gyms and studios in the city.”

Whether Dubai residents are CrossFit enthusiasts, yoga gurus or aspiring boxers, ClassPass allows its users to book fitness classes in different gyms and studios directly via a centralized app.

Offering flexible membership options with set monthly fees, ClassPass boasts a diverse wealth of exercise experiences at exclusive studios across Dubai – from High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), barre, spin and yoga, to Pilates, strength training, dance and more.

ClassPass is currently available in more than 50 cities across five countries including the US, Canada, Singapore, the UK and Australia, with Dubai part of expansion into seven new international cities by the end of 2018.

The company’s expansion into Dubai follows the closing of a recent round of funding which saw it secure $85 million in series D financing led by Temasek, an investment company headquartered in Singapore.

ClassPass has secured total funding to the tune of $255 million since its inception in 2013, allowing the continually-innovating business to fuel the future of fitness through the introduction of exciting new features designed for flexibility and convenience.

ClassPass will mark its Dubai launch with one free month of  classes for users who join the waitlist online at www.classpass.com/try/Dubai.

Fritz Lanman, CEO of ClassPass

Fritz Lanman, CEO of ClassPass

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The mental battle of powerlifting: Contending with heavy volume and fatigue

Alex Rea 11/09/2018
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Sport360's Alex Rea grimaces during training

Sport360°’s Alex Rea has teamed up with the guys at Desert Barbell to embark on a six-week powerlifting challenge, working alongside industry experts ahead of his first ever competition – Powermeet 5.0. In the video above, check out DB co-founder Patrik Hedqvist’s explanation of the three lifts, but for week four, we move away form the physical side of the challenge and into the mental game with Part I in this discussion. 

Progress is progress, no matter how little or small.

That banal quote has been swirling around my head throughout this entire process and particularly now as I zoom past the halfway stage.

For the first three weeks of this powerlifting programme, DB co-founder and powerlifting mastermind Patrik Hedqvist implemented what he calls the ‘accumulation’ phase.


Essentially, this involves high volume sets at around 70-80 percent of my one-rep max in order to hammer home good technique having rebuilt my form on all three of the competition lifts – squat, bench and deadlift.








It’s been brutal, and a completely different kind of struggle than anything I’ve ever experienced in my years of physical training.


Indeed, when undertaking the physique challenge earlier this summer in a quest to strip down to six-percent body fat, the battle was purely me against the number on the scales.


Now, it’s a totally contrasting grapple with the digits as it’s the gruelling volume of lifts to get through and the weight on the bar which forms a different dynamic to deal with.


Here's a look at what Alex had on his plate for week three

Here’s a look at what Alex had on his plate for week three


For the physique-style training, the programme was almost inconsequential because nutrition was the most prominent factor in cutting the weight. Hitting the gym was just a mechanism to entering a caloric deficit and ultimately, it was the lack of food which made that challenge so tough, not the training.


With the powerlifting, even though I’ve doubled down from hitting the gym six and even seven days a week, to just four, the toll on my central nervous system and my mind has been incredibly demanding.


Consider this, in a week block, squat, bench and deadlift made up roughly two-and-half hours of my previous bodybuilding programme, now it’s more like eight.


What this phase of my training has done, though, is eliminate the thought of numbers I want to lift on the competition platform because the focus is purely on the most efficient way of moving the bar from A to B.


Genuinely, I just don’t want to embarrass myself with horrific form like a rounded back on the deadlift or thrusting my butt in the air on the bench. It’s for that reason I’m pestering Patrik with videos of all my lifts and constantly second-guessing myself. Sorry, Pat!



But that admission leads into another side of the mental battle, which is learning to trust the programme, or to borrow NBA star Joel Embiid’s moniker ‘Trust the Process’.


At this stage, mentally I’m fatigued and little niggles are beginning to emerge, but remaining committed to the programme and having faith in Patrik’s plan is absolutely vital.


After all, repetition breeds habit and more repetitions leads to automatic reflex. Confidence will be drawn from the familiarity of nailing these lifts over and over again.


And besides, you learn to enjoy the small wins, like coming through five sets of six at 82 percent of my one-rep max on squat, thanks Pat!


There were times when I’ve been sprawled out on the gym floor, legs pulsing, chest panting and body battered in which I thought about stopping.


But then the metal on that bar is like a magnet and it draws you back in because ultimately, you know a big win is on the horizon if you keep your mind in the game.


COACH’S CORNER WITH PATRIK HEDQVIST (@borjetheswede)


What it takes to be an elite powerlifter


People might be under the perception that strength sports have a unique formula for success, unlike other sports at an elite level.


The truth is, the difference is slim to none. One can only come so far on pure instinct and/or talent, same as all other sports.


The rest is hard work and good planning. I’ve seen junior and sub-junior lifters, with talent out of this world, either stop lifting or missing out on their full potential, many times due to a lack of guidance.


Longevity is the name of the game and it’s important to remember that a lot of strength athletes reach their peak well into their 30s or even 40s.



Here’s three things to consider to become an elite powerlifter:


1. Long term goals


Look at the big picture and don’t get caught up in chasing dream results too soon. Strength gains will also reduce the higher the level of the lifter.


However, to become an elite athlete one must train like one eventually. Same as in all other sports. The difficulty here lies within the actual classification “elite”.


Is that the actual performance compared to others or the response to a given stimuli?


I claim the latter. Point being; train according to your own level and keep striving towards reachable goals. Do that long enough and you will find yourself in the elite.


2. Prepare to fight and grind but don’t compromise with technique


You can´t reach elite level without struggles, but you can’t reach there either if you are constantly injured.


Cold hard facts.


3. Manage fatigue and recovery


Does that mean take loads of days off every now and then? No. It means that you have a regime to follow which calculates fatigue and also allows a few weeks per year for alternative training.


Good sleeping patterns are perhaps the most important recovery tool of them all.


Remember that when you trying to get all pieces together. The important ones can actually be totally for free.



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Powerlifting equipment: Our man gets to grip with using new accessories ahead of Desert Barbell comp

Alex Rea 4/09/2018
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Sport360°’s Alex Rea has teamed up with the guys at Desert Barbell to embark on a six-week powerlifting challenge, working alongside industry experts ahead of his first ever competition – Powermeet 5.0. In week three, he gets to grips with using new equipment from knee sleeves to weightlifting belts.

Hands up if you thought powerlifting was simply a case of walking up to the barbell – utilising good form, of course – and moving it in a straight path?

This author is currently typing with one hand…

Yes, aside from the biomechanical element as discussed in last week’s column, there is another essential part of powerlifting which I didn’t really take into consideration before embarking on this challenge – the equipment.


Indeed, have you ever wondered why the guy in the squat rack is sporting sleeves over his knees, or cast an odd glance at a lifter wearing a rather thick-heeled pair of trainers which sound like tap-dancing shoes across the gym floor?








Admittedly, I initially thought all that gear was completely unnecessary and coming from the school of ‘bro lifters’ figured it was an amusing show from people trying to give off an ‘athlete’ vibe.


But it’s only when you delve deeper into powerlifting do you discover their function. Now I’m left scrolling through desertbarbell.co to construct my Christmas wish list.


Fortunately, DB co-founder Patrik Hedqvist has loaned me some of the necessary equipment and it’s taken a little adjustment in training to see how it all should come together.


Powermeet 5.0 is a ‘classic’ competition which essentially means athletes are only allowed to use approved lifting belts, singlet (don’t laugh at the pictures), wrist wraps, knee sleeves, special footwear and chalk.


We’ll break down what’s required for the three individual lifts.


For the squat, I’m using a weightlifting belt with a lever buckle, Nike Romaleos 2 powerlifting shoes, and knee sleeves, all of which are basically new for this challenge.


IMG-20180816-WA0001


The belt needs to be pretty tight so it does initially dig into your hip bone, leaving a bit of bruising for the first few uses, but it has helped immensely with stabilising my spine, and crucially by allowing me to contract my stomach against it for maximal support.


The shoe, with its raised heel, enables a deeper squat while  keeping the body upright, and the advantage of the knee sleeves I’ve found is more mental than anything as it gives extra support to a joint that can feel pretty susceptible to injury when put under pressure.


For bench, I’ve actually began using the belt for this as well, purely because I find it improves the quality of my brace and breathing. The shoes have stayed on too, as the high-heel assists with my arch, while wraps obviously support my wrists.


Finally, with the deadlift, flat-soled shoes like Chuck Taylor All-Stars have allowed my feet to be as close to the ground as possible, thereby reducing the bar’s total range of motion, and improving my foot stability.


The belt, worn slightly higher up for this movement, has made it possible to harden my trunk and give me a correct lumbar position at the start of the rep, while chalk keeps my the skin on my hands and the bar from slipping.


That last point is no joke by the way, my hands have been torn apart by the countless reps throughout this process.


It’s been an education getting to grips with all these accessories but at least I look like a powerlifter… hopefully I can move weight like one, too.


COACH CORNER WITH PATRIK HEDQVIST (@borjetheswede)


Powerlifting Essentials


Training with focus on barbell sports can be very simple, you only need a bar and some weights but there are also a few things that can come in handy to improve your chances to successful lifting. Let’s start from the bottom:


Shoes


The choice of shoes depends on your squat technique. A traditional weightlifting shoe, with elevated heel, is made for lifting and is often a good choice. But for wide standing style a flat shoe is often more comfortable. All major brands sell good lifting shoes nowadays so it´s mostly about finding the model that fits your feet and feel stable.


Knee sleeves


This can be tricky. Knee sleeves are NOT an absolute must. But, they often bring a sense of security and comfort around the knee joint. The modern sleeves are made of 6 mm neoprene and are very durable. A tip is to not buy too tight a fit. The compression is important but since it’s just neoprene the elastic recoil is very limited and to struggle with getting the sleeves on is just counter-productive.


Belt


After good shoes the most important item is a quality belt. There are several models on the market, but leather is absolutely the way to go. Velcro ones are cheaper, but not appropriate for serious lifting. On the leather belts you have the choice between pronged belts or lever belts. It all comes down to feeling here. I personally like the prong ones because it makes it easier to adjust and more “organic”. However, there is no denying the level of tightness a lever belt can provide.




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