Be prepared to go on the Assault at Haddins Fitness

Kara Martin 07:40 12/01/2017
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Tougher than it looks: The Assault AirBike class will force you to push your limits.

    Everybody knows that if you’re mad about fitness – or just looking to build up a tolerance for some tough-as-nails workouts – then Haddins Fitness in Abu Dhabi is always more than delighted to deliver the goods.

    This month we tried their two new classes featuring some of the fitness world’s most notorious machinery – the Concept2 Rower and the Assault AirBike. Gym Founder, Michael Haddin says: “These are the only two cardio machines we have in our gym, we specifically like them because they don’t require any electricity, the power is generated by you. They’re totally man-powered, full body-working machines. “

    The AirBike is better than your typical Spin bike because you have to use your arms as well as your legs; same with the rower.

    And well, the benefits of HIIT training speak for themselves – it burns immense amounts of calories, it’s a fat burner… We just set out to make a group cardio workout a bit more interesting.”

    Each class features three chunks of very short working out time, each of which centres around specific machine, the bike or rower. You’re not on the machine all morning though, and will spend plenty time hopping off it too for other tough complementary exercises.

    Needless to say, we’ve never been more distracted for 45 minutes and are genuinely grateful for how quickly the time goes.


    Yeah…the name of this Assault AirBike class is a bit shady but the results you get from it aren’t too shabby. What we like about this piece of non-motorised equipment is that it looks like it belongs with cobweb all over it in the corner of an Arnie gym, it’s so simply designed.

    But don’t be fooled, it is also one of the most effective cardio machines ever designed.

    “The AirBike is so difficult for people because of the resistance from the wind as you try to power it yourself,” Haddin says. “And anything where you’re linking both upper and lower body means you’ve got to really engage the chain as well so you’re really using everything.”

    Row with the flow: The Concept2 Rower at Haddins Fitness in Abu Dhabi

    Row with the flow: The Concept2 Rower at Haddins Fitness in Abu Dhabi

    Haddin is referring to the kinetic chain – your one big, interconnected chain of muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, and so on, found running through you from the neck down.

    Essentially, your biceps, quads and all that are pretty much useless if you don’t understand how they function as part of this kinetic chain.

    We’re still learning our way through our own chain’s links but definitely felt them trying to work in unison straight through Assaulted’s hard and fast sets, done in short bursts and at higher and higher intensities (and in some cases, longer marathon ones to test our endurance).

    Up top, we were punching our arms like speed boxers to power the handlebars, and below stabbing our heels down into the pedals in attempts to reach max efforts and maximum mileage; and the harder you pump the tougher the resistance becomes.

    Every bit of us was on fire by the end of each bikingbacked exercise circuit, which included Tabata sets of cycling in between push-ups, burpees, plank up-downs, slam balls and more.

    Regular workout enthusiasts know all these exercises inside-out, but it’s where they’re strategically placed within the workout which really gets them to sneak up on you.

    The concept

    Starring the Concept2 rowing machine, this is another 45-minute blasting which combines high intensity bodyweight moves and resistance training.

    You can expect to burn over 500 calories as these types of heart-hammering sessions are designed to keep knocking off calories even after you’ve left the gym panting for your post-workout smoothie.

    Stroke after stroke, you’re getting the same cardiovascular benefits as running but minus the impact the latter has on your joints as you pound the pavement. Legs bend and stretch, the glutes fire up, and the core is tight and keeping you upright as you work to sync up that lower body effort with long, fluid pulls of the arms.

    Just a couple of these sessions a week and you will surely see your muscular and aerobic endurance skyrocket by spring break.

    “I like that there’s the opportunity to work at your own level and intensities at your own machines. You’re watching your clock and your own RPMs and, hopefully, keeping track of these numbers to see how you improve with time. And you will improve,” Haddin says.

    Again this session was split into three blocks. The first featured some Tabatas lasting 12 minutes; the second a 10-minute attempt to do as many rounds as possible of 200 metres rowing, 10 burpees, 100 metres rowing and five stand-ups; and the third was an onslaught of sets of 60 seconds rowing at maximum effort followed by 30 seconds of a cardio exercise out of the boat and back.

    Trusting again in how quickly time flew by last time, we gave it our all in order to then bask in the glory of a full morning still ahead of us. Haddin says: “I don’t want to scare people away with these sessions – I know a lot of people are scared of these CrossFit-style WODs and stuff, so we’re definitely planning to mix it up a lot and feature different things in these three-block sessions each time.

    “There’ll be surprises. We really do pride ourselves at Haddins in the fact that we sit down to curate new workouts each day.”

    So which class of the two is harder? “Well, different people are better at different things. I myself am a bit vertically challenged so I prefer the bikes and can’t get as much reach as others rowing,” admits Haddin. “Either way, both times you’re really challenging your full body to your individual capacity.”

    WHAT: The New Assaulted and Concept classes at Haddins Fitness this January
    WHEN: Call in to enquire about an updated schedule
    WHERE: Haddins Fitness, Zayed Sports City
    COST: Dh80 per class for nonmembers (booking is essential – there are only 15 of each bike/ rower )
    CONTACT: 02 4034233, [email protected],, Facebook ‘Haddins Fitness