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Here’s a hint at what you can expect to hear and see trending in fitness and training this year. Some are old, some are new, some are fusions or evolutions of existing methods and practices.
Two letters can create a buzz around new TVs, cameras and even mindless movies with poor plots – ‘3D’. This year, 3D Movement Training will move into the murky waters recently occupied by “functional movement”. In a nutshell, the term means moving your body through all the possible planes of motion; sagittal (up/down), frontal (sideways) and transverse (twisting/rotating), as well as incorporating movement patterns into your routine. This is (or should be) a basic principle incorporated into training for any field or court sport.
As an example, instead of a push-up, you might do a crawl that moves into merges into a push-up, which twists into a side plank, which moves into a squat-jump with a twist.
This kind of workout can be pushed harder with implements such as ViPR (which is like a log), TRX and kettlebells.
Why do two workouts when you can combine them into one? Fusion training combines at least two different disciplines or training types. For example, we’ll see more Yoga HIIT, which involves hits of high-intensity interval training – think burpees, squats and core work – between yoga flow sequences, before wrapping up with a little meditation. Then there’s PILOXING® (is it done by pillocks?), which combines Pilates and boxing for what is described as “unleashing your inner Rocky while feeling like you’re in a scene from Flashdance”. You do boxing combos in 8-ounce gloves with squats, lunges, and single-leg lifts, along with Pilates movements to improve balance, posture and core strength.
Technology and a greater understanding of energy systems and individual recovery patterns will help us know when we’re overtraining/under-recovering and when we have a window to drive ourselves hard. Bluetooth heartrate monitors, heartrate variability trackers and devices measuring sleep quality will be put to systematic and synergistic use, rather than just throwing up some cool numbers and funky graphs. Putting it all together in a way that makes sense is what will be termed ‘Energy Systems Training’. The payoff? Better quality training and less walking around like an arthritic zombie.
The American College of Sports Medicine says this is the big comeback trend for 2015. With so many corny exercise devices saturating the market (iGallop, anyone?), the bodyweight backlash was overdue. There are always advantages in simplicity – in this case, a lower risk of injury and a convenience that comes while still building strength and maintaining muscle. It’s not just about an endless variety of push-ups and pull-ups, either. Expect to see moves inspired by gymnastics, parkour and yoga, with people hanging, hand standing, jumping and crawling in all kinds of spaces. Add in suspension training systems such as TRX, along with fusion-style variations of old bodyweight favourites, such as YogaFit.
For many of us, working sitting down – often with poor posture for hours on end – works against all that we train for. It turns out that it’s not great for our productivity, either. As employers continue their quest to get more out of less, there’s a growing acknowledgement that a little more investment in workers’ wellbeing.
Standing desks and ‘walking’ meetings are just the start of it. We’ll see hamster wheel-type walking contraptions at standing desks and even alarms that alert workers to get up out of their chairs and move every half hour or hour. Forget the days of a weekly office visit from ‘massage angels’. Instead expect exercise leaders (from outside or inside the workplace) to show the team such exercises and stretches they can do throughout the work day.
It’s a stigma we’ve been fighting for years – that women who go hard at the weights will end up looking like Gerard Butler in 300, complete with beard. Images of the tiny Miranda Kerr doing weight work, Crossfit athletes and the rise of raw powerlifting in Australia has made people look around and see that women who strain at a real weight rather than swinging tiny hand weights don’t end up the size of a truck at all. More strength, higher metabolism, better immunity, improved bone density – the advantages are too many for women to ignore.
Every year yoga has a new twist to keep it hip and trendy. This year, larger gyms and fitness centres such as Virgin Active will be offering aerial yoga.
Aerial yoga involved stretches and yoga poses using a huge silk sling/small hammock hanging from the ceiling. Sometimes you use the sling to support a limb while you stretch, other times you sit, stand or lie in the sling, and occasionally you might use it to hang upside-down. Apparently it’s very rare for people to fall out of the slings.
This type of workout emphasises the core and helps lengthen and stretch the spine and neck – but it’s still a decent cardio workout, too, with classes varying in difficulty.
This isn’t the only workout type moving up in the world – expect to see airborne versions of Pilates and group aerobic activities such as Sky Zone, a trampolining workout. Trampolining is said to engage your core muscles and the stabilising muscles around the joints, while giving you a workout comparable to running, but without the pressure on weight-bearing joints.
We hear a lot of coaches and athletes talk about the “one-percenters” that can make the little difference to performance. One is body heat – a slight rise will have a detrimental impact on performance. More and more athletes will appreciate that an easy way to manage this issue is by choosing intelligent fabrics, especially for warm weather conditions. A great example is the ICE X fabric, which 2XU uses in its Run collection and many other garments (e.g. cycling jerseys and many more). ICE X is a high-filament yarn that helps enhance moisture management – that is, it efficiently wicks sweat away from the body, a process that facilitates body cooling. Xylitol is also used in conjunction with ICE X fabric. This helps lower the temperature at the skin by as much as 4°C, plus it acts as a UV reflector, reducing the heat the body takes from the sun by reflecting the sun’s rays.
Women no longer want their arm and shoulder movement to be inhibited by bras and a crazy network of straps. Enter the ‘racerback’, a bra and top design that allows for maximum movement of the back and arms without any strap slippage – even if you have sloping and/or narrow shoulders. This style is also a great option for women who find traditional straps painful. Racerback bras have the advantage in the looks department, too, as they can be better at hiding straps under sleeveless and tank-style tops.
Did you know that there is extensive research into whether the colours you wear affect your sports performance? Some academics are even leaning to one colour having a superior effect – red. Of course, a lot of this may be psychological. We feel we have a colour or colour combo that is ‘lucky’ or motivates us (e.g. team colours) or makes us feel more combative. A funky print may energise us or make us feel like we stand out more (and we don’t want to slack off when attention’s on us!). Even if it is psychological, this doesn’t make the effect any less real – and this can apply as much to men as it does to women. So go on – ramp up your training with energetic prints and colours on your shorts, socks, compression clothes, tops, cycle jerseys and more.