Get ready for a non-stop hour of high-energy, total-body fat burn …

Imagine for a moment, your ideal fitness class. Chances are, it would include a high-intensity, whole-body workout to maximise fat burn; cardio and breathing techniques to work your heart and lungs; stretching to increase flexibility and – most importantly – great results! The Hour of Power aims to target all these in a high-rep weights and aerobic work out that’s simple, yet effective.

Description: Class of the month: Hour of Power

The background

The Hour of Power class is based on the Fitness 4x4 method, which shuns common gym classes’ strong focus on the lower body and instead incorporates all four of your limbs into a workout. It was developed more than 25 years ago by DraganRadovic, and is now led by his son, Rajko. The idea is to move away from the many fitness fads around these days – the moves are kept simple allowing you to really hone in on what you’re doing and to enable your body to get in touch with the movements. Add a touch of empowering music, team spirit and mental prowess and you’ve got yourself the high-energy, liberating and physcially challenging class that is the Hour of Power.

The experience

We were warned before the session began that we should – for our first class, at least – stick to lighter weights. We would be pumping away non-stop for an hour, after all. The class began with the usual joint mobility exercises such as arm circles, but the biggest chunk of the warm-up consisted of what seemed like a lifetime of body-weight squats (at least 200!). Focusing on breathing allowed us to squat for longer than we’d thought possible, and we were soon very warm!

Althought the rest of the class is performed while either marching, bouncing or running on the spot, the focus turns to the upper body. There is no rest during the Hour of Power, only active recovery. For example, once we were done with the hundreds of reps of biceps curls, we moved straight into shoulder pressess to recover. Biceps curls and shoulder presses are then combined into one exercise ( curl and press) and finally there’s the fat-blasting triceps extension.

When the intensive workout came to an end we moved onto some yoga-style stretching and relaxation to bring down our heart rates and work on our much-neglected flexibility.

The verdict

A handful of simple moves may not seem like they could fill an entire hour’s worth of exercise, but the vast number of fast-paced reps you are performing means they do, easily. Because the resistance exercises are all performed while jogging on the spot, you can really feel your heart pumping and your muscles burning. There is also a rule in the class stating that when a member of the class shouts something (anything!), the rest of the class must shout it back louder. This, along with sequences in which you face a partner or make a circle, creates a great team vibe even though it’s ultimately an individual workout.

This class is also a great way to work on muscular endurance and cardio fitness, which means it complements a multitude of sports, from marathon running to boxing.

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