If you’re a total techie, need to be in-the-know about the latest health trends swooping through major cities, or want to burn 1000 calories in 45 minutes (so … pretty much all of us?)—you need to check out this workout.
Europe knows all about the technology, but it has just reached American soil—with the first class in North America, AG6, launching last month in New York City.
The technology, based out of Spain, is called PRAMA and Asphalt Green on the Upper East Side, which looks more like an arcade than a gym, is the only place in America that offers it … as of now. If the hugely positive response is any indication, it won’t be long before franchises are popping up throughout the rest of the country as well.
It’s not surprising that people are loving it: The workout blends the high-intensity training we love, with a circuit-style workout based around functional moves that promise to burn up some major calories in a 45-minute session.
All of this is done while channeling what they call your “sixth sense”—or muscle memory—through the use of extremely stimulating technology that keeps your mind and body guessing. Sound fun? It is. And here’s what you need to know before you check it out:
The Definition of Functional Fitness
The workout is based around this “sixth sense” or muscle memory. And it does so by focusing on movements with purpose. Rather than isolating a single muscle, each movement trains your body for the actions you perform daily, like bending down and picking things up, for example. To do this, you will strengthen muscle groups together, increasing efficiency and reducing your risk of injury—like forward lunges while doing an overhead press or skaters with a medicine ball slam.
The visual cues and targets make the whole class very results-driven. It sounds complicated, but the room does all the thinking for you. As the walls and floors light up and respond to your touch, it not only cues you on what to do and when, but it becomes your competitor, teammate, and target all in one.
This isn’t a run on the treadmill where you can zone out for an hour—you will be mentally engaged the entire class. And that is thanks to a studio built around special technology—called PRAMA—that features pressure sensitive walls and floors with integrated LED light and sound to create an immersive fitness experience.
The result is a room that feels alive; almost as if it’s pushing you to your limits, encouraging you to move faster.
“We pre-program the whole system before we even start,” Jennifer Coccia, Director of fitness at Asphalt Green explained to PIX11 News. “We have light and music that’ll tell you when to work and when to rest we have pre-marked floors, pressure sensitive walls and floors and you’re using your body weight, resistance span, slam balls, dumb bells.”
The 1,800 square-foot PRAMA room contains about ten different “stations,” each designed around a different exercise, whether it be Russian twists, skaters or sprints. While the excises you’re performing are the standard ones you will see in a typical bootcamp class, the interactive room takes them to the next level.
For example, instead of performing a simple skater, you will be aiming for a lighted targets on the floor. As you hit the target with your right foot, the light will shut off, as another target on your left lights up, prompting you to shift your weight to the other foot.
Or you will perform sprints, with the goal of reaching the illuminated “8” at the end of your runway, tapping it (to swap the illumination back to the “1”) and sprinting back to where you began.
As you move through each station you will hit every body part, performing both strength training moves as well as cardio conditioning that gets your heart rate up.
During the full-body workout, endurance, strength, balance, speed, agility and reaction time all come into play. The floor references with responsive lights provide visual cues that will prompt you to move faster, improving reaction time and working your reflexes.
The Structure of Class
So you get the gist of the workout, but how exactly do you progress through the class? After the instructor runs you through each station, demonstrating the movement to be performed at each, you will do a quick five-minute warm up. A light jog, some jumping jacks, stretching, a plank or two … nothing crazy. Then you will jump into the workout.
You will perform a total of four rounds during class. The first round is 30 seconds of work, 20 seconds of rest. This first round is designed to let you get acclimated with the space and the flow of the workout, and ask for any clarification on exercises if you need it. The lights will dim to a neon purple or red and music will start blasting—this is your cue to work. When the lights change colors and the music fades, that is your cue to move to the next station.
Once you get through all of the stations once (about eight of them were used during our class, but the instructor informed us that every class is different). The next two rounds increase to one minute of work with 20 seconds of rest between each. The fourth round picks the pace back up to 30 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. This is where the instructor will really encourage you to push yourself beyond your limits. You can do anything for 30 seconds, right?
Many of the exercises are performed using just your body weight: sprints, burpees, ladder jumps. But others will add in some sort of resistance whether it be holding a medicine ball out in front of you during fast feet, holding a weighted sand ball during Russian twists, or using resistance bands during side lunges and forward jumps.
After you complete all four rounds you will hit the deck for a quick 5-minute stretch (after running to the towel bin and wiping the dripping sweat from your brow).
The Reward Factor/ Mental Stimulation
Anyone who has a hard time staying motivated running on a treadmill, or even pushing themselves as hard as they can in a bootcamp class, will benefit from this class style. In every exercise you have to hit targets, holding you accountable and challenging you with a specific goal (aside from having to fit into last years bathing suit in a few weeks). And since the timing is regulated by the technology, it frees up the instructors time to motivate you and guide you on form.
Tips for Newbies:
- Wear form-fitting clothing. There’s a lot of jumping around and moving quickly from station to station. Plus, with the functional movements there’s a lot of movement going on at once and having baggy pants or a sweatshirt in the way won’t help.
- Get there 15 minutes early. Not only will it allow you to acclimate yourself with the space (which can be jarring at first since it’s not your typical studio), but they also close the door promptly at the start time of class. The initial few minutes is all instruction, so if you miss it, not only will you be clueless, but it increases your risk of injury since you won’t know what you’re doing.
- Get out of your head. The beauty of the technology is that it does all the thinking for you. The audio and visual cues all alert you when to start and stop working, so all you have to do is go for it. And with the intervals only being 30 seconds to a minute each you can focus on pushing yourself as hard as you can for that short time period.
- Get competitive. You will perform each station in groups of three, so get a little competitive. Whether it’s trying to keep up with the speed of the person next to you running sprints, performing fast feet or doing skaters, use their energy to motivate you to push harder.
We’ll leave you with this:
“It’s like Twister and Simon Says just had a baby, and that baby has a six-pack, and is a raging lunatic,” said Andrew Ramos as he huffed through a class on PIX11 news.
He nailed it on the head.