21 February 2020

Natalie Tries: Speedflex

July 16, 2013
speedflex machine


A mirrored room, gym equipment, burly instructors, and women in gym kit – this looks suspiciously like any other exercise class. ‘This isn’t like any other exercise class,’ says the instructor as the group fills out their risk assessment forms. I stretched, filled up my water bottle and waited to be proved wrong.


Speedflex is a high-intensity, cardio and resistance training session that works on a circuit basis, moving through the equipment in timed units. The sessions are led by a personal trainer and with small groups taking part you always get that one-to-one intimacy without the pressure or cost of traditional personal training.

The thing that makes Speedflex stand apart from regular circuit training is the Speedflex machine itself. The whole concept is based around the Speedflex machine which forms the basis of the training session. You will use other equipment such as weights and medicine balls in-between, but the core of your workout is focussed on this machine.

The Speedflex Machine

The machines have been designed on the principles of resistance training. There are no weights and the user doesn’t have to adjust any settings. This makes it safe and much quicker to use, which is ideal in rapid circuits.

The machines respond to a person’s force. The more pressure you apply, the more pressure the machine gives back. This means you can work to your highest possible intensity or completely cool off without having to stop. You control your workout.

speedflex machine

No matter what level of fitness you’re at you will be able to complete this class. The machines respond to your lethargy, so if you get tired the machine will become easier. This makes the classes much more inclusive than traditional gyms, where the unfit individual is singled out.

The machines provide a completely closed movement with both feet fully grounded and both arms on the machine. This significantly reduces your possibility of injury as the machines encourage stability.

The machines aren’t perfect. They can’t do lateral movement. And as most sportswomen know, lateral movement is vital for well-rounded training and body development. But the classes acknowledge this downfall and the exercises with the weights and medicine ball make sure you target what the machines can’t achieve.

The class

The session itself lasts for 45 minutes altogether, with periods of intense work and slower recovery. It’s intense and you will absolutely get sweaty – because your work-rate is entirely self-controlled you will push yourself to your individual limits without the risk of injury.

At the beginning of the session you’re given a heart rate monitor, which clips to your chest and for the entire session your heart rate and work rate intensity is shown on screens around the room. This will no doubt bring out your competitive streak. My eyes were glued to my work rate throughout and my desire to bring my work rate up into the ‘red zone’ at 90 per cent definitely pushed me to work harder.

Speedflex heart monitor

As well as giving you competitive motivation, the heart monitors also make the work out much safer. The trained instructor will be monitoring everyone’s heart rate throughout and if there’s anything worrying he’ll be able to stop you before you even feel a twinge.

When the session ends the group gathers together in a sweaty, exhausted huddle and the instructor runs through your performance analysis. The technology is incredible and allows the instructor to calculate everyone’s calorie burn and levels of work within an instant. Seeing it on the screen like that really leaves you with something to work towards and gives you a determination for the next session.

The benefits

–       It’s safe. Injury risk is minimal due to the resistance based training and your ability to control your level of work.

–       Amazing calorie burn. Individuals are burning up to 800/900 calories per 45-minute session!

–       You will tone – not gain muscle. The muscles are lengthened and stretched and not ripped and torn. This makes Speedflex ideal if you’re trying to tone up without gaining muscle mass.

–       You won’t hurt in the morning! As the muscles aren’t being ripped you don’t get that inconvenient soreness the next day. So you can fly up the stairs to work the next day despite having burnt nearly 1000 calories the night before.

–       It’s low-impact. The resistance-based exercises have no detrimental effects on your joints. So if, like me, you suffer with your ankles or knees, you don’t need to worry about making them worse.

Speedflex centres are currently based in both Newcastle and London, and with a range of flexible membership packages there should be something to suit what you want. Head to www.speedflex.com to make a booking or follow @SpeedflexEurope for the latest updates.  

Natalie Morris, Sportsister
The Women’s Sport Magazine


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