THE BASICS: 30 minute intense work out where hardcore stretching, conditioning and toning reps take place on a gigantic vibrating machine, known commonly as a power plate, but I thought it reminded me of something rather ruder.
THE BITCHES: Carly (for my sins).
THE CLASS: I took this class straight after a Frame Camp class (that you can read about here), and so won’t wax lyrical about the Frame Studio again, other than to say it is punchy, sassy and exactly the sort of sexy East London interior you’d expect from a studio with a website like this.
Teacher Emma persuaded me to stay on and give the Frame Vibe class a try. I was already drenched in sweat and shaking with adrenaline, and so before my body had chance to realise what I was doing to it, I decided that yes, I would take on the challenge in honour of Project Hot Bitch and all I am hoping it will achieve. Body, prepare to shaaaaake.
A lovely small class of 4 (most of Shoreditch still in bed with hangovers, I assume!) congregated in the studio, and were introduced to our power plate machines. Emma came around and programmed them for us throughout the class as needed, and as a newbie who had never used one before, she took the time to explain to me the best way to stand on the plate so as not to have a pneumatic drill juddering up and down my spine. The key is in the balls and sides of the feet; the aim was to avoid putting your weight on your heels, or else the vibrations just shoot up your spine, which was pretty unpleasant and not conducive to a work-out!
And so we took on the power plates. If you haven’t used one before, then I implore you to- if only for the fact that it shakes up your workout routine in a completely new way, and they do seem to be in every gym nowadays so it is time to make peace with them and give them a go.
The sensations were incredibly strange to get used to. One of the best ways to describe it (and no I am not going down the obvious route, you little beasts!) is like standing and stretching on a giant electric toothbrush. I find these make my whole mouth feel like it is itchy/ticklish and my vision go ever so slightly blurry, and so have to work hard to control the toothbrush whilst brushing my pearly whites.
This machine had exactly the same effect on my whole body. I had to really concentrate and exaggerate each stretch, squat or clench in order to remain stable and control the movement. Which is the exact point of the machines- to make you really bed down into each position, and not then just hold it, but have to continually work to hold it.
The 30 minute class itself was a definitely a challenge, but as it was designed (I think) to encourage you to grit your teeth and muster every last ounce of strength and stamina, it was the kind of class I relish. Think a medium-speed, deep-stretching, weight lifting, muscle conditioning class, with one minute per repetition activity, but then put it on a power plate. This was the class in a nutshell. And I find those sorts of classes a good work-out without the addition of a power plate, so it was an extra level of endurance to really make you sweat! Nothing makes me happier than staring a class in the face and then kicking it in the balls when it is still busy trying to win the stare-off, which I am proud to say I did to this class. At least I felt like I did. God only knows what I looked like by the end.
One slightly unexpected highlight of the class was when, through the open side doors, the grinning face of a man supping on a can of Stella appeared, and then started jigging about in time with the music. I think he was just a friendly Shoreditch man of no fixed abode, who had heard the pumping sounds and been instantly bitten by the Frame bug, but the sight of him with his big grin and his early morning beverage made myself along with the rest of the class collapse into giggles. It took us a few seconds to compose ourselves once Emma had politely closed the side doors and left him to his breakfast.
One slightly unexpected and somewhat personal “lowlight” was the warm-down. We had to position our core muscle groups over the plate to help massage out any lactic acid, whilst the vibraton frequency of the machine was super-charged. Hamstrings and glutes, for example, were sat snugly on the powerplate, whilst Emma turned up the dial and what felt like a billion vibrations powered through your legs and massaged the tissue. It felt blissful after the exertion, but I was obviously not used to the intensity of the vibrations….
…. which meant that when Emma first turned the machine up, for 5 long, horrendous seconds of my life, I thought my bladder had uncontrollably emptied itself all over my trousers and the power plate beneath. I honestly did. I had to look down in horror, convinced I was going to see a pool of pee, and was somewhat relieved when I didn’t. And THAT rather
embarrassingly succinctly proves my point that the power plates make you have to concentrate on clenching and controlling your muscles whilst doing something relatively simple, thus improving the intensity of your work out!
THE VERDICT: This was a totally unplanned class but I loved it. It was like trying to stabilise myself on a giant electric toothbrush, but I REALLY felt it in my muscles, and my arms and legs were made of rubber bands on the walk home. I would definitely try this class again, and I encourage others on their Hot Bitch journey to give one a try, for the fun factor if anything! (Check out the Sept.2013 2-fer package).
THE EXTRAS: Gurning mid-squat on a giant vibrator, whilst an old dude with a stella tries to break in and have a dance, followed by the sensation of uncontrollably peeing your pants. I solemnly swear to never leave London as long as life keeps serving up these corkers.