Aquallure, Dolphin Square Fitness Centre
THE BASICS: Aquallure brings a hybrid concept to London- spinning on a specially adapted spin bike, submerged in a swimming pool. Yes, you read that right! £20 for a drop in, multiple class passes available at cheaper rates.
THE BITCHES: Carly and honarary HB Jason
THE CLASS: Underwater spinning. I was so confused when I initially heard about this class. My first question had rather embarrassingly been “how do you breathe?!”- failing to realise that the class isn’t actually spinning with your head under the water. That would be silly!
I was relieved to find out that actually, Aquallure offer spinning with your torso submerged in a swimming pool (the water is about up to your rib cage). The pedals are big, flat and wide, like flippers. The resistance of the water against these flippers makes for a tough work out- the faster you go, the greater the resistance. One nice aspect of working out in the water is that you don’t pour with sweat, because the water keeps you cool. For someone like me whose core temperature is permanently 400 degrees Celsius, this was most welcome.
At the moment, Aquallure is only available in the Dolphin Square Fitness Club, which is about a 10 minute walk from Pimlico. For access, you need to go into a what looks like a resident’s concierge area (Called “Dolphin Square”) and you’ll be directed through to the back of the building where the gym and pool are.
The ladies behind the fitness club’s reception desk work for Dolphin Square, are therfore 100% representative of Dolphin Square Fitness Club and not at all of Aquallure (who merely rent an area of the pool for their classes). It was a shame that the ladies behind this main reception desk looked acted like our arrival was an inconvenience. They were disinterested and seemed irritated at our questions about directions, water and towels, which wasn’t the nicest introduction to the fitness centre. However, I stress this is an issue for Dolphin Square, and not Aquallure, to improve!
After searching around for the changing rooms, honorary HB Jason and I popped into our respective rooms to change and meet each other at the pool.
We were greeted by the teacher, who spent a few moments with each of us individually, setting the height and length of the bike to fit our body shapes (bikes are on the side of the pool at this point). We were then shown how to gently roll the bikes to the edge of the pool and into the water (they were easy to move about).
We had time for a quick hello with founder of Aquallure in the UK, Dorine. She was absolutely lovely and told us a little about the class and the set-up. It was great to have her there as an ambassador for the company- thank you for being so welcoming, Dorine!
Anyway- we slipped into the water and formed a little arc of bikes in the water, facing our teacher (who stayed up on the poolside so we could see what he was doing with his legs). We plopped in the water and hoiked ourselves on the bikes, getting used to how the flippers pedals felt on our feet and feeling comfortable in the water.
Jason and I were laughing hysterically at the fact we usually only see each other in an office context- and here we were sitting on bikes in a swimming pool.
Our teacher cranked the music up, which was good to keep a beat to (although it is tricky to keep in time to a fast beat on a spin bike at the best of times- put said bike in the water ,and these chubby thighs were lagging waaaaay behind the beat!)
We started slowly. A lot of arm movements were worked into the session, which I wasn’t expecting. We spent a lot of time pedaling away furiously under water, while we “swam” with our arms (submerging them in the water so the resistance helped to work the muscles). It felt a bit bizarre at first- but we must have worked hard because the next morning the DOMS were mainly in my arms, which I wasn’t expecting! (DOMS = delayed onset muscle soreness-that “ooof” you make the day after exercise when you get out of bed)
We also used little hand-paddles, which we pushed and pulled through the water (whilst pedaling) which again worked our arms out well due to the resistance they caused.
I found it difficult to keep to the beat, and sometimes it was tricky to hear what our teacher was saying due to the echo in the pool, but these are minor observations. Overall, I completed the whole thing laughing along with Jason through pure enjoyment at doing something different and fun.
We wibbled out of the water on exhausted legs, and hoiked our bikes back out onto the side. The people who had been swimming their lengths at the far side of the pool while our class took place looked like they were thinking about signing up for the next class…!
THE VERDICT: Hilarious. And a lot more of a workout than I realised, hidden by the fact that the water kept us cool when we should have been sweating. This class is like a mixture of swimming, spinning and water aerobics, and one that will bring a new dynamic to your training schedule if you are looking for something to mix it up a bit.