Out-of-the-box workouts in Dubai

- Bandana Shah

Dubai offers plenty to keep you motivated in terms of fitness. The array of options include lazy ones, dog lovers, yogis, boxers, busy bees and working moms.

Here are some out-of-the-box workouts near you compiled by Yoga & Wellness:

20 minutes X 2 days a week

Most of us are already busy with life, family and work. Where’s the time to fit in long gym hours, day after day, when Tune Up fitness studio is promising you the same result in 20 minutes with electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) training? You read it right, 20 minutes!

What is it?

The technology of facilitating muscle contraction using electric impulses originated in 1960s Russia to train Olympic athletes. Over the years it has been developed and used in physiotherapy rehabilitation for injury recovery. This next level fitness has already taken over the West with soccer stars Karim Benzema and Christiano Ronaldo promoting various products (machines) used in the training.

A weight-less gym

As you walk into Tune Up you’ll see a sleek machine, a screen, a set of super small dumbbells, an exercise ball and huge mirrors.

What do you do?

Firstly, get changed and lose everything you’re wearing, yes everything and get into the tights provided. Then a wet suit with electrode patches will be strapped on to you. Totally Instagrammable! An electric current is then passed through various areas of your body. It could get quite ticklish. For different workouts such as cardio and strength, different levels of electricity will be set by your trainer for a specific time. You will then be doing a few sets of otherwise easy exercises like squats, lunges, pushups and weights. The current passing through your body makes these tasks feel INTENSE.

The science behind it:

During regular strength training, the brain sends impulses which stimulate certain muscles to contract. However, not all muscles have a well-developed connection to the brain and therefore are not activated as easily in order to develop properly.

During EMS training, the current facilitates the motor nerves to reach into the depths of the body. Thus, more muscle groups can be addressed, especially those we can hardly reach with conventional workouts.

Tune Up’s founder, Mohammad Deghan, says that 90% of all muscle groups are addressed with each contraction and, depending on the body type, about 700 to 1,500 calories can be burnt in a session.

Safety first:

Deghan adds, “The most important factors are the machine, it’s supervision by a proper trainer and the recovery time for the body. We insist that our clients take only two sessions a week with a gap of at least 48 hours between each.”


• Builds muscles

• Improves posture

• Helps achieve a toned body

• Relives joints



The first thing that attracted me to take up EMS training at Tune Up was the time factor. A gym requires daily commitment but this is just twice a week and I’m moving towards my goal of keeping fit.

- Nina A H Neragesh

For the underdogs

Aiming to make boxing accessible to all, Underdogboxn is offering some hybrid classes including Boxn. Here’s what first timers can expect during a 50-minute class:

• A full-body warm up

• Rounds 1-3: Practice punches in easy combinations

• Round 4-6: Not only does the intensity of your punches pick up, so does the music …

It’s the eye of the tiger, it's the thrill of the fight

Risin’ up to the challenge of our rival

And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night

And he's watchin' us all with the eye of the tiger

… Ok Rockys, it’s not over yet

• Round 7-9: Power punches speed you up for the final rounds

• Round 10-12: Do all the previous rounds thrice

• Cool down: Stretch, recover and hit the fuel bar for energizing shakes

The best part though, is that you will be punching aqua bags instead of the traditional ones filled with sand or rags. Manager Brian Cochrane informs, “With the usual punching bags, the energy or force that you pack into your punch dissimilates back into your body which hurts. On the contrary, the water-filled bag absorbs the impact, allowing you to punch harder. Thus, it is healthier for your elbow, knuckles and shoulder joints.

41°C for 75 minutes

You are sure to get drenched in sweat when you step in for a Hot Voyoga Flow session at Voyoga.

The flow, invented by Voyoga’s founder Victoria Cunningham, compliments bikram practice and other forms of hot yoga. “We need variations in our yoga practice. Though the discipline is same as bikram yoga, the postures are different and the flow is slow and controlled.”

The classes are open to all levels of yogis, as well as new students. Each session of 75 minutes takes place in a heated room of 41°C and the sequence is a set of each posture – a 20-minute warm up and two breathing postures, flowing into a balancing and standing series. The practice will take students into a relaxing savasana (corpse pose), allowing the body to recuperate and reap the benefits of your practice.

The series is designed to work the body inside out focusing on yoga therapy on the spine, which can relieve lower back problems. Postures that will challenge your physical and mental awareness also detoxify the mind and the body.

Working mother of three, Naveen Raza has been doing Hot Voyoga for three years. She says the sequence which combines flow and balance elements give her the maximum benefit by working the muscles, joints and internal organs. “In the hot room, you sweat to flush toxins out, you can add that extra stretch to your poses when muscles are warmer, work maximum muscle groups and burn more calories. You get to focus on cardio as well as strength,” says Naveen.


Playdate with pups

Does it break your heart to leave your dogs at home when you leave for work every day? Well at least you can take them for pilates classes. Pilates and kids’ yoga provider Phoenix Rising, in partnership with (animal) modelling firm Animal Agency, conduct puppy pilates at two locations: Reform, The Lakes and Dogwalk, Al Qouz.

Kirsty MacPherson of Phoenix Rising says: “Firstly, pilates is for owners and not the dogs. Many asks us how we would teach their dogs how to work out. There are a few workouts which involve lifting the dogs. Most of the movements involve lying down, rolling or sitting, thus allowing the dogs to participate playfully. The sessions are a perfect opportunity for your dogs to socialize. We ensure that they are familiarized and vaccinated. Also, dogs of all ages, sized small to medium are welcome. The first five to 10 minutes are fun as the dogs try to familiarize. While some stick to their owners throughout, other tend to get a bit too friendly.”

Participant Catherine Broad is accompanied to the classes by her three pugs. “My dogs are really into it. Not only have the made friends with other dogs, they also join me,” says Catherine. Another participant Yvonne Senden says, “Doing pilates my 12-year-old rescue dog is a lot of fun, but also a lot of work. She mostly stays next to me during the class.”

Midweek unwinding

Yousra Diab at Urban Yoga helps you relax during her 75-minute candlelit yin yoga class on Tuesday evenings. “During yin yoga practice, postures are held for a longer time. Depending on the class theme or the body area of focus, we use suitable props such as blocks, bolsters and belts to facilitate and deepen the poses. In addition to the yin yoga practice, I also introduce other complimentary practices such as guided meditation, mindfulness and pranayama during the sessions. The concept of hosting the class in a room with dim lighting is to help participants relax, let go of the work stress and practice stillness in the middle of the week.”

The room is quite safe and calming, and the scented candles help you relax and get ready for a good night’s sleep and the rest of the week!

Participant Rachael Ford says, “I've been attending Yousra's candlelit yin class since last year. I've practiced yin outside of her class too, but the candlelit class is by far my favourite. The ambience created by the low light helps to let go of stress and immerse myself in my practice by reducing distractions and making it easier to focus on myself without comparing my ability to other students and worrying about being judged. The extra time dedicated to pranayama gives me the best night’s sleep I get all week.”

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