The What’s On Workout team have been out and about trying the likes of Pole Fit, Physique 57, Power Walking, swimming lessons, and My Zone at Fitness First.

The US fitness craze causing a stir in Dubai

If your idea of barre-based exercise involves some wafting of arms and maybe a few gentle plies, Physique 57 is here to prove you wrong. What’s On tried a class and our illusions were shattered as soon as instructor Neva – later seen effortlessly dropping into splits during stretches – began firing directions over the mike. This is a relentless, high-intensity workout that will have your muscles burning during the warm-up and screaming for relief by the end.

Already firmly established in Manhattan and Beverley Hills, Physique 57 has now opened a permanent home in Dubai. Classes, which were previously taking place at Ductac in Mall Of The Emirates, are now held in a dedicated studio at Citywalk in Jumeirah. Its fast-paced mixture of cardio, strength training, stretching and recovery promises to strengthen and sculpt your muscles to create a long and lean physique. If the super-toned instructors are any indication, this is one fitness craze that delivers the goods.

Three things you need to know about Physique 57
1. New Yorker Jennifer Vaughan Maanavi left a big job on Wall Street to launch the business.
2. The ballet barre-based workout lasts – you guessed it – 57 minutes.
3. Supermodel Karolina Kurkova and New Girl star Zooey Deschanel are fans.

Physique 57 in Dubai

 Citywalk, Jumeirah, Dubai, Dhs125. Tel: (04) 3448757. Taxi: Citywalk, next to Emirates NBD Bank.

New classes launch in TECOM

Sign up for Total Elliptic’s new weight management programme for a total body workout. Pound your legs and arms simultaneously by using the elliptic machines at this Tecom gym. The programme incorporates fitness assessments and body composition analysis devised by medical professionals. Group elliptic classes using indoor walking machines focus on stamina, strength, aerobic fitness, lower and upper body tone. A weight-loss support group will encourage members to motivate one another and exchange exercise and nutrition tips.

Power walking Dubai

 Floor 8, Yassat Gloria Hotel, Tecom, Dubai, Sun to Thur 8am to 1pm, 5pm to 9pm, Dhs500. Tel: (04) 3818931. Metro: Dubai Internet City.

Hold on tight – pole dancing is the latest fitness craze

What gym class tones every muscle in your body while teaching a mixture of acrobatics, gymnastics and dance? Zumba? Boxfit, perhaps? No, it’s pole dancing. Or, to give it its proper name: pole fitness.

Our instructor at Pole Fit Dubai, at the Capella Club in Dubai Marina, is Vlada, who bounds across the room to greet us. If pole dancing makes us look half as good as her, we’re willing to give it a go.

Before we tackle the pole itself, we stretched every ligament and muscle group. Our first challenge on the pole was gripping it, raising our legs in the air and seeing how long we could hold on. We managed a teeth-clenching, muscle-burning ten seconds.

Vlada demonstrated an impressive array of spins and tricks, which we then tried to copy. But while she twirled effortlessly around the pole, we held on for dear life, pulling weird faces and grunting. But, slowly, we got the hang of it.

Learning to ‘sit’ on the pole (squeezing the pole between the thighs, letting go with your hands and leaning backwards) is one of the most difficult moves a beginner can attempt. With a bit of encouragement we manage something semi-graceful.

At the end of the class Vlada demonstrates more advanced tricks, leaving the class in no doubt that she’s an acrobat. The negative points? We got a bit of ‘pole burn’ on our skin and our muscles are sore. But on the plus side, it was good fun and a hardcore workout that had us gladly signing up for more classes.

“It’s a shame there’s a stigma attached to pole dancing because it’s a highly challenging acrobatic sport,” says Vlada. “My response to anyone who mocks what I do is this: let’s see if you can do it.”

Pole Fitness in Dubai

Capella Club, Silverene Tower, Dubai Marina, Dubai, Sat to Thur 9.30am to 10pm. Tel: (04) 4526000. Metro: Jumeirah Lake Towers.

Finally learn those lessons

If learning to swim has lingered on your to-do list all the way into adulthood, now could be the time to finally tick that box. Fitness First has launched a new Swim Academy in Dubai, offering lessons for beginners – both adults and children. The instructors are qualified members of the Swimming Teachers’ Association and well-equipped to reassure even the most nervous pupil.

The academy will hold classes for adults on learning to swim, technique and fitness training. There’s a junior programme for children aged three and over and Baby Splash classes for tots as young as three months.

The classes will run at Fitness First clubs in Mirdif City Centre, Uptown Mirdif, BurJuman Centre, the Meadows and Al Manzil throughout the year, plus Dubai Media City during the summer. Ladies only lessons will be on offer at Mirdif City Centre club, and one to one sessions with an instructor are available.

Fitness First’s Mark Botha says the aim of the academy is to provide “fun and productive” pool sessions for all the family. “Swimming is a great addition to your existing weekly training. You can develop a new skill, or simply become more confident at swimming,” he says.

To enrol, log on to the Fitness First website to register your details.

Swimming lessons in Dubai

Fitness First Swim Academy, various locations, Dhs50 for a 30-minute session. Tel: (800) 3486377.

Keep track of your training at Fitness First

Competitive types will like the new My Zone motivation system being rolled out across Fitness First branches in Dubai. A bit like an iCloud for your exercise regime, the My Zone belt monitors your heart rate to track your effort levels, and clocks the number of calories you’ve burned and the duration of your workout. When you’re done, you’ll get an e-mail telling you how you did. Log into your user account to compare the benefits of different workouts, set personal goals, or challenge your friends to calorie-burning contests.

My Zone at Fitness First in Dubai

Fitness First Oasis Centre, Dubai Media City, Motor City, DIFC, Festival City, BurJuman Centre, Mirdif City Centre, Deira City Centre and Knowledge Village, Dhs399.