Our pal Christina Leronymidou, aka Fitness Magpie, reviews KO8 at the new Gymbox Victoria. KO8 is a suspension bodyweight training session using KO8 bands that allow each user to increase the resistance based on their fitness level. This class focuses on muscle stability, core strength and plyometric exercises. "I always get excited about trying out new fitness classes" she says. This is what happened.
If you’ve read my review of Pole Tricks, you’ll know how excited I get about trying out new fitness classes. Well, you can imagine my delight at the opportunity to check out a brand new class, at a brand new gym! If you haven’t been down to Gymbox Victoria yet, then I urge you to pay a visit. In true Gymbox style, the Victoria Training Station is a mecca for the fitties of Westminster, and apart from being shiny and new, it also hosts some unique classes, like KO8.
What is KO8, you ask? The best way to describe this novel piece of kit is like a cross between a suspension trainer and resistance bands. Couple that with a firecracker of a Gymbox instructor, and you have yourself the ingredients for a super fun and sweaty class!
The class started off with a very thorough warm-up. Trainer Carrie Baxter (pictured, below) made sure our muscles were suitably warm and all our joints were mobilised and ready to tackle the class, before introducing KO8. As I explained, this piece of equipment cleverly combines suspension with resistance. Essentially, it is a ‘Y’ shaped band attached to the rig, which can be used either as a suspension trainer, working against your own bodyweight, or as a set of resistance bands, converted simply by unclipping a strap. You can change the level of resistance by clipping in more or fewer resistance bands. It can be a little fiddly the first couple of times you try it, but you quickly get the hang of it and Carrie was always on hand to help.
Once we were familiar with the equipment, Carrie split us into two groups, with half of us working on the KO8s attached high up on the rig on one side of the studio and the other half on the KO8s attached low on rig on the opposite side. We worked in pairs, each taking turns on the KO8, in one-minute intervals. While one partner performed an exercise on the KO8, the other would perform a different exercise beside them, using either their bodyweight or the equipment available in the studio, like kettlebells and monkey-bars. Sixty seconds of activity doesn’t sound like much, but the burn is real!
The suspension aspect of the KO8 was just as you might expect, with exercises including rows and lat pulls, curtsey squats, reverse fly, pike, and so on. Working out on suspension is really fun (read: satisfyingly painful), because you are not only working against your bodyweight, but you have to maintain balance and stability throughout, so your core gets a proper challenge at the same time.
The real novelty of KO8, however, is the resistance aspect. You can strap your feet or hold the KO8 straps on the resistance setting, instantly transforming functional movements like mountain climbers, alternate arm rows and kicks. The added resistance gives a very particular flavour to these exercises, which makes this workout really interesting and fun to do.
To round it all off, we wrapped up the class with a little friendly competition. Carrie had us doing suspension pull-ups from seated for time. The winner managed 27 of them in thirty seconds! As a prize for their efforts, we all performed the same number of push-ups. I think Carrie has interesting definition of ‘prize’!
KO8 challenged me in a totally unique way and I’d never experienced this way of working out before trying this class. If you’re interested in a novel way of building power, strength, flexibility, balance, mobility and joint stability, then KO8 is for you!
Check out the KO8 class times right here.