When I found out I’d be taking Thunder, a class featuring a guest appearance from the iconic 90’s Thigh Master, I was both intrigued and excited. A quick Google search of the apparatus in question revealed to me the wonders of Suzanne Somer’s thighs of steel, so I looked forward to trying out a piece of equipment I was pretty sure I’d seen hidden at the back of my mum’s wardrobe…
Thunder promises to tone and sculpt your lower body by using a combination of bodyweight and weighted exercises, resistance bands and the aforementioned Thigh Master itself, all with the aim of getting you strong for Summer. This concept sounded pretty appealing to me, having just spent the last 5 days soaking up the miraculous rays of London sunshine – perhaps there may actually be an opportunity for me to bare my legs this summer, in London of all places. With that in mind, I turned up to the class on Tuesday lunch time feeling mildly nervous, but keen to try out something that sounded both fun and likely to bring results.
I would be taking the class run by the wonderful Klaudie Mataskova who promised that, whilst the next 45 minutes would be hard work, they would definitely pay off. Klaudie lead us through a quick bodyweight warm up before explaining the format of the class. We would be going through multiple rounds of different circuits, each focusing on either bodyweight exercises, resistance band work, or weighted moves using a step. After Klaudie had explained the class structure, we commenced a quick-fire round of exercises to activate our glutes and lower body.
This is where the Thigh Master came in.
Looking like a twisted rubber boomerang, the Thigh Master is slightly tricky to use if you’re a newbie like myself. Not surprisingly then, it took me a couple of tries to get it in the right position for some intense hip raises. After a minute of this it was clear why the gadget had become so popular, and why it was receiving a nostalgic revival in Thunder – my thighs were already burning and we were less than 10 minutes into the class.
With glutes and thigh muscles well and truly activated, we put the Thigh Masters to one side and started on the first circuit. This was based around weighted exercises using a step, sticking to low weights at high repetition, with one minute of work followed by a 10 second rest. After a tough 5 minutes of suspended lunges, deadlifts and squat variations, we finished the round by holding a low squat. By this point, sheer willpower was all that was keeping me going, so I was grateful for Klaudie’s shouts of encouragement.
By the end of the second round my thighs were on fire, and I began to wonder: was this what Suzanne Somers had really been doing behind-the-scenes for all those Thigh Master promo shoots? Klaudie brought me out of my reverie by reminding us that it’s when you start to feel pain that you begin to build up muscle, and so I started the resistance band round determined to not miss out on a single lunge – a lot easier said than done.
Resistance bands are an increasingly popular mode of training - they can be used easily at home, and have impressive results. I chose a heavy band and for the next few rounds of crab walks, kick backs and jump squats I think I sweated out roughly half my body weight. Jump squats are hard enough as it is, but when you add a resistance band into the mix you ascend into a whole new level of difficulty. But, thankfully, I had the motivational sounds of Cardi B to keep me going, and managed to finished the last round in one piece.
When Klaudie announced that the time was up, I gratefully collapsed onto the ground in a not-so-graceful heap. But whilst there had been moments where I’m sure I’d had a near-death experience, I was pleased I’d managed to make it to the end having barely paused for a breather.
That lunch time I crawled out of the studio with legs and thighs burning in places I never knew existed, but with the genuine feeling that my hard work had paid off. Thighs of steel in my sights, I resolved to come back for a second class - with the encouragement of an instructor such as Klaudie, and the limitless energy of the room to help me, I had no doubt that I would be strong enough for any Summer London can throw at me.