What's it all about?
The latest workout sensation will have you flying through the air with the greatest of ease - even if it is only six inches off the floor.
This highfalutin workout centres around a unique piece of kit called the FlySet, which you hold, swing, spin or hang on to in moves such as the 'hanging carousel' and 'half moon'.
Tell me more about this FlySet …
The FlySet consists of a bar (the FlyBar) suspended at roughly chest height via a sturdy rope attached to a 360-degree swivel point on the gym ceiling. To my untrained eye, it resembled a trapeze, but apparently it's closer to an 'aerial hoop'. Every class participant has their own FlySet, which can be easily adjusted to accommodate different statures and provide different workout options. There are also foot loops, which are hooked over the bar for floor work. The plank, in which you hold your body in a straight line, supported on your hands with your feet through the foot loops, was particularly torturous.
Who developed the workout - a bunch of clowns?
Jukari is a collaboration between Reebok (masters of the fitness class arena in the 1990s) and Cirque du Soleil. The class is set to music from Cirque shows, and the choreography - which took eight months to create - is based on moves that Cirque performers actually do. They are moves that, according to Leslie Calvagne, Reebok's training director for Jukari Fit to Fly, will awaken your 'inner dancer' or 'inner athlete'. If nothing else, they'll awaken your inner thigh muscles, especially the straddle jumps …
What's so good about it?
Well, for a start it really is new and different, so you have to concentrate, which takes your mind off how hard you're working. I worked up quite a sweat in the hour-long class, which uses an interval training format, mixing cardio efforts with strength moves for the upper and lower body, all using the FlySet. I particularly liked the curtsey lunge (the front foot steps across the body, instantly making you look like an expert in modern dance). Swinging and spinning in the air is really exhilarating - I found myself grinning from ear to ear as I sashayed around in a big circle, holding on to my FlyBar for dear life. That said, it's hardly a white-knuckle ride if what you really want is a circus skills class.
Does it deliver?
Judging by the difficulty with which I got dressed the day after the trial, it certainly gives the arms, back and shoulders a great workout. And if you want to focus your efforts more on a lower body workout, you can 'hang on' to the bar less to make the legs work harder. There's also a strong core element to many of the moves.
Perfect if …
You are in need of fresh workout inspiration. This provides an all-over workout, but is particularly good for the oft-neglected upper body muscles.
Best avoided if …
You want to run away and join the circus.