Dubai: It’s five past 11 on a Monday morning and the women gathered at Studio 2 of the Dubai Ladies Club are all set to pack a punch. There are 16 of them by headcount and they are of different nationalities and backgrounds: college students, working professionals, housewives, even personal trainers. But they are all on the same page as their kick-boxing instructor Karina Benseman has their undivided attention.
“Kick-boxing is a fun and effective way to challenge yourself, blast away fat and get you a knock-out body,” she says.
A competitive boxer and kick-boxer from New Zealand with boxing titles to her credit, Benseman was once shortlisted for the Olympics. So her students take her pretty seriously.
Designed specifically with women in mind, the newly introduced one-hour session dwells on boxing and kick-boxing techniques, besides fitness training. The style used is Muay Thai.
The class begins with a warm-up – a brisk five minutes of skipping – followed by basic drills for punching and kicking techniques.
“Then we go on to the fitness circuit to condition the muscle. Students also get to work in pairs so that they practise the techniques they’ve learnt on the correct body parts,” says Benseman.
Past half-time, the students get a chance to punch and kick the standbags, which are quite unlike the usual hanging bags and tie pads.
It’s evident that everyone’s enjoying this part of the session, just as they do the punching sessions with their partners. “People like kick-boxing because they visualise a tiger, so it makes it a lot of fun. You are working at such a high rate that it takes the focus away from the fatigue. You work mentally and use your muscles at the same time with resistance training,” explains Benseman.
A good kick-boxing workout targets the arms, shoulders, abs, thighs and butt – all in one session.
“It’s a lot of fun and a great exercise,” says Sandra Morrison, a British mum with grown-up kids. “I came to the familiarity session and this is my second class.”
Two Emirati medical students, among the many Arabs present, agree. “We became members this summer and learnt about these classes. So we wanted to try something new,” says one of them.
Suzana Rinditean, a Romanian, is thoroughly satisfied after the session. “I am a personal trainer and I enjoyed this.”
At Dh40 a class for Dubai Ladies Club members and Dh50 for non-members, the charges, many said, were value for money. There is no limit to the number of classes one can take. “But the important thing to keep in mind is to keep going when you want to give up,” says Bensemen.