Doing burpees, pull-ups, push-ups and sprinting while dragging weights – in quick succession –may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
But these are regular workouts for members of the Iron Fitness gym. Iron Fitness is a strength and conditioning gym based on a conjugate training system.
The Conjugate training system
Conjugate means to ‘complete or link’ and is based on increasing muscle tension through three methods. These are the:
- Maximum effort method (building strength by training at or above your 1RM)
- Dynamic effort method (building speed and power via lifting sub-maximum weight at maximum speed)
- Repetition effort method (building muscles and muscle endurance through lifting sub-maximum weight until you can no longer do so)
I recently braved the tough and challenging exercises at Iron Fitness during one of their trial sessions – despite not doing such workouts on a regular basis.
Here is how my trial session went.
Good camaraderie amongst the gym members
When I stepped into the Iron Fitness gym, I was taken aback by the talk and camaraderie amongst the regulars in this small gym.
Unlike some other gyms where people simply go about their own exercise routines without much interaction, the members at Iron Fitness chitchat and joke with each other, whilst waiting for their class to begin.
Newcomers not left out
So newbies like me were made to feel welcome. Some of the regulars would approach me and introduce themselves.
Later, I found out the reason for this. During the session, the coach, Kelvin Quah, will ask a member randomly what is the name of another person and if you don’t know that person’s name, you are given extra burpees to do. This is to encourage existing members to introduce themselves to newbies – and it was definitely working.
In addition, members also get extra burpees to do, for reasons such as being late for class or failing to put their equipment away after usage. So this definitely encourages members not to break the rules.
For the first section of the class, we had to do reps of push-ups, kettlebells/pull-ups and finally, burpees.
As I was a newcomer, I didn’t get as many reps as some of the regular members. So at the beginning, it was pretty manageable and I thought that I was coping quite well. But as the session wore on, I began to tire and started to struggle. But I had come here for the workout and not to rest, so I pushed on.
In Full Swing
The second part of our class consisted of alternating reps of wall-balls (squatting, followed by throwing a weighted ball against the wall) and ring rows (a horizontal pulling exercise that strengthens the upper body muscles).
Here, the coach gave me the option of sitting out this part and watching the others, but I decided not to, because I wanted to see how much I could do. Nevertheless, it was pretty tiring and after a couple of sets, I was starting to slow down. So the coach’s signal for the end of this section was definitely music to my ears.
The class ended with 10 reps of the prowler, that is, sprinting with weights. This wasn’t an easy exercise at all, but the good thing was that only two people could go at a time due to lack of space. So we could actually get some rest in between the reps.
After the first few times, I began to find myself looking forward to the rest periods in between the reps, and counting down to the end of the session. And I used the rests to recharge and slowly sip on water and isotonic drink, so that I would be energized and refreshed to continue on.
Style of teaching
During my gym session, I noticed that the coaching style was quite different to other gyms that I have been to. This was conducted in a “no fuss, no-nonsense” style. This is in contrast to the camaraderie that I had experienced amongst the members themselves, when I first entered the gym. For example, the coach can be quite “fierce” though, when participants are not giving it their all – and the mood subsequently changes during the gym session.
Sometimes, when members are slacking instead of doing their exercises, Coach Kelvin would also demand to know why they have stopped.
This coaching style of the gym sessions is not surprising though – Kevin has worked as a trainer in the army.
But despite his “fierce” exterior, the coach is not cold-hearted, though. If you are really not feeling well and can’t push any further, he strongly points out that you should let him know and then immediately take a break – so that you don’t pass out.
By the end of the session, I was totally and completely exhausted. I knew that I was going to be aching all over the next day.
But at the same time, I felt excellent. I had given the session my all, and it was a really great workout. I knew that by doing few more sessions of these, I would definitely become much stronger, not only for running, but also for my other activities too.
Iron Fitness SingaporeUnit 783 North Bridge Road, Singapore 198751
Trials are held every Wednesday and Saturday and cost SGD25 per person.
To experience Iron Fitness for yourself, book a trial by emailing the gym at: email@example.com
Monthly gym memberships cost SGD250 a month for unlimited classes (Mondays to Saturdays).