Speedo is betting that people who enjoy bootcamp workouts will like them even more in the water.
The iconic swimsuit brand partnered with Life Time Fitness, a nationwide chain of health clubs, to create a group fitness program that’s decidedly more challenging than your grandma’s aqua aerobics class.
It’s called WTRX (shorthand for Water Xtreme) and it’s patterned on the sort of high-intensity interval training – characterized by quick bursts of hard exercise – more commonly done on land. In the water, participants work up a sweat using Speedo-brand training aids.
You see, Speedo is much more than swimwear these days. Last year, the company made a big push for its new line of aquatic exercise equipment called Speedo Fit. Gear includes resistance paddles and shoes for aqua-cycling and cross training. Speedo worked with elite-training firm EXOS to design a whole workout regimen around the products so that athletes could experience the benefits of aquatic training; those being less impact on joints and muscles, faster recovery, consistent resistance, slower and more precise movements and less soreness.
WTRX is an extension of all that. Classes began in April at 40 select Life Time locations, with plans to expand to more than 85 by the end of the year.
Though more intense than your average water-based workout, no one is doing anything as extreme as what Speedo depicted in its splashy advertisements for Fit. That campaign included footage of athletes holding their breath to lift weights under water, sparking controversy among safety experts who said such activity could lead to shallow-water blackout.
In WTRX, students do sets of exercises as they rotate through four or five stations around the pool in typical bootcamp fashion. Some maneuvers do require students to be fully submerged, but only briefly, explained Rob Glick, Life Time’s senior director of group fitness. In the instance of kettlebell swings, most students’ heads go under when they bend at the knee to thrust the weight upward. In another exercise, they kick off from the side of the pool Superman-style holding the Speedo Fit Push Plate above their heads. The Push Plate adds resistance.
“We’re encouraging people to get comfortable with being submerged in this class,” Glick said.
It’s also an amphibious workout. There may be one or two stations on the deck where they’ll complete a set of planks or other dry-land challenge before moving on to another in-water exercise. (Fittingly, Speed Fit’s line includes Gym2Pool “hybrid activewear” for use in and out of the water. As the official “aquatic outfitter” for WTRX, Speedo is selling its gear at Life Time pro shops.)
Ultimately, WTRX is about creating a different kind of bootcamp experience, one that might save your joints serious wear and tear. As interval training has exploded in popularity over the years, so too have the number of injuries among diehard bootcampers. “It’s the one way they love to train because it’s fast and efficient and they’re seeing results, but they’re also getting some chronic problems with it,” Glick said. “Some people are doing it too frequently and they’re starting to get orthopedic issues.
“It was never intended to be an everyday-type of training,” he added.
The person who is most likely to participate in WTRX is already pretty fit, and as Glick notes, “isn’t afraid to get their hair wet.”