Body Confidential trains like never before at Oxygen Freejumping centre
When Body Confidential was invited to try out the new Bear Grylls Fitness centre , we couldn’t help but squirm. Sleeping in deer carcasses and urinating in snake skins – some of Bear’s most notorious ventures – didn’t really take our fancy. Fortunately, the indoor obstacle course focuses on Bear’s physical activities rather than his curious palate – no insect eating is required.
The brainchild of Bear himself and his personal trainer Nat Summers, the course is designed to push you to your limits and prepare you for whatever life throws at you. And if the fourteen obstacles including swinging rings, assault ropes and aerial planking is anything to go by, life is going to throw you a hell of a lot.
Housed at Trafford’s Oxygen Freejumping Centre , the Manchester indoor assault course is the largest of its kind in the UK, offering the ultimate functional fitness. Fitness fanatics must climb, crawl, leap and pull themselves round the circuit to master the series of trialling challenges. To complete the course, your body must adapt and push itself out of your comfort zone. We were ready to face the challenge.
Once we arrived at the centre, we got geared up – gripped gloves are required and these can be purchased online at the time of booking, or at reception for £2. We were then herded into a briefing room to watch a quick safety video – alongside a hoard of excitable children who were about to join a party group. Perhaps this was the first challenge, we joked, though we doubted even Bear himself could survive a room of screaming seven-year-olds.
Once the party group left, a flashy video of Bear Grylls introduced the course, which was described as a 'totally unique, dynamic way of training designed to build power, agility and speed.' Apparently, the course is in a similar style to how Bear Grylls builds fitness for all of his adventures: “so often my livelihood depended on being able to move fast and haul myself out of trouble.” So, there’s hope for us surviving in the wilderness yet.
...the assault course would not look out of place in the Gladiators arena or Ninja Warrior UK.
After the introduction finished, we were led away from the colourful trampolines to the back of the centre where ‘Bear Grylls Fitness’ looms. An epic, multi-level course complete with a warped wall and monkey bars, the assault course would not look out of place in the Gladiators arena or Ninja Warrior UK. The top record for completing the course is an impressive 1 minute 20 secs, our trainer informed us - but we’d be lucky to survive it all in under 45 minutes. Challenge accepted.
Our first obstacle was a towering wall of steps designed to instantly engage your cardiovascular system. Each obstacle has four levels of difficulty to cater for a range of abilities, with the obstacle at hand offering the lighter option of step-ups or the more adrenaline-pumping alternative of squat jumping up the stairs. After watching ManCon’s Vicky Smith squat jump up the fortress with ease, I cockily attempted the same – only to find myself face-planting at the first hurdle.
Following that, an aerial plank obstacle tested our core to the limit whilst army crawling under a rope net got us quickly into the adventurer mindset. Those familiar with Tough Mudder circuits may recognise some of the trialling obstacles. Course highlights included the Tarzan swing – a rope swing that forces you to hurl your body forward before using your legs to cling to another rope net and clamber across (it’s a lot harder than it sounds) – and Ninja Rings – spinning rings that challenge your grip and upper body strength as you propel yourself forward. With many of the obstacles poised with some height above safety nets, plus the additional options of projecting yourself off walls, the course offers a mental as well as a physical challenge.
55 minutes later (and a little overdue) we finished the course, rendering applause from a group of regulars who had overtaken us on the circuit twice already. Arms aching, body shaking and feeling a little delirious from all the action, we ventured onto the trampolines for a spot of jovial jumping to make the most of the freejumping centre.
Bear Grylls fitness is a workout like no other. High intensity, demanding obstacles challenge your strength, stamina and resilience as you push your entire body to its limits to complete the course. Think lifting weights in the gym is impressive? Then try scaling the 14 Tough-Mudder style obstacles in under 2 minutes. We guarantee it’s a workout you can’t replicate in any gym.
Prices range from £6.75 (off peak, online) to £9.00 (peak, on the door). The Bear Grylls course is open to children over 12 years old and 1.4m high.
For further information about Bear Grylls Fitness and to book, visit the website.