WHO: RIPT, Researched Innovative Performance Training, at SSISA, the Sports Science Institute of South Africa
LOCATION: Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa
SPECIALITY: Olympic lifts, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), weightlifting, bodyweight training, powerlifting
Don’t worry about all the acronyms, all you need to know is that this new fitness lab at the Institute is a great addition to the lifting landscape in SA. I hate using the term functional, because all your training should be functional (unless you want to be all show and no go) but the workouts used in the RIPT programme are just that. I have to say upfront that I’ve always been a fan of SSISA – they’ve got some of the best experts and fitness facilities in the world and they’ve been the training hub for top athletes, sportsmen, Olympians and national teams for decades. I’ve worked with a lot of their experts for Men’s Health work, and when it comes to the best mix of science, performance and elite coaching, they’ve nailed it.
But back to RIPT. SSISA has had a well-stocked gym for years, but it has never had a group class that focuses on HIIT and lifting. Also referred to as metabolic conditioning, it’s not a new training concept (you’ve got plenty of functional gym brands like The Yard Athletic, Roark, Flux and more around the country –and all of the CrossFit boxes – that have used this for years), but it obviously works and that’s why it has become so popular globally. It’s meant that traditional cardio activities have made way for these faster lifting intervals. My favourite quote on this comes from the famous trainer Jen Sinkler. When asked what kind of cardio she does, she replied: “I lift weights faster.”
SSISA have provided their own unique benefits with RIPT. For one, every one of their instructors are experienced biokineticists, which immediately provides a higher level of safety and a better understanding of movement mechanics and technique than the average PT. And secondly, SSISA has all kinds of other fitness services and facilities to offer. One example is the brilliant Vitality Elite Fitness Assessment – I tried this VO2 max test before, and my take on it is here. They also have the best injury-fixing experts and they also have an in-house dietician team (Shelley Meltzer & Associates). And lastly, they do proper fitness assessments. We use them for all our Men’s Health staff challenges, and the standard is fantastic.
I went through to their official media workout, and I walked away impressed. They’ve got good equipment (Concept 2 rowers, Hammer Strength and Force USA strength kit), skilled and charismatic instructors, and a good team spirit. In terms of the workout (check out the image of the board below), it had a good mix of the classics (deadlift, box jumps, KB swings, push jerk) with some newer moves (suicide planks, Spartan crawls and battle ropes). In terms of faults, I couldn’t really find any. I just wished they’d started this sooner.
Check out here for the membership options, there’s an opening special (until end of February) that entitles you to 3 classes a week at R600 a month, which is a good price when compared to what you’re getting (and to what other gym options cost). This includes an assessment. If you need a new partner for your training in 2015, then this is a brilliant option, especially for people that live in the southern suburbs of Cape Town.