By Alix Turoff

Not much gets us more excited than a revolutionary fitness program that promises to deliver us the healthy and fit bodies of our dreams. So, when we heard the news about the new ViPR (pronounced “Viper”) workout at Equinox, we laced up our New Balances and headed over to the Equinox Fitness Club on Greenwich Street to check it out for ourselves.

Leo Troso, a personal trainer at Equinox and one of the rare few who are certified to use the ViPR equipment, met us at the front desk and led us up to the studio where we would spend the next hour sweating, panting, laughing and, at some points, almost crying.

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ViPR, which stands for Vitality, Performance and Reconditioning, was invented by Michol Dalcourt who designed ViPR as an alternative to the classic weight training circuit many rely upon at the gym. A sports guy at heart (he’s trained Olympic gold athletes!), he was looking for a way to strength train in such a way so as to mimic the movements you would rely upon when playing sports.

Leo’s favorite part about the ViPR is that it is a total body workout. “In life and in sports you are never working just one muscle at a time; instead you are using your whole body.” This is where the novelty of the ViPR comes in. The ViPR allows you to nix the hand weights, bar bells, kettle bells, medicine balls and body bars in favor of one simple piece of equipment that gives users a total body workout as it works entire groups of muscles at one time. Rather than focusing on isolation training, Dalcourt invented the ViPR to be more efficient and to reduce the risk of injury that comes with heavy lifting. When we first set our eyes on the ViPR, we thought we were being handed a PVC pipe with hand grips. It turns out this “PVC pipe” was actually the best thing to happen to exercise since Richard Simmons.

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Available in seven weights, ranging from 4-20kg, the ViPR is made of rubber and designed to be carried, dragged, flipped, thrown, stepped on and rolled, making the sky the limit when it comes to what you can do with the ViPR (and boredom impossible). Although there are many useless products on the market, especially in the fitness industry, within the first few minutes of our workout, our heart was beating and we knew this wasn’t another gimmick. We squatted, lunged, crawled and jumped with the ViPR and, after completing four intervals of each exercise, we were given the choice to move on to a harder set depending on our level of fitness.

Even Leo, a marathoner and triathlete, gave the ViPR his seal of approval: “Before I used the ViPR for the first time, I had more questions and doubts about this tool then excitement, but that changed after my first workout.  I was really surprised about how difficult the workout was, and how fast my heart rate raced”. He has since began using the ViPR as a tool to help his clients who are training for endurance events such as a marathon or triathlon.

Leave it to Equinox to have the latest in exercise technology. You can ask about the ViPR at any Equinox starting now. There are also plans to offer ViPR as a class in the near future. We hope to see you there!

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