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“Squatting is like sitting on a dirty toilet without touching the seat”

“Squatting is like sitting on a dirty toilet without touching the seat”

Photographer:Fotograaf: Joey Roberts

ClubPower

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer. Today it’s ClubPower.

The beginner: Those who like to have things handed to them, are better off not going to ClubPower. Before the lesson starts, participants lug around loose weights, steps (low benches), mats, and a bar to which the weights need to be attached. The hall is chock-full when the music starts and the chitchat subsides. There are two instructors on the stage, streamlined bodies, well proportioned. “We are going to squat,” Samantha Crans says in English. “Watch out newcomers: it’s like sitting on a dirty toilet seat without touching it. Back straight and hold the dumbbell at shoulder level.” No more than 2.5 kilo on each side, the dumbbell slowly passes the thighs up and down. Squatting, in Dutch this is just bending your ‘knees’, it is good for your legs, buttocks, hamstrings, and back and stomach muscles. We are picking up the pace, now it is time to be technically correct. “Knees above the toes, straight back, weights close to the body.” The clock in the hall is ticking slowly today; the arms are already tired when it is time for the breast muscles. Using the mirrors – just a quick look at the others – it is soon obvious that some of the other participants could use some extra training too. Especially when the stomach muscles need to be tightened. “Keep going, keep going,” encourages a cheerful Crans through the speakers. Grimaces on faces. We keep going.

The expert: “You don’t come here to become a bodybuilder. We don’t pump muscles up – if we did, you would see many more men from the fitness here - we strengthen them,” says Samantha Crans, ClubPower instructor, team coach for the aerobic section at UM Sports as well as a master’s student of Management of Learning. This strengthening requires co-ordination, balance and hard work. Something that a seasoned fitness-goer, who occasionally wants to do an hour of ClubPower-ing, easily misjudges. “Those men overestimate themselves and take on too many kilos.”

The lesson’s choreography changes every three months. “As an athlete, you can build up routine and then take on heavier weights. You see yourself progressing.” It is often a duo that teaches the lesson; one shows how the exercise is done, the other walks around and gives instructions. Sometimes we forget how the choreography went, grin Crans and her colleague instructor Rosa Dreyhaupt, second-year student of Psychology. “Then we look into the hall, our participants sometimes know it better than we do.”

Target group: for everyone who has a thing for weight training, but who prefers to train in a group and to music, rather than in a fitness area, say the experts. This afternoon, the majority is young and the percentage of female students is high. We count four male students to a total of 52 (the maximum) participants.

The facts: ClubPower is on every day of the week. On Monday (19:45-20:45), Tuesday (16:30-17:30), Wednesday (17:15-18:15), Thursday (8:30-9:30), Friday (15:45-16:45), Saturday (11:30-12:30), Sunday (16:45-17:45).

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