IN THE RING

The Kingdom’s first ever fully dedicated boxing club and strength & conditioning centre, Lift Bahrain is a truly non-conventional, exciting training facility, committed to educating its members about the art and ethos of boxing

September 14, 2017
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Hands wrapped. Gloves on. Eyes locked. Bell rings. The bout starts, emerging is 12 grueling rounds of three-minutes, with two boxers battling it out until one is victorious. The art of boxing has too often been synonymised with glorified violence, however, those who are a part of the boxing world understand that the sport stands for much more than black and blue eyes and winning punches. Boxing carries an air and culture encompassing brotherhood, mutual respect, and passion. Strength, skill, and stamina are what make a good boxer; understanding the culture and philosophies behind boxing are what makes a great boxer. Lift Bahrain, the Kingdom’s first home-grown fully dedicated boxing facility, as well as strength and conditioning centre, has taken the initiative to bring the sport to life in Bahrain providing thorough training – both physically and mentally – nurturing and exhibiting the boxing talent that Bahrain has to offer.

Brainchild of Tariq Abdulrahman Lift Bahrain is the first of its kind on the island and is already on the way to establishing itself as Bahrain’s favourite fitness facility. Perle Magazine spoke to Tariq about his passion for the sport and how – through his facility – he hopes to educate the people in Bahrain about the true nature of boxing.

Boxing has produced an endless list of great athletes; from legends such as Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, George Foreman, Vitali Klitschko of the days past, or the current superstars such as Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Danny Gargcia, Gennady Golovkin or Anthony Joshua. Boxers for many serve as idols or inspirations to become stronger, better people; for Tariq, boxing was not about becoming like his idols, but was introduced to the sport at the young age of 11 as a means for self-defence against bullies. From then on, Tariq developed his boxing prowess and continued in the sport with passion, onwards and upwards to collegiate level and the amateur ranks in the UK, before pursuing a career in law subsequently putting boxing on hold. His move back to Bahrain in 2012 not only marked a change in location, but also vocation, where he initially started as a part-time boxing coach, realising his true passion lied within the sport and decided to pursue it full-time. Receiving his certification of coaching from registered UK Certification body, REPS, as well as being qualified from the Boxing Board of Control, Tariq started with an outdoor gym in his garage using basic equipment required for training. The al fresco gym picked up popularity and soon after, Tariq was able to move into their current location in Janabiya.

The impressive facility, designed to accommodate Lift Bahrain’s two functions: one focusing purely on boxing, boasting equipment such as professional level boxing bags, a striking 20×20 boxing ring, speed bags, skipping ropes, and all the necessary equipment required to run a professional boxing club; the other half focuses on the strength and conditioning aspect, achieved without the use of any machines, but through non-conventional, functional, training methods. Affiliated with the Hatton Academy of Manchester – which provide Lift Bahrain with their training techniques and certifications to be able to carry out the operations in the gym in a safe and technical method – Tariq adds that all the classes have been created in the gym, and are based around having fun, using the body, and getting results.

He says what he has noticed is that from the boxing side, their customers either want to take up boxing seriously from a skill-based level and then eventually want to compete on a professional level, or simply use the sport as a different way to get fit. This is the same for their Strength and Conditioning classes. Lift’s facility is designed in a manner that is appealing with the equipment spread out spaciously, allowing plenty space for movement, with graffiti on the walls providing a fun ambiance with ample sunlight that brightens up the entire facility, making it seem even more roomy. Designed by Tariq himself, the cool vibe of Lift Bahrain, along with the friendly nature of all the coaches, makes the gym welcoming and exciting. An entire wall is dedicated to the greatest boxers throughout history, and on the opposite side, a chalk-board wall is used to note down the records of members as well as challenges they can sign their friends up for.

With a team of 4 full-time coaches, and 10 including the guest coaches that are there to offer their specialist classes to members, Tariq notes all coaches are highly qualified and certified. He adds they also work very closely with all of their members, and are even on first-name basis with all of them to ensure they not only get that necessary attention, it also helps to establish a long-term relationship, makes people interested in the gym, and keeps them coming back. The membership starts from as young as 8 years old and up till 12 years old for the youth program, and whether they are training the younger members or the older ones, Tariq says it is important they focus on the three main elements of, “love, brotherhood, and respect.” He says they maintain a no-violence policy to be practiced outside of the gym when it comes to boxing. “We’d rather have people practice this sport with the culture of boxing behind them”, he says, adding, that boxing is not about thuggery or violence, or inflicting pain and wounds upon the opponents, in fact the history and philosophies of boxing suggest otherwise, and teach the participants about being supportive and respectful towards one another.

With the aim of educating the Kingdom about the benefits as well the values behind the sport, the classes have also been created in a manner to encourage team work, sportsmanship, and a bond with the other members and trainers, all the while working towards the set fitness goals. Classes for boxing include Boxing Bootcamp, Boxing Skills, Squad Training, Fight-Conditioning; while the Strength and Conditioning classes include Kettlebells, Lift-Fit, Suspension Training, Weightlifting, Lift Fit, Tabata Fit, Meta Fit – around 15 different classes, that members and non members can become a part of.

For those who are interested in the classes and their timings, they can find everything listed on Lift Bahrain’s website, or can download their mobile app to find out the status of the classes alongside places available. One of their most popular classes is the Boxing Bootcamp, which consists of seven, 3-minute rounds with 1-minute breaks in between. Working in a pyramid fashion, each round has a set of exercises that are carried out circuit-fashion with repetitions increasing in each circuit, moving towards the top of the pyramid, and back down, and then working to the top once again. The high intensity boxing class consists of a mixture of flurries (fast-paced punching at the punching bag or trainer doing pad-work), combinations and corresponding exercises including burpees, squats, lunges, sledge pushes, battle ropes, pad work, and finishing off with some core exercises. The bootcamp is especially effective as it works out the entire body, and leaves the body energised. Tariq says a lot of people are usually surprised when they try the classes and realise how different they are to what they have previously experienced, in terms of training and how energetic and fun the classes turn out to be. “We want people to get their value for money”, he says, and adds that is also one of the reason they become invested in each and every one of their members and their workouts. “We know what classes they frequent, if they have had any injuries or anything – we get to know our members pretty well”, and adds that is a very important factor behind their success. The gym is active for 6 days a week, and full time members can come in at any time and jump into any of the classes as well as use the open gym, whereas non-members can sign up for a class of their liking. “We want people to have variety and be able to select what they want to do, rather than cap people’s experience in the gym.”

Looking to expand regionally and internationally, Tariq says his ultimate goal is to first boost Boxing in Bahrain and aim to be the genesis of the sport in the country.

Encouraging young Bahrainis to be able to pursue a career in the sport, Lift Bahrain also has a scholarship program called Mulakem – which means boxer in Arabic – that has been set up to allow young Bahrainis with the passion and talent to take up the sport without any financial hindrance or timing issues. Liaising with the families and schools, Tariq says they look after all the important factors that would help to establish a well-rounded boxer, whether it is their schooling, training, specialist equipment, educating them on the culture of boxing, so on and so forth, Lift Bahrain caters to that.

Taking the first step towards encouraging boxing as a serious sport in the country, Lift Bahrain also held an event in March, which consisted of two teams, with 8 boxers each – including the two scholars and women – to compete for a charity event. The ‘White Collar Boxing Event’ consisted of boxers who had, prior to the event, never been in a semi-professional or amateur boxing environment. They were trained rigorously for 12 weeks and included boxers from South Africa, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, UK, and of course Bahrain. The hugely successful event proved Tariq’s belief of Bahrain having the capabilities and psyche for Boxing to be a sport the country could excel in.

“Coaching has really given me a lot of value, kind of intrinsically. I love conveying my education and experience in the sport to people, especially to young people who share my passion, in a fun way for them to get fit, release stress, and learn a martial art”, Tariq says and adds that he is proud to have seen the progress of their boxers and hopes the interest in boxing continues. Whether for boxing as a sport or a different means of getting fit, or achieving the fitness goals at the hands of experts in a state-of-the-art facility, Lift Bahrain offers everyone something they can easily become a part of and can incorporate into their routines.

For more information:

Sun-Thurs 8am-9pm

Saturday 10am-9pm

Janabiyah Highway

(00973) 3325 3944

admin@liftbh.com

www.liftbh.com

@lift_bh

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