Contributed by Conrad Hughes: The Man With The Plam
The newly opened Bears/Gomduri (or 곰두리 for those Hangeully inclined) Sports Centre
[editor’s note: 곰두리 could also mean a disabled person, though the gym serves everyone]
in Dogye dong represents the first competition to Seobu Sports Centre in a long while. Free for the month of September for gym and swim, and all classes free next week, it’s easy to find and easier to try out. The helpful staff and friendly attitudes will suit most gym goers considerably more than the typical elitist rubbish. It’s also a geek’s dream in the gym.
GYM & SPORTS:
The gym is brand new and extremely quiet. There was a member of staff for every patron, all engaged in some sort of setup or help. First, I’ll talk about the weight machines ‘system’ there as it is unlike anything I have seen before.
The machines there are from the AIREXEC range and all have touch screens linked to a private pin number. They keep track of reps and sets and have a 1RM calibration mode when you first use them.
When I went into the gym, I was weighed with bioimpedance scales, given a print out, given a lesson on the machines along with a 1RM calibration test on each of them (which took about 30 minutes). This was done entirely in English with tips on form given throughout. The measurements on height and weight were linked to my pin number meaning the machines automatically adjusted themselves to my height when I logged in to them.
These machines may not be great for power lifters (but what machines are?) as they use air compression to provide resistance, but it’s possible to get around 80-100kg resistance out of them, enough for most people especially when volume (or pump) training. I would go so far as to say that for glycogen depletion workouts, these machines are better than anything I’ve seen. For something like Poliquin’s German Volume Training which utilises 10 sets of 10, these machines would be spot on. For tension training (say, 6-12 reps and 3-8 sets per bodypart), these machines would also suffice up to a certain level. I have a knee injury so normally am unable to train my legs, but there’s a machine in there that braces the patella as you lift, taking strain off the knees.
For power lifters or strength training, there is a squatting area as well as a bench and free weight floor area. Excellent all round, but certainly geared towards intensity or volume training rather than big lifting.
As far as cardio is concerned, there are reclined cycles, regular cycles, a rowing machine and a large number of treadmills. A rowing machine is something I sorely missed at Seobu so this was great to see.
I hate gyms. But this one I will be going back to again and again. From October, it will cost 35,000 won a month and at time of press includes all classes outside of the swimming pool. Hours are:
Mon – Fri 08:00-12:00 13:00-20:00
Sat 08:00-12:00 13:00-15:00
Disability classes as well as dieting exercise classes and stretching classes are offered at the gym. There’s also basketball class on Fridays between 17:00 and 18:00 for up to 15 people. Ping-pong classes are offered as well, Tuesday-Fridays between 15:00 and 16:00 and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 18:00-19:00.
Hee Jeong, the English speaking employee here, runs the dance and yoga classes, opening them up quite nicely for foreigners to sign up. Next week (September 10th – September 16th), classes are free. Here’s the low down:
- Hilling Yoga & Power Yoga (장애/성인 class) | Tuesday, Thursday | 09:30-10:30 | 6 people
- Hilling Yoga & Power Yoga (standard class) | Wednesday, Friday | 09:30-10:30 | 15 people
- Diet Dance (장애/성인 class) | Wednesday, Friday | 10:40-11:40 | 6 people
- Diet Dance (standard class) | Tuesday, Thursday | 10:40-11:40 15 people
- Rhythm Exercise (장애/초등학생 elementary student class) | Tuesday, Thursday | 17:00-18:00 | 6 people
- Jazz Dance (장애/중, 고등, 일반 mixed student/level class) | Wednesday, Friday | 17:00-18:00 | 6 people
- Jazz Dance (standard class) | Tuesday, Thursday | 18:30-19:30 | 15 people
- Beginner’s Yoga (standard class) | Wednesday, Friday | 18:30-19:30 | 15 people
I only visited the gym and took a cursory look at the pool, but it’s all new. Remember: when swimming in Korea you need a shower cap and goggles. This is partly for hygeine and partly because the water used here is heavily, heavily chlorinated. Your best bet for swimming remains in Masan Bongam Reservoir late at night or early in the morning.
[ed: Conrad’s swimming advice does not necessarily reflect the views of Changwonderful]
That said, the pool is free for the month of September and will be 35,000 won a month afterwards for unlimited swims and
classes (at time of press) too. Swimming hours are:
Mon – Fri 08:00-12:00 13:00-16:00 17:00-19:00
Sat 08:00-12:00 13:00-15:00
All in all, this place is fantastic, the staff know their stuff: form pointers (as my form is awful and I constantly injure myself) were extremely helpful. The general feeling was one of welcoming rather than elitism, a massive change from any gym I have visited in the past. And I have a printout from their awesome scales/network of everything I did today.
A map to Gomduri Sports Centre:
View Gomduri Sports Center 곰두리국민체육센터 in a larger map