If you’re bored of spending 45 minutes on the treadmill every time you go to the gym, then it’s time to mix up your routine! Trying out new and unique fitness classes are a great way to get outside of your comfort zone, challenge yourself mentally and physically, and most importantly, have fun! Here are 10 unique fitness classes that you need to try in order to get your sweat on.
1. Aerial yoga
If you want to feel like a Cirque Du Soleil star soaring through the air, then you need to try aerial yoga. Aerial yoga is a combination of yoga and acrobatics and allows you to practice yoga poses while holding onto a giant loop of ribbon suspended in the air. I know it sounds complicated, but there are a ton of aerial yoga classes for beginners that make it easy to experience the thrill of being Superman while also holding on for dear life.
Aerial yoga doesn’t just look cool, but it also offers some amazing physical benefits. One of the biggest pros of hanging in the hammock while twisting and bending into yoga poses is that it relieves compression in the spine. Practicing anti-gravity strength training also improves flexibility and allows you to test your focus and patience throughout the course of the class.
Some aerial yoga classes focus on high-flying tricks, while others are more calm and meditative. Either way, aerial yoga classes are a must for when you want to feel elegant while also getting a fire workout.
If you’re anything like me, then you were obsessed with hula-hooping as a kid (I was the champion in my first-grade class, no big deal). That youthful fun is at the center of a hooping fitness class, which uses hoops that are inspired by the classic toy! In a hooping class, you wiggle your waist and swing a hula-hoop around to the beat of the music. Following an instructor, you’ll be performing fast and slow hula-hoop motions, with a hoop that is larger and heavier than the original toy that you may be used to.
While it may seem childish, hooping can burn up to 600 calories per hour and works to strengthen your core and back, while also improving flexibility. Some gyms even include hooping in their strength and pilates classes! If you are eager to relive your childhood playground days, then hooping is definitely the class for you.
You may have heard of Tabata before, but seriously guys this class is no joke. Tabata typically involves circuit training, in which you give 20 seconds of all-out effort, followed by 10 seconds of rest. This cycle continues for four minutes, and the Tabata instructor will switch you off between the bike and treadmill, free weights, or a combination of the two.
You can take Tabata classes to target different areas of your body, such as core or lower body. Because Tabata is a type of HIIT workout (high intensity interval training), you’ll burn more calories than you would if you were simply jogging on the treadmill. The benefits of Tabata range from increased overall strength to improved endurance during your workouts. Again, if you are new to Tabata, don’t feel intimidated! There are a ton of beginner-level classes for you to try, and you can speak with the instructor for how to modify the more difficult movements. Time to embrace your inner gym rat and give Tabata a go!
If you grew up wanting to be a ballerina (what little girl didn’t?) then Barre is the workout for you. Inspired by classical ballet movements, Barre classes combine ballet, yoga, and Pilates to give you a fire workout that will leave your muscles sore. Barre workouts involve repeating a low-impact movement for a few minutes in a row (but believe me, it will feel like a few hours). Whether you’re rising onto your tip-toes or lifting your legs, Barre classes require some serious core strength and endurance. Give this one a go, and you’ll finally know the pain a ballerina goes through to look so flawless.
Ladies, it’s time to release your inner badass. If you need an outlet for all of your pent-up anger and stress, or if you just want to feel like a martial arts master, then I definitely recommend trying a kickboxing workout class.
Kickboxing combines martial arts techniques with high-intensity cardio, making it an intense, sweaty workout. But girls, don’t get intimidated: kickboxing can help you build your confidence and strength (even if you don’t want to actually fight anyone). Not only does kickboxing burn up to 800 calories per hour, but it can also help you improve your hand-eye coordination and give you better posture.
Personally, I have always wanted to take a kickboxing class because of how empowering and strong it can make you feel! And, the next time a creepy dude gives you a strange look at the bar, you’ll be prepared.
Trampolines are not just for fun: they’re for fitness, too! Some gyms offer unique trampoline classes that can get your heart pumping and your legs jumping.
Many trampoline parks, such as Skyzone or Pump it Up, offer group fitness classes for adults. Because trampolines require balance and coordination, you can work a lot of different muscles while stabilizing yourself. Not only that, but you’re able to get in an effective exercise while relieving pressure on your legs and feet.
Remember, the most effective workouts are the ones you actually like to do. If thinking about your gym routine makes you shiver, then try including a trampoline class to bring the fun back into fitness.
7. Boot camp
You don’t have to be a drill sergeant to enjoy a boot camp-style fitness class. Boot camp classes involve a large group of people performing cardio and strength exercises with guidance from an instructor.
A typical boot camp class will involve using medicine balls, kettlebells, free weights, and bodyweight exercises to get your sweat on. Some boot camp classes even take advantage of heavy bags and jump ropes to make you feel like you’re really at army training. In a boot camp class, you’ll move from station to station performing exercises, and there are always modifications for all fitness levels.
The best part about boot camp classes is the team spirit! People who attend these classes are known for supporting and pushing each other during workouts. If you’re looking to join a fitness squad, then boot camp is the way to go.
8. Pole Dancing
Time to bust out your moves and put Magic Mike to shame. Pole dancing is a workout that every woman should try at least once in her life. Pole dancing is a sexy and innovative way to get a great workout and improve your strength, all while feeling like the most expensive stripper alive.
Pole dancing is an intense full-body workout and involves dancing and contorting into positions using a floor-to-ceiling pole. A pole-dancing workout makes you lift your own body weight for extended periods of time, which can drastically improve your core and arm strength in just a few classes. Pole dancing also lets you work on your flexibility, and can help you improve your coordination and rhythm. Best of all, you’ll feel sexy and confident!
The best way to describe a Pound workout class is the Little Drummer Boy on steroids. Pound is a full-body cardio workout that uses light resistance sticks to simulate drumming motions in sync with thumping music. While it can be an intense workout, the movements in Pound classes are usually easy to follow and adjustable for all fitness abilities. Music is a huge part of what makes Pound such a unique and exciting workout, and they even have a hand-selected POUNDtrack for you to listen to in your spare time.
The Pound motto is: “Rock out while you work out.” Safe to say, this fitness class totally rocks.
10. Underwater cycling
You’ve probably heard of cycling classes, but if that isn’t enough of a workout for you (a.k.a. you’re crazy) then there are underwater cycling classes for you to try. Underwater cycling or “Aquacycling” has all of the rigor and intensity of a cycling class and involves your lower body performing the movements submerged in a pool. Not only is underwater cycling a unique twist on a traditional spin class, but it also has a ton of physical benefits.
Aquacycling is a great way for those struggling with arthritis or other injuries to get active. Underwater cycling also burns just as many calories as regular cycling, while relieving some of the joint pressure and adding extra water resistance. If you’re looking for a workout that is intense while also being therapeutic, then I definitely recommend you give underwater cycling a go.
Have you ever tried any of these unique fitness classes? Leave a comment and let us know what you think!
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Hi! My name is Allison and I'm a senior at UW-Madison majoring in Strategic Communication and Political Science. When I'm not fueling my passion for writing with my coffee addiction, you can find me listening to live music or binge-watching Parks and Rec.