Tired of the same old workout? From midair yoga to underwater cycling, these off-the-wall workouts are anything but bland.
High Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT for short) involves short bursts of heart-pounding activity with rests in between followed by a period of recovery—and it’s a calorie torcher. Forcing you to work out as hard as you can for short periods of time, it’s only natural that most of these intense workouts are over within 30 minutes. Although it’s been around for decades, HIIT has been picking up speed lately thanks to popular programs like P90X ($120 + Shipping and Handling) and CrossFit (monthly membership costs vary with location), which are known for their interval training techniques.
The ViPR, standing for Vitality, Performance and Re-Conditioning, is actually a large, rubber tube that weighs between eight to 44 pounds (depending on your size and needs) and is a new favorite among fitness trainers to get their clients in amazing shape—think a dumbbell or a kettle ball but a lot heavier and easier to swing. Handles on the ViPR make it easy to grip the tube while performing any of the 9,000 potential moves in which it can be carried, thrown, flipped, swung or dragged that are sure to engage every muscle in your body (even ones you didn’t know were there) for a calorie-blasting workout. (Prices vary among gym chains and studios.)
Perfect for people who want a high-impact workout without the stressing their joints, rebounding transforms jumping on a mini-trampoline into a serious cardio session. Don’t believe it? A NASA study found that rebounding is 68 percent more efficient than running or jogging. Not only that, but it proved to prevent osteoporosis and reverse damage in astronauts whose weightless states caused them to lose bone mass. Classes are offered at many different fitness studios such as Jump at Ballet Bodies ($25 per class) and Bari Bounce at Bari Studio (classes start at $35).
Barre workouts, designed to create long, lean muscle mass much like that of a ballet dancer, combine a bit of dance, Pilates and yoga into every session through the utilization of a ballet barre. Though every program varies a little, barre exercises tend to rely on one’s body weight for resistance. Barre is great for sculpting the body, but those seeking optimal weight loss will want to combine barre classes with cardio and a healthy diet. Some celebrity favorites include The Bar Method ($24 per class) and Pure Barre ($23-25 per class).
Peddling with your hands might feel strange at first but the amazing upper-body workout you get in a Krankcryle session will make you be a convert. It builds strength and tones your arms, pecs, shoulders and upper back. Try Kranking in a standing position to burn as many calories as you would during an intense lower-body cardio workout. Add kranking to mix up your workout or to keep fit if you have a leg or foot injury. Find your Kranking location here (Prices vary with gym or studio membership rates.) or purchase your own at Nova Fitness Equipment.
Aerial YogaVariations of traditional yoga moves are all performed while hanging in “hammocks” suspended from the ceiling. The weightless poses relieve aching joints and stretch muscles all while strengthening your core. Cirque School is another midair fitness program that works to strengthen the core while increasing flexibility by using professional circus performers’ routines. Anti-Gravity Fitness and Fly Gym are great options.
Channel your inner-child with this workout that works your waist, core muscles, thighs and biceps simultaneously. Utilizing weighted hula-hoops, which are much easier to swing than the flimsy plastic ones, a Hula Hoop workout can burn more calories than step aerobics and raise your heart rate as much as cardio kickboxing. Find a Hoopnotica teacher in your area to start spinning those calories off. (Prices vary with class location.)
Animal Flow Workout
Equinox’s new, no-equipment workout mimics primal movements while combing elements from break dancing, free running, capoeira and gymnastics to create an ultra-high intensity challenge that will leave you toned and sculpted. Workouts like the Vertical Frog Jump and the Sideways-Traveling Primate are designed to target hard-to-tone areas such as the back, butt, hips and shoulders. (Membership costs vary with club location.)
Virtual Fitness Classes
If you live outside of the “Big Cities” (LA, NYC, Miami and Chicago), all of the trendy fitness classes are hard to get to—if they’re even available. Now, live streaming and online workouts help eliminate the need for a boring DVD you’ve run through ten times already. Check out Physique 57 ($5-$7 per rental or $57 a month), Crunch Live ($10 a month) or Ballet Beautiful ($35 per class or $280 a month) where instructors offer online classes or have live streams of their NYC-only classes so that women all over the world can reap the benefits of these fitness trends, too.
This hybrid cycling class is similar to an indoor cycling studio, but in a pool instead. With stationary bikes under 4 feet of water, you’re pedaling against the water resistance, delivering an intense underwater workout. It’s impact-free, so it can help protect your joints and muscles while helping you burn up to 800 calories per class. Check out AQUA in New York City where the hype all started. ($40 per class, packages available.)
Known among fitness professionals as “cross-disciplining,” classes like Piloxing combine two styles of training into one workout. Combining the power, speed and agility of boxing with the toning sculpting and flexibility of Pilates, Piloxing offers a fusion of two fitness favorites into one calorie-slashing hit. Find a studio near you that offers Piloxing classes here. (Prices vary with each studio.)
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