Out with the old, in with the awesome! These cool classes are the perfect way to freshen-up your workout regimentBy: Alyssa Wells
Would you rather hit the waves than head into the gym for a workout? SurfSET Fitness gives land-locked boarding enthusiasts and beginners alike the chance to sculpt the toned body and rock-solid core required for the sport. The class, available at gyms across the country, uses an innovative machine called the RipSurferX to simulate the surfing experience. A board rests on air-filled pads to mimic the instability of a surfboard on water and cable pulls attached to the front of the machine allow you to row against wave-like resistance. But the workout is more than just paddling and pop-ups. The class also requires you to do traditional exercises like split squats, planks, and box jumps on the wobbly surface to challenge your balance and dynamic strength. (The RipSurferX even has an attachment that turns your surfing workout into a stand-up paddle boarding session.) (Search: What is stand-up paddle boarding?)
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If you've ever had the chance to marvel at a Bollywood dance sequence, you already know it's a nonstop cardio fest. Choreography that's loaded with hip swivels, quick hand movements, and plyometric skips and jumps helps you work up a sweat, improve coordination and agility, as well as channel your inner diva. Most classes take a follow-the-leader approach so prior knowledge of Bollywood dance is rarely necessary. And it's almost too fun to feel like a real workout. The dance party atmosphere is perfect for Zumba devotees and there are plenty of DVDs on the market (we like Bollywood Dance Workouts with Hemalayaa), making this an easy exercise system to tackle at home. (Related: No gym? No Problem! Try this 15-minute workout at home)
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To get the lean, toned body of a dancer, you need to train like a dancer—but that (thankfully) doesn’t have to involve putting your body through a Black Swan-like nightmare. Instead, try Pop Physique, a class created by a former professional ballet dancer and Pilates instructor that combines ballet, Pilates, and light weight lifting into an exercise system that improves strength, physical endurance, flexibility, posture, and body awareness. The isometric holds and deep stretches will wake up muscles you may have never known existed while helping you sculpt a tight, ballet body.
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This isn’t the hula hooping of your playground days. Hoopnotica’s sexy, energetic workouts tackle major problem areas like your belly, butt, and arms in a playful, confidence-boosting environment. Classes focus on mastering different techniques like waist hooping, hip hooping, halos (a biceps- and triceps-burner that requires you to spin the hoop overhead on your hand), and a ton of other tricks that would amaze your elementary school self. Those moves are then set to music in a choreographed routine. But it’s not just fun and games. It’s a calorie-torching workout that Gabriella Redding, CEO of Hoopnotica, used to drop 30 pounds in a single summer. “People need exercise that’s fun, simple, and engaging,” says Redding. (Related: 21 Ways to Make Fitness Fun) Classes are offered across the United States (check their site for locations), but you can also take advantage of their full line of DVDs and do some hoop-twirling toning at home.
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Ready to pump some rubber? ViPR, a large rubber tube that looks like a battering ram with handholds, could soon replace your beloved barbells and dumbbells—and give you a more well-rounded workout in the process. Created by a former strength and conditioning coach for the NHL, ViPR emphasizes the importance of movement when it comes to strength development. This versatile training tool—whose name is an acronym for vitality, performance and re-conditioning—comes in seven different weights and can be carried, tilted, dragged, thrown, flipped, stepped on, and rolled to provide you with a total body workout that builds functional strength, agility, and coordination through a seemingly infinite number of exercise options. Watch ViPR in action here.
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Playing air guitar—not so cool. Toning your entire bod while you beat the floor with pair of weighted drumsticks—a serious dose of fitness fun. Created by two professional drummers, Pound classes transform your workout into a sweaty jam session, combining the cardio of drumming with the sculpting of resistance training. Exercisers move through Pilates-inspired floor work and dance-like routines packed with strengthening moves like squats and lunges all the while creatively keeping the beat. Be forewarned, the music—and the drumming for that matter—is very loud, but the stress relief and satisfaction of a workout well done is more than worth it. (Related: Head-to-Toe Stress Cures from Dr. Oz)
The perils of parkour—the French phenomenon that makes a sport of moving from one place to another as efficiently as possible—may not be new to you, but the style and flair of its even more acrobatic offspring, Freerunning, could be your new favorite workout. You can learn how to leap, run, flip, and tumble like a Hollywood stuntman at Tempest Freerunning Academy in Los Angeles. (These guys even taught The Hunger Games’ Jennifer Lawrence how to expertly move through the forest for the film’s most demanding scenes.) And while you may not be able to back flip off a building into the passenger seat of a convertible after just a few classes, you will improve your agility, endurance, and strength.
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