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10 Fun Group Exercise Classes & Ideas

By Laura Williams

dance exerciseGroup fitness classes such as Zumba and Spinning are a lot like fashion in that, as Heidi Klum says, “One day you’re in, and the next day you’re out.” The beauty of this ever-changing industry is that there are always new, creative takes on traditional exercise classes, as well as the promise of never-before-seen experiences.

If you’re interested in spicing up your workout routine, then consider the many new group fitness classes taking place around the country, and check local listings to see if you can find them in your area.

Creative Group Exercise Trends

For the Dancers

If you love Zumba, chances are you’ll love these classes, too.

  • Broadway Bodies. Think “Glee,” in real life. With studios in New York and Los Angeles, students dance and sing their way through a workout, embracing their inner divas while waving their jazz hands.
  • Bokwa. Perfect for students with two left feet, Bokwa choreography is based on “spelling out” numbers and letters with your body. Once you’ve mastered the steps for the letter “C,” you’ll know exactly what to do when the instructor includes it in a sequence. After picking up the footwork, keep things exciting by adding arm and hip movements.
  • BUTI. A mix of tribal dance, plyometrics, and yoga, BUTI increases your heart rate and keeps it high throughout this full-body routine.

Both Bokwa and BUTI are available at select studios and fitness centers around the country.

For the Beach Bums

Wish summer would last all year? Make the most of every day with this beach body workout.

  • SURFSET. Even if you’re stuck in a landlocked state, SURFSET classes enable you to “catch a wave” on a special surfboard made specifically for group exercise. While taking part, you must balance on the board while moving through a series of body weight exercises all designed to help you burn calories, increase strength, and improve balance. Classes are popping up around the country, so check for locations on the SURFSET website. Formal classes supply the board for you, but if you want to try this trend at home, you can purchase a board for personal use.

For the Yogis

When your traditional asanas start to feel a little tired, add some power to your yoga routine.

  • CrossFit Yoga. Yes, you heard that right. Offered at Momentum by IRON in Los Angeles, this exercise combines the intensity of a CrossFit workout with the graceful flow of a yoga routine. CrossFit, or the “sport of fitness,” is focused on short, high-intensity training programs designed to improve strength, cardiovascular health, agility, and power. By adding yoga to the mix, you can also improve flexibility – another important factor in total-body fitness.
  • OnBoard SUP. Take your yoga routine to the water. The OnBoard SUP classes offered in Southern California feature yoga flows performed on a standup paddle board. Challenge your balance and limber up while enjoying the tranquility of the water.

boxing

For the Fighters

When you want to blow off some steam after a tough day at work, you can’t go wrong with these kickboxing twists.

  • 9Round. Unlike other group exercise classes, you don’t have to be tied to a schedule to complete this workout. Since a new round starts every three minutes, all you have to do is show up and join in. Led by certified trainers, 9Round moves you through nine three-minute stations in a circuit, performing “old school” boxing and kickboxing exercises designed to condition and strengthen your body. With 30 locations currently open and 60 more franchises sold, there’s likely to be a 9Round center near you soon.
  • Barre Brawl. Who says dancers can’t be fighters? The Barre Brawl class incorporates the killer leg exercises of a ballet-inspired barre workout with intense kickboxing sequences. Barre Bee Fit studios are currently open in Chicago, Ann Arbor, Pittsburgh, and Indianapolis, with locations opening soon in Dallas and Detroit.

For the Rock Stars

  • Pound. Let your inner drummer come alive as you pound out your cares using lightly weighted drumsticks as you move through cardio, Pilates, and plyometric exercises. You can burn up to 900 calories per hour without even realizing it as you jam out to your favorite tunes. Pound classes are available across the country and online.
  • CYC. Forget traditional group cycling classes, and take things up a notch. CYC studios in Madison, Wisconsin, and Austin, Texas base their choreography around the music in every workout. With themed rides such as “One Hit Wonders” and “Beyonce and Jay-Z,” you can let the music move you as your workout flies by.

Final Word

Variety is the spice of life, and while it’s important to find and stick with a workout you love, there’s certainly no harm in trying something new. And as experts in the fitness field know, cross-training actually makes you a more well-rounded athlete, targeting weaknesses you may not even realize you have. So go ahead and skip your 30 minutes on the elliptical machine and test out a new class. Even if you decide it’s not right for you, the experience will keep your routine fresh and fun.

Which group exercise programs have you tried recently?

Laura Williams
Laura Williams holds a master's degree in exercise and sport science and enjoys breaking up her day by running her dogs, hitting the gym, and watching TV. Having been in charge of her own finances since the early age of 12, she knows how to save and when to spend, and she loves sharing these tips with others. Laura ditched her career as a fitness center manager for the relative freedom of home-based writing and editing work. She stays busy by working on her own website, GirlsGoneSporty, a website designed to help the sporty woman live the sporty life.

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