6 Group Exercise Classes to Try in 2016
One of the best parts of group exercise classes, other than the crazy-good workout you can expect, is that they’re constantly changing. Great instructors will change up their classes on a day to day basis, and they’ll also keep an eye on new trending classes, getting certified to teach the very best newcomers and bring them to you.
As we dive into 2016, here are our top picks for group exercise classes to keep your eye on:
1. Boot Camp-style training
Boot Camp training has been trending for a number of years now, for one big reason: it works. These classes, such as Daily Ultimate Training (DUT™) use the HIIT principle to shock your system and deliver results. You can expect instructors to focus on proper technique and function to improve your overall strength. You’ll use a variety of equipment like battle ropes, jump ropes, suspension training, kettlebells and free weights, plus you’ll complete cardio-focused speed and agility drills and body weight exercises. If you want to step outside of the typical group fitness class and challenge yourself in new ways, make 2016 the year of boot camp.
You might have seen a BOSU® trainer before - it looks like an exercise ball that’s been cut in half and mounted on a sturdy plate. In fact, “BOSU” means “Both Sides Up” or “Both Sides Utilized.” When a BOSU trainer is incorporated into a fitness class, you can expect to use the soft, ball-like side as well as the hard side. The BOSU trainer is designed to improve balance and flexibility and to be used as tool for making cardio workouts more difficult. You’ll see BOSU trainers used in a variety of exercise classes, but to truly try it on for size, look for a class that’s primarily dedicated to this method. Some challenging iterations include:
- BOSU® Balance, which is designed to improve motor movement and increase core strength by challenging, you guessed it, your balancing abilities.
- BOSU® Circuit, where you can expect to challenge your heart rate, strength, agility, and balance. This class is faster-paced and more cardio-driven than the balance version, which results in a greater calorie burn.
- BOSU® YOGA gives participants a different kind of yoga class. You’ll build on yoga fundamentals but incorporate additional balance and stability challenges.
Ultimately, when you’re using the BOSU trainer, your mind and body must stay totally focused on the action you’re performing, which makes classes fly by before you realize it.
3. TurboKick ®
TurboKick® is one part kickboxing, one part hip-hop dancing, but it’s not your typical dance fitness class. Instead, Turbo Kick classes offer serious cardio with ab-defining moves that focus on the principal of high intensity interval training (HIIT). You’ll work as hard as you can at high intensity for a period of time, then spend some time doing lower intensity moves, before picking the pace back up. If an exciting, fast-paced class with dance music is your kind of workout, TurboKick is a must-try.
Here’s a preview of what you can expect in a TurboKick Class:
If you’re looking for a more traditional kickboxing workout, we recommend classes like KickAss Kick that use the same no-bag kickboxing techniques, cardio drills, and interval focus but omit the dance fitness elements.
CIZE™ is one of the latest fitness classes from the mind of Shaun T (you may know him as the creator of the Insanity workout). Unlike other dance fitness classes that set some standard conditioning moves to music, CIZE is dance-first. You’ll learn complete routines and choreography in a context that feels like a traditional dance class more than a workout. But don’t worry - this class includes an instructional element and is appropriate for beginners. Here’s a preview:
5. Boxing and Kickboxing Conditioning
If you’ve tried kickboxing classes and like them, but are looking for a more intense workout, conditioning-focused classes are the answer. In both Boxing Conditioning and Kickboxing Conditioning, you’ll learn essential skills and techniques, designed to build cardio endurance. You’ll do bag work, core strengthening exercises, and partner drills. Depending on where you work out, you can find classes open to anyone, grouped by skill level, for women only, or even variations for kids.
6. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art and self-defense system originally formed from the traditional techniques of judo from Japan. It was adapted by Carlos and Helio Gracie, who recreated BJJ as its own art, which is now practiced world wide. These Classes teach proper physical technique, intelligent application per situation, and the right knowledge to conduct a challenging yet safe experience.
BJJ classes are structured to teach students of all belt levels appropriate positions and techniques. Specific positions and techniques vary based on class level, but can include joint-locks, chokes, escapes, and submission holds. You can find classes for adults, youth participants, and specialized classes for women only. Good classes should be taught by accomplished, highly-regarded and certified instructors, who can emphasize proper form and technique.
You’ll find BJJ in the form of Gi or No Gi classes. A Gi is the garment worn in classes: a pair of cotton drawstring pants and jacket with a thick collar. The jacket is kept closed with the rank-denoting belt we’re accustomed to seeing. In No Gi classes, you won’t see these garments or any belts, rather you’ll see more typical workout gear. The strategy and techniques you learn in these classes will also differ. In Gi classes, you’ll use your opponent’s closing as an advantage for gaining or controlling position. In a No Gi class, since there’s no standard garment, you’ll use the opponent’s own body (neck, wrist, elbow, etc).
Have you tried any of these six group exercise classes? What’s on your radar for 2016? Let us know in the comments.