By Meredith, Pure Matters
Let's face it: After awhile, our routine starts to feel ... well, routine. Our workout routines aren't immune from the plague of boredom -- which is probably why gyms are constantly adding and subtracting new group fitness classes to their lineups. Here are a few of the up-and-coming hot new fitness classes you might start seeing on the lineup at your club.
You've mastered the moves at your regular Zumba class, and you're loving getting your sweat on in class every week ... so why not kick the difficulty up a notch? That's the aim of Sentao, which introduces a chair into the mix. You'll probably bump into it now and then, but the chair also enables you to focus more deeply on your core (think lots of twists) and incorporates more traditional fitness moves like pushups, squats, and lunges. Oh, and your arms better be ready for a workout -- you'll be doing lots and lots of tricep dips.
Best for: Zumba regulars who are ready for another challenge.
Short for metabolic conditioning, METCON classes are high intensity boot camps designed to kick your metabolism into high gear. They're highly scripted (and sort of similar to Tabata,) mixing cardio and strength moves for a set period of time -- typically a minute but shorter or longer depending on the class level. The principles behind METCON originated with CrossFit, with many gyms now adopting and adapting the method -- expect lots of sprints, suicides, box jumps, and squats.
Best for: Boot campers who are bored with jumping jacks.
Now popping up in some yoga studios, aerial dance classes aren't for the faint of heart (or those, like me, who are afraid of heights). During class, you'll use a pair of nylon silks connected to the ceiling to lift, twist, and spin -- be prepared to use muscles you've rarely put to work before -- similar to what you've seen from acrobats. The movements, like inversions, foot locks, and foot rollups, are typically taught to newcomers via one-on-one instruction.
Best for: Yogis who daydream of running away and joining the circus.
Blame it on Black Swan: Ballet-inspired workouts are so popular right now, there are no less than five different philosophies offering dancer-inspired fitness classes. The basics are going to be largely the same regardless of the class you take -- expect to use the barre to do low-impact, low-weight exercises at high reps. Your core will ache the next day, as will your arms. (A word of advice -- don't be a hero and grab the heaviest hand weights, start light. You'll feel it the next day regardless.)
Best for: Pilates fans looking for an extra strength boost.
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