6 awesome workouts you never knew existed
The fitness industry has undergone a makeover in recent years. Gone are days of the begrudging treadmill and hours spent laboriously curling those ‘cepts. We are now spoiled for choice when it comes to working out so there’s pretty much no excuse for sitting on the couch and watching netflix (although I can think of a few…)
1. Hula hooping
That’s right, the hula hoop that you used to swing around your hips for fun when you were five has made a comeback. As it turns out, hooping is actually ridiculously good for your midsection and might even help you to find those six little suckers (aka abdominals) that like hiding under the pizza you ate last weekend.
“When spinning a hula hoop around your body you’re engaging your core muscles, so it’s a great core-strengthening activity,” says Jane Fondle, founder of Hoops, Thighs and Buttocks. The hot-bod-hoop-benefits don’t stop there. To target different areas of the body, you can swirl the hoop around your hands and arms to work the upper body or squat while pumping to work your quads, hamstrings and glutes. Public service announcement: “squatting and pumping” is not glamourous and if you lack coordination like me do NOT attempt it.
If you’re gyrating your little heart out but but the hoop refuses to play nice, it could be because you are hula’ing with the wrong hoop. “A larger, heavier hoop is easier to spin as the weight gives it momentum. Stay away from cheap kid’s hoops,” says Fondle. Okay, okay. Relax already. I’ll throw the hoop I “borrowed” from Cindy nextdoor back over the fence.
Jokes aside, if you’re serious about abs you should definitely give hooping a try. The best bit? You don’t need to spend hours doing it to start seeing results. “If you only hula hooped 10 minutes a day, you will notice a change in your core strength within a week,” says Fondle. Now that’s a commitment I can handle.
2. Silent disco yoga
If glowsticks and silent discos make you think of the Boiler Room at Big Day Out, think again. Instead of waking up with a cracking headache, silent disco yoga will leave you feeling refreshed, connected and at one with the disco deity.
Flo After Dark instructor, Kate Kendall, came up with the concept to make yoga as fun and approachable as possible. “There are so many yoga stereotypes out there (many are true!) but I believe it should be fun and not taken too seriously,” says Kendall. “Expect to feel like you are all alone in a sea full of people. Everyone is moving the same as you and everyone has the same intention but you can’t hear them and therefore you are more likely to zone out and pay attention to your own practice and your own needs.”
If you consider yourself a bit of a rhythmic genius or a modern day Buddy Rich then Pound might be the workout you’ve been looking for. It combines elements of cardio, strength, and Pilates while you drum the floor using small weighted drumsticks called “ripsticks.” So in other words, you get to smash sticks around while dancing like a maniac to awesome beats. Someone hand me a tune rag please!
Caroline Hynes, Group Exercise Coordinator at Crunch Fitness, says that the class involves a number of fat burning sequences set to different soundtracks so that you get a full-body workout. Not only will it strengthen and sculpt muscles you didn’t even know you had, it also provides an outlet for the mind and emotions too, she says. Who doesn’t enjoy pounding out aggressive feelings freely?
4. Pole dancing
While pole dancing has been given a bad rap in the past, modern pole studios are breaking down this stereotype one aerial invert at a time. With the potential to improve your flexibility, strengthen your core and spice up your personal life, what could you possibly have to lose?
“Pole dancing not only creates a toned and sculpted body, it also helps you build confidence and feel comfortable within yourself,” says Peta Howlett, Chief Motivation Coach at Studio Exclusive. According to Howlett, pole dancing is suitable for everyone, even uncoordinated noobs like myself. “If you can walk, you can pole dance,” she assures me.
While Studio Exclusive is a female only studio, there are some studios that offer pole dancing lessons for men. If you find any please let me know by writing in the comments below. I’d like to go along for research purposes.
5. Primal movement
Like the name suggests, primal movement is all about reconnecting with your caveman roots. But don’t worry you won’t end up looking like a member of the Flintstones family. Think more along the lines of Brendan Fraser in George of the Jungle.
Fitness trainer and founder of The ZUU, Nathan Helberg, says that primal movements are the movement patterns that we started life with. These include “crawling, rolling, squatting, moving your joints through full ranges of motion under load,” he says . “Primal movements have the best benefit to risk ratio of all training modalities and their benefits far outweigh traditional methods including: low impact, increase mobility, increase strength, cardio, strengthening ligaments, tendons, inter-connective tissue and fascia.” Best of all you don’t need any equipment. Once you know what you’re doing, you can workout anywhere.
6. SUP yoga
If you love yoga, crave the beach and worship the sun then stand up paddle board (SUP) yoga will be so far up your alley you won’t feel like you’re working out at all. It’s a far cry from a traditional gym workout and there’s no reason why you can’t grab a friend and a towel and make a day of it.
Certified SUP yoga instructor and Paddle Bliss founder, Nadine Lafleur says that SUP yoga gives you all of the benefits of a normal yoga practice, plus much more. You get to tune into your natural surroundings all while giving your stabiliser muscles a fantastic workout, she says. Stabiliser muscles sit deep underneath and in between the visible ones in our body, and they are responsible for preventing injury, says Lafleur.
If you’re worried that your downward dog will turnout downright embarrassing, Nadine suggests that finding a solid focal point on the horizon can help with balance. Paddle Bliss also uses inflatable SUPs with a full length grip pad to help ensure you don’t glide overboard from the slimy sunscreen on your hands.
Article written by Jessica Pyers and Neela Shearer.
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