We’ll do just about anything to get in shape—which is probably why there are about a billion different exercise classes and machines to choose from.
Whether you hate running, or you’re just tired of feeling bored in spin class, you don’t have to stick to the fitness status quo. Check out a few of these unusual workouts—maybe an something outside of the norm is just the ticket for your best body.
Any exercise copied from military training has to work, right? That’s the premise of rucking. Basically, the term just means walking or hiking wearing a rucksack (aka backpack) loaded down with some weight. This exercise is great for any level of fitness, as you can adjust the amount of weight or the intensity of your walk each time.
Think of battle ropes as the grown-up version of tug-of-war. Just whipping or pulling these industrial-strength ropes can help tone your core, strengthen your muscles, and burn calories from the cardiovascular exertion. Plus, you’ll feel pretty hardcore doing it.
Pole dancing isn’t just an X-rated activity any more—this scandalous dance is actually also a great workout. Hauling your body up onto the pole is both resistance training and cardio, and you’ll gain some flexibility, too. Bonus: If you try it in heels, you’ll tone your legs even more!
If you just can’t bear to be separated from your furry friends for even an hourlong yoga class, try a dog-friendly workout class. Animal lovers can now take Fido to yoga, try bicep curls with their little pooch at bootcamp, and even run a 5K with a four-legged jogging partner.
This training method originally used by the French Special Forces has attracted a worldwide following. At the most basic level, parkour means traveling from Point A to Point B in the most efficient route possible. Of course, in this combination of running and acrobatics, “efficient” could mean hopping a fence or flipping off a dividing wall.
Even if you’re not a gym rat, you’ve probably heard of dumbbells—but have you heard of sandbells? Essentially, sandbells are bags filled with sand. Though they’re used like other hand weights, sandbells have a completely different effect. Unlike medicine balls or traditional hand weights, these are filled with a shifting mass of sand. Compensating for the sand’s movement stimulates the brain as well as the muscles, giving you a more complete workout.
Proponents of this high-intensity interval training (or HIIT, for short) say it’s grueling, exhausting, and the best workout you’ll ever try—plus, it takes just four minutes.
This exercise gets its name from Japanese Professor Izumi Tabata, the researcher who first realized how effective high-intensity training can be. Essentially, the Tabata exercise is just repeating a circuit of 20 seconds of intense work followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeating it eight times is enough for a complete workout!
Photo credit: Dangerously Fit via Flickr
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