Fitness trends 2017: some of the weirdest workouts we’re trying this year

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  • From surfset yoga to Kangoo boot jumping, here are the unusual fitness trends that we're trying in 2017...

    Words by Jenny Proudfoot and Penny Goldstone

    As autumn weather sets in and we get used to torrential rain, we’re hanging up our running shoes and heading into the gym to do our workouts inside instead – but to do which classes?

    Gone are the days when working out was a simple choice between spinning and HIIT – now there seems to be a never-ending list of fitness trends to choose from – and most of them are pretty out there.

    Forget standard pilates – it looks like aerial pilates is all the rage now, and instead of doing yoga on a mat, why not try it on a mechanic surfboard – balancing the simulated waves as you go through your poses – yes, we told you these fitness trends were a little out there.

    Team Marie Claire UK tried out all the fitness trends so you won’t have to. Here’s what we found…


    What is it? Balates (as its name suggests) is a hybrid mix of ballet and pilates. Focusing mainly on the ballet barre itself, the exercise focuses on stretches and strength, while boasting all of the benefits of pilates.

    Why go? Balates is great for flexibility, muscle strength and is a fantastic workout for your abs, legs, arms, hips and back.

    Difficulty level: Moderate

    Surfset Yoga

    What is it? Surfset Yoga (again as its name suggests) is yoga on a surfboard, forcing you to engage your core to remain stable on your board while moving through a series of poses.

    Why go? Surfset Yoga has double the benefits, reaping the results of both surfing and yoga. Key reasons to go include improving balance, posture and core strength.

    Difficulty level: Difficult


    What is it? Kangoo is an aerobic exercise class involving Kangoo jumps – low-impact rebound boots that make you bounce – used for everything from cross country training and athletic training to rehabilitation and dance classes.

    Why go? To burn easy calories – you can expect to burn over TWICE the amount of calories than you can in a normal class, and with half the effort. It is also incredibly fun and is great for injuries – reducing up to 80% of joint impact.

    Difficulty level: Easy

    Aerial Pilates

    What is it? Aerial pilates is essentially traditional pilates but in the air – suspended from hammocks. It has all the benefits of normal pilates, but the support of the hammock allows you to hold more challenging postures – if you can get up there of course!

    Why go? Aerial pilates has a huge amount of benefits (if you can actually manage it – this writer definitely couldn’t) from deeper stretchers, less strain and a stronger core from being able to hold the challenging postures longer. If however, you’re like this writer and can’t even get up in the hammock, stick to standard pilates.

    Difficulty level: Difficult

    A Barre class at Virgin Active


    What is it? Combining Ballet’s grace, Yoga’s focus and Pilates’ strength it’s the brainchild of LA based trainer and fitness guru, Tracey Mallett. Barre is a class that not only works your body but eases your mind too.

    Why go?  To be honest, the benefits are endless. It lengthens limbs, improves posture (this writer is already sitting straighter at her desk), firms glutes and pirouettes away the day’s frustrations without a dying swan in sight (no mean feat). You lose about 500 calories per class too, so you know you’re working hard.

    Difficulty level: Moderate

    Iron Zuu

    What is it? Combination is the killer in this whole body workout which pushes you harder than ever before. Your entire body is trained with a mixture of heavy lifts and primal movements such as squats and pulls, to make sure you deliver those gains in record time. Then the ZUU moves are thrown in. That’s when it gets tough, as it makes your core work extra hard.

    Why go? Yes, the class is tough, and you do break a sweat, but it’s hard to explain how empowering it is. It could be competitive, but everyone encourages you, and after every tough set, you high give your class mates, which is pretty damn cool

    Difficulty level: Difficult

    Iron Zuu

    Body Combat

    What is it? A rousing mix of martial arts including Karate, Taekwondo, Boxing and Kung. Learn to jab, box, block, kick and strike using major muscles for an all-over body workout.

    Why go? This is the ultimate stress buster, especially if you’ve had a hard day at work. It’s not as scary as it sounds, because you’re not actually fighting against each other, there is no body contact or experience needed. Learning those moves makes you feel empowered and like you can take on anything. You also leave with Rocky playing in your head, and 740 calories later. What more could you want?

    Difficulty level: Difficult

    Box Clever

    What is it? Work in pairs with gloves and pads to a soundtrack fit for a champ. Three minute ‘rounds’ test your upper body and core stability. Expert instructors help you learn to throw proper uppercuts, as well as right and left hooks.

    Why go? If you’re looking to really tone those upper arms, and learn some defensive moves along the way, then this is the class for you. The rounds are tough, but only three minutes long, which means that by the time you’re ready for a break, it’s time for your partner to take over. It’s a great team building exercise for sure.

    Difficulty level: Difficult

    The Nutcracker Barre Class

    What is it? As the name suggests, it’s a festive spin on Virgin Active’s popular Barre class. Throughout December, the limited edition barre class is set to the music of the popular Christmas ballet, The Nutcracker, alongside other famous compositions including Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty taking members on an enchanting journey whilst improving strength, co-ordination and rhythm.

    Why go? Because there’s no better way to get into the festive spirit AND get fit before eating all the food at Christmas. Win win.

    The Nutcracker Barre Class is available to book for members at Virgin Active Strand, with 7.30am classes available on the 6th, 13th and 20th December 2017

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