The benefits of working out regularly are no secret! The exercises associated with workouts are endless and range from the ability to sculpt and shape our bodies physically to protecting us against the risks of major chronic diseases: cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. But there’s a whole plethora of workouts that are dipping in and out of fashion so which ones are busting the gyms and setting the trend for 2017?
1. CALISTHENICS ★ ★ ★ ★
In layman’s terms, this is bodyweight training without the need for sophisticated machines. It uses the entire body collectively rather than isolating one small body area at a time. As a result, you not only build strength, flexibility and balance but also develop a better kinesthetic awareness of your body whereby you’ll be more in tune with it. Best associated with muscle-ups, pull-ups, bar levers and trending Instagram pictures of the human flag and other gravity-defying movements. Respect!
Great for novices who want to ease into building strength
Exercises are easy to modify as you progress
Can be used without fancy equipment
No expensive gym memberships required
Possible in a very small space
Hard to advance to the more complex moves on your own
Requires proper knowledge as wrong technique can lead to injury
Not a balanced focus on leg training, potentially leaving you with “chicken legs.”
2. BARRE WORKOUTS ★ ★
The buzz word right now seems to be Barre! These workouts are the latest 2017 trend that are spreading like wildfire. Inspired by ballet movements Barre workouts consist of stretching and toning using a hand rail which focuses on core conditioning. The movements are low impact but high intensity and although there are many different types of Barre workouts popping up they all have one thing in common, Ballet!
3. PLYOMETRIC WORKOUTS ★ ★ ★
Plyometric training has been used by top athletes for years now because it is designed to improve their power, speed, and explosiveness. It consists of high knee raises, burpees and various jumps that target muscle fibers that running and jogging don’t. This is not for the faint hearted as these “bounding” movements will push your body to its limits creating that adrenaline rush that everyone is loving right now!
Good weight (fat) loss results
An enjoyable high-intensity workout
Wide variety of movements reduces the boredom factor
High injury risk
Requires longer warm up and cool down process to keep injury risk down
Coach recommended for more advanced movements
Range of equipment is needed for progression
4. THE MEGAFORMER ★
This is Hollywood style pilates made popular by the toned body transformation of Kim Kardashian! The Magaformer is like a fully charged Reformer Pilates machine with various rigged up levers, weights and pulleys and includes exercises such as the ‘wheelbarrow’ and the ‘French twist’. The Megaformer addresses all five components that make up physical fitness; cardio, strength, endurance, body composition, and flexibility in a session lasting less than an hour! It has, incidentally, been referred to as a “Pilates machine on steroids”. No wonder this trend is set to be huge!
Suitable for all levels of fitness
Small class numbers
High level of individual attention
Full body workout in under an hour
It is expensive
Very few equipped studios
Difficult to schedule a session
Needs a specialized instructor
Not advised to train every day as muscles require recovery
Difficult to train at home
5. JUMP ROPE SKIPPING ★ ★
Skipping is not just for school kids in the playground or assigned to boxers; it’s making regular appearances in gyms across the county. It can be done almost anywhere using a range of different ropes. So why is skipping so popular at the moment? Well, it can improve coordination, agility, tone as well as cardiovascular fitness all at once.
Inexpensive as only investment is a skipping rope
No gym memberships required
Can be done indoors or outdoors
Effective weight (fat) loss workout
Can be fun and enjoyable
You need to be able to jump continuously for at least 20 minutes for effectiveness
Jumping less than 1-2 inches above the ground requires skill
Continuous ground impact increases injury risk
After time progress will plateau as your body becomes conditioned
Requires adequate rope clearance whether indoors or outdoors
6. H.E.A.T. (High Energy Athletic Training) ★ ★
H.E.A.T has been developed to improve fitness through an educated and more specialized approach. It, therefore, offers an innovative workout that pushes you physically and mentally. The workouts are based on three very distinct science-based phases of strength, base conditioning and power. They incorporate drills such as sled pushing, footwork and sprinting to make you feel like an athlete in training.
7. CROSS FIT ★ ★ ★
CrossFit is springing up everywhere and has a huge online presence. It was designed to build a body capable of mastering ten physical skills: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination, and accuracy. Word of warning though; CrossFit by its very nature is designed to push far, hard and fast which can attract some individuals who push themselves way beyond their limitations!
Scalable workouts to suit everyone
Group training offers camaraderie
Allows for constant improvement
It is expensive
Not suitable for specialisation
High injury risk
Requires spotting to keep form in check
Not easily done from home
8. YOGA ★ ★ ★ ★
Yoga is by no means new, but its trend status is growing momentum, and rightly so because its benefits are vast. It reduces stress, anxiety and allows blood to flow through the body more efficiently. In fact, studies show practicing yoga actively increases the brain’s chemical “chill out” neurotransmitter, a substance that is in short supply in stressed out people. Because 2017 is about mindful exercise, forwarding thinking gyms are creating mind and body studios lit by candle light and infused with soothing smells of essential oils.
Physically and spiritually strengthening
Sculpts and tones every muscle group in your body
Only workout that detoxifies the body by massaging internal organs
Choice of classes for every level
Minimum equipment – only a yoga mat is needed
Studio classes are expensive
Difficult to find the right blend of yoga style and teacher
You must have time as a good class is typically 90 minutes
Progression is difficult in large classes
If practiced inappropriately can cause muscle cramp and/or injury
9. POLE WORKOUTS ★ ★ ★
The pole has come of age whereby it no longer just provides tantalizing striptease but offers incredible fitness workouts too. Flexibility, tone, strength and confidence are guaranteed along with core training. In other words, pole workouts will make you become mind-blowingly strong! No surprise that the trend is spreading as it offers a total workout that is fun, exciting and a lot more appealing than the usual workouts.
Few equipped studios
Not easy to do at home i.e. installing a pole, height and space
Requires a coach especially for beginners
10. PERSONAL TRAINING ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The most sought after service in the fitness world is from a Personal Trainer who can provide a bespoke training programme to reach your fitness goals. The advantage lies in hand picking a trainer with whom you build a relationship of trust and personal fitness targets. The surge in budget gyms now means that this service has become a more affordable reality. In fact, research shows that working on a one-to-one basis can actually change an individual’s attitude toward fitness and increase their progression by at least 20%. This is sure to supersede all other workout trends!
Tailored specific training and programmes
Constant monitoring while training
Lower risk of injury
Progression and motivation
Finding a PT that suits your needs
Can be expensive over time
Availability of good trainer may be an issue
The one common factor of these workout trends that stands out for me is their reinvention of exercise names! Ultimately the objectives are the same, but the delivery and packaging of these trends boils down to whatever ticks your box. Research continuously shows that exercise shouldn’t be used solely for achieving optimal fitness, it should be balanced with the correct nutrition. My favorite motto is, “training and nutrition are like two wheels on a bike; one doesn’t work without the other!”
Expert Author: Anthony Ward (writing for Consumer Health Digest)
Anthony Ward is a Personal Trainer based in central London and has been transforming people’s lives for the last 10 years with his expert knowledge of exercise and nutrition. He was a competitor of Men’s Physique and placed 2nd in the European Championships at Musclemania 2012. Anthony co-founded The Green Ward in 2016, A Nutritional Therapy Practice, that continues to transform lives through clean eating, manageable training programmes and pursuing a healthy balanced lifestyle. You can find him on thegreenward.com. Connect with him on Facebook and on Instagram