9 ways to challenge your body in a whole new way.
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If you think water exercise is just for grannies in flowered bathing caps, you haven't tried this workout yet! The Burdenko Method, developed by Dr. Igor Burdenko, combines specific, core-centric exercises (performed both on land and in the water) to help develop balance, coordination, flexibility, endurance, speed, and strength.
Used by everyone from world-class Olympic athletes to professional ballerinas to both improve performance and for rehabilitation, this unique training method focuses on developing a balanced body (all exercises are performed both forwards and backwards) and incorporates the natural resistance of the water to build core strength, range of motion, and flexibility. To learn more and watch the Burdenko method in action, check out this video.
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GYROKINESIS® features elements similar to yoga and dance, but unlike yoga, you won't stay in certain poses or positions for long. Instead, this method focuses on rotational movements that flow from one to the next. Classes are typically taught seated on a bench or stool and may also include some floor work. The motion patterns systematically and gently exercise the spine and joints in a circular way, creating a musculature that is strong but supple, says Matt Aversa, vice president of Gyrotonic International Headquarters.
Search for a studio near you to try a class, or try a GYROKINESIS DVD at home by visiting Gyrotonic.com. (Want to view a few sessions first? Watch this GYROKINESIS workout featured on Live! With Regis and Kelly.)
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Heavy ropes are starting to make their way into serious workouts across the nation. But you won't be jumping rope with these—instead you'll be whipping, swinging, and waving the weighted rope (it's one heavy rope tied at an anchor point, with you holding both ends at the opposite end) nonstop for a serious cardio and strength session.
Try your hand at the ropes with a trainer, at a CrossFit location, or in EQUINOX's branded class "Whipped!" Watch the heavy ropes in action during a Whipped! workout here.
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What exactly is a ViPR? This hollow rubber tube with strategically placed hand grips is being used by personal trainers and in group fitness classes across the country, thanks to its versatility and functionality. Closer in design than dumbbells to something you may actually need to lift, throw, or shift (like say, your suitcase), ViPR workouts challenge your entire body as one complete unit.
Rachel Buschert, an EQUINOX instructor who uses the tool with clients and students says, I look at it like a body bar, treadmill, Kettlebell, and medicine ball put together in one beautiful rubber tube that, with some creativity and hard work, can transform your body. Watch a ViPR workout in action here.
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Named after the Ancient Greek word for movement, Kinesis is a piece of resistance cable exercise equipment that allows for a wide range of movement and a huge variety of exercise patterns. The Kinesis wall is a four-station circuit found in gyms and health spas, or you can use the single tower version for a total-body strength and cardio workout at your gym or at home.
Kinesis is a fantastic workout because it can combine cardio, strength, and flexibility training into a workout as short as 30 minutes. The cables 360-degree range of motion makes it an extremely versatile workout that can be customized for anyone from a beginner to a professional athlete, says Angela Gerken, a Wellness Manager for Canyon Ranch, which offers Kinesis classes at many of its locations across the U.S. Visit www.technogym.com to locate a Kinesis near you or to learn more aboutt the Kinesis home edition.
Watch a kinesis workout in action here.
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High-intensity interval training (HIIT) describes any workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of less-intense activity or even complete rest. One of major benefits is that you'll see results much faster (one study found HIIT to burn three times more fat than steady state aerobic exercise). You'll also spend less time sweating in the gym. Research shows that an interval training session of 10 one-minute sprints followed by one minute of rest performed three times a week is enough produce rapid results.
You can start incorporating HIIT into your workouts today! Simply add in a one minute period of high intensity, follow it up with one minute at an easier pace, and repeat that pattern 10 times in total. It works for any type of cardio workout—on a treadmill, during an outdoor jog, on a bike, etc.
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High-step training refers to using a step bench with 3-4 (or more) risers under it to boost your burn (note: this is NOT recommended for traditional step classes).
"High-step training can add major benefits to your current routine, says Stephanie Vitorino, a fitness expert and creator of best-selling VBody DVD Series. It maximizes your time by adding intensity to every exercise. Not to mention, it's the ultimate way to shape your butt and legs since your range of motion on every stepup is higher, really targeting your glutes! Use it to update your strength routine or for cardio drills (at a slower tempo with athletic-based movements) and you will definitely feel the burn!
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Another great workout tool you may not be using yet? Sandbags!
"I like sandbag training because the weight/resistance you are working with is flexible and soft, unlike barbells and other weights or dumbbells," says Cari Shoemate, a certified personal trainer and owner of Cari-Fit in Houston, Texas.
They are more comfortable to rest on your back for squats and lunges, and it's also easy to place on your spine for weighted planks. Sandbag training also gets your heartrate up if you use if for things like burpees or hold onto it during plyometric jumps or stair-climbing.
You can even use it for your abs, suggests Shoemate. Use it for long lever crunches (hold the bag overhead) or rest it on your legs to make leg raises and reverse crunches harder (it won't roll off!). To try it for yourself, Shoemate recommends starting with a 10-pound bag. If you're already an advanced exerciser, you can try a 20 (or more) pound bag. Purchase your own from UltimateSandbagTraining.com, or buy a bag at your local hardware store, Shoemate says.
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While you may not think of it as a workout, meditation is an often overlooked but very important part of a fitness routine. Many studies are even showing a connection between the mindfulness that meditation creates and weight loss.
Think of your brain as a muscle, says Jennifer Galardi, a health and fitness expert in New York City. It needs to be trained (just like your abs) to be centered and focused. If you can quiet the mind, you can tune into a universal intelligence that is always present, which will help you assess what it is your body is really needing: a yoga class or a kick-butt cardio session? Pilates or Plyometrics? Or, you may actually need a day of rest.
By learning how to be present with meditation, you can make your workouts even more effective, Galardi says. And don't worry, meditation doesn't have to mean just sitting still. If you like running on the treadmill, focus on listening to the sound of your breath as you inhale and exhale. For more tips on getting started with meditation, check out this helpful beginner's guide.