20 ways to a full-body workout
Marie Crowe reports on the many-faceted ways available to get yourself in shape.
For those who’ve never seen a kettlebell, the best way to describe it is a bowling ball with a handle. Predominantly it’s a strength and conditioning workout. Slow, heavy movements work on the strength part while explosive reps cover conditioning.
The dynamic movements get the heart rate up and are actually a lot of fun. Classes can facilitate a variety of different levels as the kettlebells range from 8kg up to 48kg. There are plenty of moves to learn like cleans, swings and snatches, but after a class or two they become second nature. Therefore, if you purchase your own kettlebell, you can do the workout anywhere, anytime.
Most people have heard the horror stories about spinning: how physically tough it is, how sore it is on the rear and how the instructors can be like military commanders. However, the reality is that what happens in the class is technically easily but aerobically challenging. Participants sit on stationary bikes, and for an average of 45 minutes follow the instructions of the trainer who is also on a bike.
The class is done to music — banging beats usually — and it’s all about fitness and endurance. The workout includes a warm-up, a cool-down and several different phases in between such as simulated climbs, sprints, steady pedalling and even jumping off the bike to do a few squats.
Throughout the session you control your own resistance, similar to the gears on a bike, but like all classes, the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.
There are two types of bootcamps, indoors and outdoors, and while Kim Kardashian is single-handedly making the indoor option popular in America, here we are more taken with the outdoor camp. It’s a workout based on military-style fitness techniques, and in some centres is done by real military instructors. Sessions incorporate circuits, running and games with motivation and instructor interaction playing a key part.
The general concept is to get fit and stay fit with a little variety thrown in. The interaction makes it social, so if you crave a workout buddy or extra encouragement, then bootcamp is the place to be.
4 BODY PUMP
This class can alter the shape of your body through a mixture of aerobic exercise and weights, all done to music.
The focus is on low weight loads and high repetition movements; you'll burn fat, gain strength and quickly produce lean body muscle — in other words you won’t bulk up. All the major muscle groups are targeted, so if you haven’t used weights in your training before, prepare to ache a little.
5 CIRCUIT TRAINING
You’ll never be bored if you give circuit training a go, but you may be left feeling a bit exhausted because it’s an intense workout.
The session involves an average of seven or eight exercises with each exercise performed repeatedly. They usually include sit-ups, burpees, shuttle runs, squats, press-ups and sit-ups. How many reps are done and how long a break you get between each exercise is at the discretion of the instructor.
One thing that’s for sure is that you’ll get an all-over body workout, but be warned — it may hurt.
With the Olympics still fresh in people’s minds, boxercise has taken on a life of its own. Wanting to emulate our heroes is common, so all the wannabe Katie Taylors and Darren O’Neills take note — you can get the body and co-ordination of an Olympic boxer without taking the hits.
Ultimately the class is fitness based, but it incorporates the boxing moves and techniques.
It’s done to music and mostly conditions the upper body, abs, arms, chest and shoulders. It entails punching pads and speed balls as well as some circuit exercises too. And punching the pads can help let off steam.
You can’t read a celebrity interview these days without coming across a mention of Pilates, complete with a gushing endorsement. Miley Cyrus, Sandra Bullock, Reese Witherspoon — basically anyone worth their weight in dollar bills in Tinseltown — is doing it.
The theory is that if you practise the moves regularly enough, then you will become a longer, leaner and more toned version of yourself. Admittedly, that doesn’t sound too bad. It’s all about strengthening the body’s core and posture and this is done on a mat through a series of stretching and conditioning exercises.
According to Zumba enthusiasts, this class allows its participants to “party into shape”. It’s a Latininspired, calorie-burning dance fitness class that is a whole lot of fun.
The workout incorporates several different dance techniques including samba, salsa and mambo and throws in some martial arts for good measure. It uses the principles of resistance training and fitness interval training to increase caloric output along with all-body toning. It’s a highly energetic class that gets the pulses racing, but realistically it’s not for those with two left feet.
This is basically aerobics in the water, and while it’s nice to work out in a different environment to the gym or studio, exercising in the water has many benefits other than just providing a change of scenery.
It allows for toning and conditioning without much impact and also can prevent the body from overheating. It’s a fitness-orientated class which aims to maintain stamina, strength, and suppleness.
It uses the water as resistance for exercises that normally are done on land, such as jogging, squats or jumping jacks. Water Zumba is also starting to take off, so take note.
It’s one of the most popular methods of training for elite athletes and professional sports people. It’s all about strength and conditioning.
There is huge variety in the training itself: it combines several different types of exercises such as weightlifting, kettlebells, box jumps and pull-up bars, as well as plenty of improvisation (giant tyres are often dragged by the participants). If you take away the warm-up and cool-down, the workouts are generally short but extremely intense.
The classes can be very competitive and more often than not completed against the clock. It’s a serious session.
11 POLE FITNESS
Although men aren’t exempt, it’s probably best to leave this one to the ladies. The class is a fun way to get fit and can be done with friends. Along with toning, burning calories and increasing flexibility, it also aims to increase self-confidence and body awareness.
It combines dancing and gymnastics and incorporates a vertical pole into the moves. Although it sounds adventurous, there are plenty of beginner moves to get people started.
12 BIKRAM YOGA
One look at Jennifer Aniston’s toned physique would make any person want to hightail it to their nearest yoga studio. But for those who want to try to get their perfect body as quick as possible, then Bikram yoga could be just for you. For maximum effect, the sessions are done in 40C heat with 40pc humidity. They run for exactly 90 minutes and consist of a set series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises.
You’ll improve flexibility, tone up and de-stress. But be prepared; you’ll sweat like never before, so the less you wear the better.
13 FIT BALL
Consistently doing the same workout may get repetitive and boring, so signing up for a class like fit ball can be a welcome change.
This training is done with a big inflated exercise ball. The unstable base encourages use of the core and abdominal muscles. While most of the class is spent sitting or lying on the ball, at certain times it is lifted up and weights are introduced.
14 EVO FITNESS
This is one for those who don’t have much time to spend in the gym. The idea is that short, intense training is better than long, sometimes fruitless, sessions in the gym. So three to four 20-minute sessions are completed a week. A trainer will put you through your paces, working on building muscle and lean tissue and, in turn, toning the body. It’s all weights, no cardio, and ultimately no excuses.
15 BODY COMBAT
For those who want a martial arts workout minus the contact, then look no further. It incorporates different martial arts disciplines, including karate, taekwondo and tai chi, and mixes them with cardio. The instructor will teach participants all the moves at the start of the class and then the work begins: toning, burning calories and improving co-ordination.
16 KRAV MAGA
Angelina Jolie practised it for her super-spy thriller Salt, so it didn’t take the fitness world long to become obsessed with krav maga. It’s a practical and tactical system that teaches participants how to prevent and overcome all kinds of violence and attacks.
It’s a good cardio workout that incorporates self-defence. Striking, kicking and shielding moves all form part of the routine.
This craze is hard to miss. Participants can be seen running, climbing, leaping, rolling and more. The training focuses on overcoming obstacles while moving from point A to B in the fastest and most efficient way possible. Participants improve functional strength, physical conditioning and spatial awareness.
18 BUMS,TUMS AND THIGHS
When women are asked about their body hang ups, the majority will say one of the three: bum, tum or thighs. They are the problem areas for most females who have left their teenage years behind. Having a class that targets those areas specifically as well as being good for general fitness is a clever way to get the most out of a workout.
The class itself is a full-body aerobic exercise, which helps to tone the problem areas with moves like squats and crunches.
19 MIXED MARTIAL ARTS
We don’t have to look too far from home to find inspiration for MMA. Kildare senior football manager Kieran McGeeney is a regular participant and has his players doing it to vary their training.
It’s full contact and involves a combination of boxing, jiu-jitsu and plenty more. The training incorporates strength training and cardio and should improve stamina, flexibility and coordination. It’s one of the latest crazes. Although it sounds intimidating, don’t be put off — there are plenty of beginners’ classes. MMADUBLIN.COM
It was one of the first fitness class crazes to sweep the world, and, for many people, it triggers memories of big hair and neon cycling shorts.
But although it’s been around for a long time, it doesn’t make it any less effective. It still burns calories, increases fitness levels and tones the body just like it always did. The class is set to music and is instructor led. It includes exercises such as lunges, jumps and crunches as well as some intermittent jogging.
Bambi Northwood-Blyth wearing a range of outfits by Work Out Life (workoutlife.com)
This article originally appeared in Fit magazine.