We are firm believers that getting fit with friends makes active living a fun and social habit that you’re more likely to stick with in the long run. We also know that it’s easy for friends to get stuck in workout ruts and lose the motivating power you have over one another. Group classes are a great way to combat this potential exercise fatigue for how they introduce you to new people, switch up your sweat routine and keep your muscles confused (this helps build balanced strength and results). Accordingly, we’ve compiled a list of four unconventional group classes that are sure to pique your friend’s interests and perhaps reveal your next workout obsession, or convince a reluctant friend to start sweating along side you! If all else fails, trying these classes will at least give you some good stories to laugh about…
Acro Yoga – The whole premise of acro yoga is partnership. In any class, you’ll be instructed to combine yoga poses from more traditional practice with partner weight and balance work. We like acro yoga because it is a great workout that deeply engages a diversity of muscle groups and is sure to elevate your heartrate. Those movements are also sure to bring you in very close proximity to your partner (i.e. lots of touching). As such, going with a buddy may make you feel more at ease when the instructor casually instructs you to balance your entire body weight on your partner. If the first class feels a little odd, stick with it! Once you get familiar with some acro yoga postures, you and your buddies can have a session anywhere you are together! I’ve seen friends do it in parks and heard of a very active facebook group that helps people meet up in airports to do acro yoga while waiting for takeoff.
Rowing – Working out on “erg” rowing machines is a highly effective form of intense cardio and full body strength work. The synchronized combination of exploding backwards and gliding forwards can burn as many calories as running, but is much easier on your joints. Note that it does take some practice and good instruction to master proper form and develop a good cadence, and that it your learning period may be longer than normal because unlike biking or running, rowing is a whole new world for most of us. Going with a friend helps overcome some of these beginner hurdles because you can sit on ergs next to one another, receive guidance from the instructor as a pair, and help each other with rhythm.
Boxing – A classic boxing class requires hand wraps, padded gloves and a gym replete with punching bags and another person to practice with. It is definitely not a kickboxing class and in my experience, classes are generally an even mix of male or female, or slightly more male. At any good boxing gym, you can expect to begin class with some rapid calisthenics drills to get your blood pumping and muscles warm. You’ll then don your padded gloves and get to work on punching combinations carried out on a weighted bag hanging from the ceiling, or on the gloves of your partner. You’ll be happy to attend with a friend because a lot of the drills are done in pairs and it can be awkward to punch at someone you don’t know, or whose experience is wildly different than yours.
Pole Dancing – You have to be brave to try one of these classes in the first case, and not because they are risqué, but because pole dancing requires a TON of core, upper and lower body strength! Aside from the physical demands of hoisting yourself up onto a slippery pole, it can be a little daunting to walk into your first pole dancing class if you’re assuming it’ll be a raunchy hour. The key to really enjoying yourself and getting good at this dance form is letting loose! The more relaxed you are, the more nimbly your body will be able to wrap and spin around the pole and catch the beat of the music. Recruit a friend to join you and you’ll have a partner in crime to laugh with, roll eyes with, and someone to encourage you to try a crazy move.
Images courtesy Andrea Posadas for HonestlyFIT, Bodyism, Popsugar, and Reebok