Are you bored of Crossfit and have had your fill of HIIT? Yoga got you feeling ho-hum? Here are some quirky, weird new workouts to try in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
The child of pilates and boxing, this high-cardio workout involves boxing, punching and overall body lengthening. When founder Viveca Jensen, a Swedish dancer and celebrity trainer, launched the fusion fitness class, she wanted to create something that toned the arms while incorporating overall sculpting. This resulted in weighted gloves and high energy. Pilates is incorporated, but the vibe is more Zumba meets boxing. You’ll spend most of your time standing and there’s a huge emphasis on dance.
In the UAE, Piloxing has just rolled out at Fitness First. The class is designed for mixed levels.
Forget air guitar. Now there’s air drums — and it’s a whole lot more intense than its stringed cousin. Poundfit, a full-body workout, mixes together yoga, pilates, strength, conditioning and cardio to create one beast of a fitness routine. You will use drumsticks to pound a beat as you move, pulse and sweat. Thanks to the team spirit of the drum music, the workout is incredibly motivating. It’s also handy for all fitness levels, as you can modify moves as you go along.
In Dubai, Poundfit is hosted at NRG Fitness at various times throughout the year. GFX also offers it.
Part yoga, part return to nature, this full body workout involves moving through animal-inspired poses until everything burns. You will spend most your time on hands and knees, shifting like an animal would. Fans of animal flow, which is a recent UAE import from America, note that it can increase mobility, balance, strength and endurance. As it’s a tougher workout, it suits people who are active already.
In Dubai, Train SF offers animal flow sessions. Fitness First does as well. And for personal trainers who want to become experts in this trendy workout, MeFitPro offer instructor sessions.
For those moments when regular spin classes just won’t do, Fairmont The Palm has an answer: aquaspin. This cycling workout involves loads of spinning bikes in the hotel’s palm-shaded pool. Throughout the workout, you’ll spin, sprint, dip and push-up, all using the bike and the water’s resistance. Co-founder Alicia Antonuccio says it burns around 800 calories per session. As an added bonus, the buoyancy of the water helps protect joints, making it handy for folks working through injuries.
Workouts are held at different times throughout the week at Fairmont The Palm.
Inspired by kangaroo jumps, Kangoo is a weird cardio workout where you strap special boots onto your feet and get bouncing. If it sounds quirky, it is — but the cardio session has a huge cult following. You will jump, kick, squat and run with 2.5kg bouncing boots. The result, proponents note, is an epic 1,000 calories burnt per session. There are even pilates-based elements where you lift and pulse with the boots as weighted resistance.
In Abu Dhabi, Kangoo can be found at Tone Fitness, or check out KangooClubME for UAE listings.
Electrical stimulation is the key to this unusual workout. After changing into a special kit, you’re splashed with water and assisted into a workout suit hooked to a machine. Over 30 minutes, the machine sends currents to your body, automatically stimulating muscles as you move through different positions. “It offers an extra level of performance training due to its ability to work all the muscles in the body and to activate deeper muscles that are not recruited in conventional training,” says James Goodman, Pulse Fitness general manager. “The EMS full-body workout activates over 90 percent of muscle fibers at the same time,” he adds.
The sensation is strange (imagine being tickled or poked while doing a squat) but it does target those deeper muscles. In the UAE, Pulse Fitness is located in JLT, Uptown Mirdif and Jumeirah 1.
Trampolines and cardio go together like avocado and everything — so it’s no surprise that Bounce Fit works so well. This intense trampoline workout, offered at Bounce in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, involves hopping, jumping, shuffling and planking your way through an intense one-hour session. The entire thing is high intensity but low impact, and energetic instructors keep time flying by. You’ll be drenched in sweat by the end.
Workouts can be found at Bounce across the UAE.
Super SUP Fit
If you’ve ever got to that fifth burpee and thought things aren’t quite hard enough, this is the class for you. Super SUP Fit involves doing a mix of yoga, pilates and HIIT on floating boards sitting on the water.
The weird workout was founded by Sophie Malpass, a UAE dancer and pilates instructor. Every move, she notes, is about stabilizing yourself and activating your core. If you let the focus drop, you’ll rock off the side of the floatie. “Falling in is encouraged and expected,” says Malpass. That’s part of the joy. Overall the vibe is fun, the settings often lux (think posh beach clubs), and the burn real.
Take an interval cardio routine, add in a trampoline then throw in some dance move. The result is Jump Fit Dubai, a mini-trampoline cardio class launched by UAE resident Jennifer Chalouhi. “It will get your heart rate up and burn tons of calories,” she notes. Thanks to the springiness of the trampoline, there’s also reduced pressure on the joints. The class also works arms and abs, all while hopping on the trampoline to choreographed songs.
Workouts are held throughout the week at The Lakes.
Featured photo: Super SUP Fit
Danae Mercer is a freelance health and travel journalist and globally recognized influencer and leader in the body acceptance movement.