(This post contains affiliate links. Please read our Disclosure Policy for additional information.)
Exercise is important. Our bodies need to move and burn calories for optimal health. However, running on the treadmill, or taking the same classes over and over can get boring. Here is an exercise classes A to Z guide of the different types of classes out there. Unfortunately, some of these classes are gym specific. However, many of these workouts are also available for purchase on DVD or even free on YouTube. Get out there and mix up your exercise routine!
*Note: By all means, this is guide does not include EVERY exercise class out there. New ones are being introduced all the time. Please check with gyms and websites for specific details.
20-20-20 – A combination class that typically includes 20 minutes of cardio, 2o minutes of strength and 20 minutes of core work.
AcroYoga – a practice that combines acrobatics, yoga and healing arts.
African Dance – Explore and learn the movements of traditional African dances. Most of these high-energy classes are held at dance studios and accompanied by live music on traditional instruments. Workouts are available on DVD.
Animal Flow – An exercise routine that, “includes a wide range of exercises and movement combinations that are grouped into six components, each designed to elicit specific results.” The components can be mixed and matched to your workouts. These workouts are available through the website or at select Equinox gyms.
Aqua Bootcamp – A total-body aerobic workout that takes place in the pool for a different environment and full-body resistance. Classes are held at select gyms.
Aqua Yoga – A yoga class that takes place in a pool. Classes available at select gyms.
Aqua Zumba – Combines, “the Zumba philosophy with water resistance.
Ashtanga Yoga – A yoga practice that performs the same poses in the exact same order. This is a physically demanding form of yoga. Classes are held in studios throughout the country. DVDs are available for at-home practice.
Ballroom Dance – These are partner dances of different styles including waltz, tango, Cha-Cha, Jive, Rumba and more. These classes are often taught at dance studios. Many DVDs are available for purchase online.
Barre – Exercise class that, “uses a combination of postures inspired by ballet and other disciplines like yoga and pilates.” The barre is used as a prop to assist in balancing. Classes are offered at most gyms and barre and studios.
Belly Dancing – Belly dancing is an Arabic expressive dance that emphasizes movement of the torso. There are traditional belly dance classes available as well as belly dancing fitness classes. DVDs are also available if you want to practice this in the privacy of your home!
Bikram Yoga – A sequence of 26 postures and two breathing techniques that are completed in a 90-minute session. This is also known as “hot” yoga, as it is done in a 105 degree F room where you will sweat and detoxify.
bodyART – This exercise program is, “based on the five elements of Chinese medicine and regards the person as a unity of body, mind and soul.” Exercises work on flexibility, strength and balance. Classes are held at Equinox Clubs and select gyms.
BODYATTACK – A 55-minute Les Mills, “sports-inspired cardio workout for building strength and stamina.” The class combines athletic aerobic movements with strength and stabilization exercises.
BODYPUMP – A Les Mills barbell workout class. It uses light to moderate weights with high repetition movements. Available as 55, 45 or 30-minute workouts.
Bokwa – In this class, participants, “draw letters and numbers with their feet while performing an energizing and addictive cardio workout routine.” Classes are held in gyms throughout the country or a 3 pack DVD set is available for purchase online.
BodyBlade – Using a BodyBlade with rapid contraction technology, you increase strength, balance and coordination. The more you flex, the more resistance you get. Classes are available at select gyms or via DVD for purchase. The Classic Kit includes the BodyBlade, a DVD and exercise wall chart and is available for purchase online.
BollyX – A 50-minute Bollywood-inspired dance-fitness program inspired by the music and dance of Bollywood.
Bootcamp – These classes vary but generally include a mix of strength training and aerobic elements. Many DVDs are available for purchase online.
BOSU – An acronym for “BOth Sides Utilized,” this piece of equipment is a balance trainer that helps you work on balance, stability, strengthening the core and more. DVDs and BOSU trainers are available for purchase online.
Burn – A cross-training class offered at NYSC uses intervals of strength and cardio training to burn calories. Focuses on flexibility, stability and regeneration.
Capoeira – A martial art that, “combines elements of fight, acrobatics, music, dance and rituals in a very elegant and magnetic way.” DVDs are available for purchase online.
Cardio Sports Training – A high-energy cardio class offered at NYSC that uses the training techniques of professional athletes. The 60 minute class uses sports specific drills and equipment like agility ladders, cones and jump ropes.
Crossfit – A fitness regimen of, “constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity.” Driven by data, scoreboards are used to keep records of performance. There are thousands of Crossfit gyms, aka “boxes” worldwide.
CXWORX – A 30-minute Les Mills workout that focuses on exercising muscles around the core.
Drums Alive – A high-energy workout that combines, ‘traditional exercise, a stability ball, and drum sticks.” Classes are 30-45 minutes and are a combination of aerobic dance with the rhythm of drums.
Fight-Do – A fitness class that, “combines boxing and martial arts.” It uses punches, kicks, blocks and sometimes a jump rope.
Forza – This is also known as Samurai Sword training and combines two Japanese sword-fighting techniques, Kendo and Aikijujitsu. This class is only available at select Equinox gyms, but a DVD and samurai training bokken is available to purchase online.
Grit – A 30-minute LES MILLS HIIT workout available in 3 different focuses (Strength, Plyo or Cardio). Uses a variety of equipment including barbells and plates. Classes are available at gyms throughout the country.
Hard Knocks – A kickboxing cardio workout set to hip hop music. This is a 45 minute class at Crunch Fitness.
HighX – Created by Gabrielle Reece, this is a, “high intensity explosive training and conditioning program designed to maximize the body’s ability to burn fat, build muscle and optimize the body’s hormone and physiological response to exercise.” Classes are available at select 24 Hour Fitness gyms.
HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts involve short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by a short recovery period. Many exercise classes incorporate HIIT. Many DVDs are available for purchase online.
Hip Hop Yoga – A Vinyasa yoga class set to hip hop music that brings a different, more upbeat energy than traditional yoga. Held in select studios throughout the country.
Hula Hooping – Some classes use a regular hula hoop, others use a weighted one for an energetic workout. Classes are at select studios throughout the country. Weighted hoops and DVDS are available online for purchase.
Indoor Cycling – Also better known as Spinning, this is 30-75 minute class. The intensity of the classes vary depending on the different body positions, pedal speeds and resistance used. Regular indoor cycling riders may wear special sneakers that can clip into the pedals.
Insanity – Insanity is part of the Beachbody program that is offered as a class in some gyms. This is a workout based on “max interval training” that provides HIIT with short rests in between. No equipment is used, just your body weight for resistance. The Insanity Base Kit DVD workout program is available online for purchase.
Jump – An exercise class that uses mini-trampolines that maximizes the benefits of rebounding. Rebounder trampolines and DVDs are available for purchase online.
K Kardio – This is a 60-minute cardio dance class set to K-Pop (Korean Pop music).
Kangaroo Jumps – These are specially designed rebound shoes that you wear during the workout. Jumping fitness classes are somewhat limited, but free exercise videos are available online.
Kettlebell – Using a kettlebell you will work muscular and cardiovascular systems with dynamic, total body movements. DVDs and kettlebells are available for purchase online.
Kickboxing – An exercise class that combines the punches of boxing with the kicks of karate. This is a class held at many gyms across the country, sometimes called Cardio Kickboxing. Many DVDs are available for purchase online.
Ki max – This utilizes a free-standing kickboxing bag and special gloves. Techniques include boxing, Muay Thai and kickboxing. Classes are either 45 or 55 minutes.
Line Dancing – This is a choreographed dance class with repeated steps and sequences. People dance in one or more rows of lines to country western music. Many DVDS are available for purchase online.
Lyra – This class uses a suspended aerial hoop in which you twist, turn and wind your way through. The class is offered at select Crunch Gyms as well as private aerial and acrobatic studios.
Metabolic Training – A high-intensity class that uses exercises that work many muscle groups. The goal is to maximize calorie burn and increase metabolic rate during and after the workout.
Muay Thai – Thai boxing, known as, “the art of eight limbs” because it is characterized by the combined use of fists, elbows, knees and shins. DVDs are available for purchase online.
Muscle Pump – A strength training class that works the body using free weights and bars.
Nia – A practice that combines, “dance, martial arts and mindfulness.” It tones your body while transforming your mind. These are 60 minute workouts that combine 52 simple moves. A DVD is available for purchase online.
OULA Fitness – This class, “combines the depth and soulfulness of of a mind-body practice with the carefree playfulness of a living room dance party.” The two official studios are located in Montana, but classes are offered throughout the country.
Pilates – A mind-body exercise that uses a floor mat or a variety of equipment. It builds strength and tones while improving flexibility and agility. There are all types of Pilates DVDs available.
Piloxing – A fusion of boxing and standing Pilates, creating both a physical and mental balance. DVDs and the Piloxing System is available for purchase online.
PiYo – This is part of the Beachbody program that is offered as a fitness class at many gyms. It’s a 60 minute class that combines, “the muscle-sculpting, core-firming benefits of Pilates with the strength and flexibility advantages of yoga.” The Chalene Johnson PiYo Base Kit is available for purchase online.
Pole Dancing – Uses a pole to build and strengthen the core and upper body. These classes can also be empowering and bring body confidence. Classes are held in gyms and studios throughout the country.
POP Pilates – Developed by Cassy Ho, this is a, “total body, equipment-free workout that sculpts a rock solid core and a lean dancer’s body.” Classes are held in gyms throughout the country. DVDs are available for purchase online.
POUND – Using lightly weighted drumsticks, this full-body workout, “combines cardio, conditioning and strength training with yoga and pilates-inspired movements.” The POUND system is available online for purchase.
Punk Rope – A mash-up of, “jump rope, recess, and rock ‘n’ roll.” Using a jump rope to workout you improve cardio, endurance, coordination, agility and speed. Classes are held at select gyms throughout the country.
Qi Gong – An ancient Chinese health method that includes gentle movements repeated a number of times. Some consider Qi Gong to not be exercise, but dynamic mediation. DVDs are available for purchase online.
R.I.P.P.E.D. – Resistance, Intervals, Power, Plyometrics, Endurance, Diet. A 50-minute workout that combines a cardio routine with weights and resistance. An online DVD is available.
ShockWave Workout – A circuit challenge, total-body workout that includes a specially designed WaterRower machine.
SoulCycle – SoulCycle is a 45 minute indoor cycling class held at the branded studio. This class focuses not only on the cardio ride, but also is a mind-body experience. Rides take place in candle-lit studios with one-of-a-kind playlists.
Step Aerobics – A classic cardio workout that incorporates a choreographed routine with an adjustable rectangular platform. DVDs and step platforms are available online.
Strong by Zumba – This class, “combines body weight, muscle conditioning, cardio and plyometric training moves synced to original music that has been specifically designed to match every single move.
SurfSET – This is a surf-inspired workout that takes place on a specially designed board. The 45-minute workouts, “build balance, core strength, stability, agility, aerobic conditioning, power, lean muscle & coordination.”
SWERVE Fitness – Swerve is team inspired indoor cycling. Classes are 45 minutes and are HIIT full-body workouts. Progress is tracked and team stats are posted during the class. The studios are currently based only in NYC.
Tabata – A, “HIIT workout featuring exercises that last four minutes.” You complete eight sets of each exercise, pushing yourself as hard as you can for 20 seconds and resting for 10 seconds.
Tai Chi – An ancient Chinese martial art practiced for defense training and its health benefits. It’s a mind body practice that involve certain postures and gentle movements with mental focus and breathing. DVDs are available for purchase online.
Throwback Fitness – This is actually a fitness studio that focuses on fun, “by incorporating childhood playground games into our unique and intense full-body workout classes.” Classes have a phys ed component and a recess component.
Tone House – An, “extreme athletic-based group fitness studio aimed at unleashing the inner athlete in everyone.” Sessions are team oriented and no two training programs are exactly alike. Studios are currently only located in NYC.
Trekking – An instructor-led class that has you walking/running on a treadmill and includes hills, sprints and/or power walking.
TRX – TRX is suspension training bodyweight exercise that requires the use of a TRX Suspension Trainer that leverages gravity and the user’s body weight. It uses seven basic movements and over 100 exercises to develop strength, balance, flexibility, and core stability.
U-Jam Fitness – An, “athletic urban dance fitness workout that combines dance and high energy music.” Classes are held at gyms throughout the country.
Urbhanize – A dance fitness program, “based on the urban moves from street dance and Hip Hop.”
UrbanKick – This class combines, “sports conditioning with kickboxing to give you a full body workout. Classes take place in gyms throughout the country.
Vinyasa Yoga – A style of yoga, sometimes referred to as “flow” yoga. It involves synchronizing the breath with a continuous flow of postures. DVDs are available for purchase online.
Water Cycling – Like a regular spin class, but it takes place in the water. Classes are available at select gyms.
Whipped! – A class that combines HIIT and circuit training. You visit ten separate stations and use various equipment (kettle bells, exercise balls, etc.) to complete exercises. The 45-minute class is only available at Equinox gyms.
Xtreme Ride – An indoor cycling class that includes HIIT.
Yoga – An ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice. Most unspecified yoga classes are Hatha yoga, which features a series of asanas or postures. Classes are held in gyms and studios throughout the country with many different variations (some are included in this list). Many DVDs are available for purchase online.
Yogilates – A fusion of yoga and pilates with positive effects on the mind and body. DVDs are available for purchase online.
Zumba – A mix of, “low-intensity and high-intensity moves for an interval-style, calorie-burning dance fitness party.” Many DVDs are available for purchase online.
Zumba Sentao – Using a chair as a partner, this class combines, “strength and resistance training with innovative dance moves.”
Zumba Step – Combines, “the awesome toning and strengthening power of Step aerobics, with the fun fitness-party” of Zumba. DVDs with steps are available for purchase online.
Zumba Toning – By adding resistance with Zumba Toning Sticks or light weights, this class puts extra emphasis on toning and sculpting. Online DVDs that include toning sticks are available for purchase online.
Zuu – A high intensity interval training class using primal moves in a 20 minute workout. There are over 100 unique moves that target major and minor muscle groups.
Which of these exercise classes have you tried?