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unique nyc fitness classes

Get a Wild Workout at These Unique NYC Fitness Classes

By / August 1, 2018

It seems like everyone in New York City has a Soulcycle membership and signs up for a 5k every now and then. But what if you could get a workout by jousting with your best friend, climbing over walls in Chelsea, or doing some yoga in the middle of the Hudson River?

When your normal workout routine gets a little stale, try out one of these unique exercise classes in NYC.

Train to run away to the circus

Aerial Arts NYC wants to bring out your inner contortionist, even if you’ve never tried circus arts before. Available for any skill level, these aerial fitness classes let you twist, stretch, balance, and hang from silks, all while suspending yourself multiple feet off the ground.

Afraid of heights? Try out one of their classes on perfecting handstands, twirling hula hoops, or practicing partner acrobatics with a date. You’ll be ready for the circus, even if you don’t actually want to quit your day job.

Take a dance class away from the barre

Ballet-inspired dance classes are known to tone long, lean muscles, but why not try something a little less stationary?

Diva Dance teaches peppy, sexy routines to songs by artists like Cardi B, Beyonce, and Ariana Grande. Bollywood Funk blends contemporary dance styles with Bollywood vibes, all set to Hindi pop music and culminating with a final performance you can invite your friends to see. And Cumbe, the center for African and Diaspora dance, hosts classes featuring dances from all over Africa, many of which are backed by live musicians.

Best of all? Unlike a lot of dance spaces in this city, these studios are all able to accommodate super beginners, so you don’t have to worry about being miles behind your professional dancer classmates.

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Find a weird yoga class

There are about a million fabulous yoga studios in NYC, and a few of those host some seriously cool themed classes. We’ve got trendy faves like cat yoga, where your Downward Dog occurs around friendly felines, but there are also some more unusual classes, too. Think naked yoga that’s practiced entirely nude, paddleboard yoga balanced in the middle of the Hudson River, and metal yoga where you’re welcome to scream along with the music.

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Practice some sword fighting

From fencing to Kendo, mental focus meets physical conditioning at the Harlem-based Sword Class NYC. These classes aren’t for people who just want to throw around some blades: they’re real courses meant to train you in these classic art forms.

But if you’re looking for something extra extreme, check out their Armored Combat League, where you’ll compete against your classmates in heavy metal armor. Next time someone harasses you on the street, feel confident knowing you could totally kick their butt, even in chainmail.

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Take a dip at aqua cycling

Strap on your swim gear and hop on a bike at Aqua Studio in Tribeca, where your spin class meets in four feet of cool salt water surrounded by calmly flickering candles. With various classes meant to impact different parts of your body, it’s a unique experience that feels like your mom’s water aerobics class, if your mom was tres chic and worked out in Downtown Manhattan.

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Fall on purpose at a parkour class

Remember when everyone was talking about parkour and leaping over cars in parking lots for no reason? Turns out it’s actually really fun, and a great way to build strength and agility. The weekend parkour classes at Chelsea Piers‘ gymnastics facility aim to teach you the basic movements behind parkour, all backed by the safety of foam pits and spring floors.

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Jump on a trampoline

Backyard trampolines are a rare sight in the city, but trampoLEAN has a bunch of tiny ones right in Midtown, meant to give you a fun, low-impact cardio workout. They’re not just for straight bouncing, either. These classes combine trampoline jumping with hand weights, elastic bands, barre techniques, and even glow sticks. From pop music soundtracks to pep rally-style workouts, there’s a rebounding class for everyone — as long as you want your workout to literally keep you on your toes.

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Quinne Myers is a writer, illustrator, apparel designer, and lingerie industry pundit living in Brooklyn. Loves sweaty concert dancing, eating dessert, feeling feelings, and petting every dog.

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