Start the New Year with a shake-up to your exercise regime and try some fun fitness classes that might never have crossed your mind before. From Zumba classes to pole dancing, untraditional exercises are gaining popularity thanks to their unique approach to getting people to work up a sweat.
Here are some of Perth’s best classes to get you out and doing something other than your traditional gym session, treadmill run, or coastal walk.
Move, groove, and shake your hips to traditional Latin music at a high-energy Zumba class. They’re essentially invigorating dance-fitness parties, borrowing international zest from salsa, tango, belly, flamenco, and hip-hop dance styles. Mixing low and high-intensity moves for a high-calorie-burning experience, Zumba will test everything from your cardio to your balance, promoting weight loss and encouraging tone.
The Zumba program is quite flexible, with Aqua Zumba classes specifically for a lesser impact on the joints, Zumba Gold for active older adults, and Zumba Kids. There’s also Plate by Zumba, which educates people on healthy eating and showcases foods that promote good health.
Try a Zumba class at Beatty Park or Next Generation Kings Park. If you’re near a Goodlife Health Club, most also offer Zumba as a part of their class roster.
The Jungle Body
Similar to Zumba, The Jungle Body is a choreographed combination of dance, boxing, and weights done to beat-driven hip-hop, funk, and soul. Follow along with the energetic instructor as they twerk and groove away to the live DJ on stage. It’s as fun as ‘fun fitness classes’ get.
The Jungle Body doesn’t just focus on physical health; it also supports mental health by creating an inclusive and supportive environment for all participants. They’re all about empowering all body shapes, ages, and fitness levels.
Like Les Mills or FitPro, The Jungle Body has a suite of programs to get you up and moving. New routines and carefully curated playlists are released each month to keep the workouts fresh, and all are fun and easy to follow.
Try Konga for a high-intensity, low-complexity workout fusing dance, boxing, and cardio, or Vypa for a high-intensity interval workout with influence from kickboxing and MMA. Tyga incorporates more hip-hop and afro-based moves, while Burn is all about transformative dumbbell and resistance band workouts.
Even kids can get in on the fun with Roar classes for 7 to 12-year-olds. In true Jungle Body style, Roar combines dance, cardio, and play for a low-complexity and medium-intensity workout.
Head to The Jungle Body website to find a class near you.
Ninja Academy Perth
Live out your Australian Ninja Warrior Dreams at Perth’s premier obstacle training and mixed movement facility, Ninja Academy Perth. It’s got all the obstacles you know and love from the TV show — think the salmon ladder and curved wall — and even served as the training grounds for Ninja alumni Olivia Vivian and Australia’s first Ninja warrior, Ben Polson.
In an open session, you’re free to tailor your attempt at the course; jumping, swinging, and climbing on as few or as many obstacles as you please. It’s a welcoming environment, with plenty of opportunities to learn from others while you’re there.
If you’re not quite at ninja level, build strength to tackle the course in one of the guided classes. Classes are based on the elements, with ‘water’ enhancing body awareness and flexibility and ‘earth’ building strength, power, joint stability, and endurance. Then there is fire, which focuses on high-intensity interval training to push the body to the limits.
They’re led by founder Dave Ravi and some of Perth’s best movement coaches, who’ve all learned skills under the Ido Portal Method. As such, programming utilises a person’s body weight and movements rather than external weights and machines to help develop strength, flexibility, and agility.
Pole Dancing and Silks
It’s a beautiful art form, but many may not know that pole dancing is actually a full-body workout. As pole dancers suspend their bodies in the air and propel themselves around the pole, it hits the abs, arms, back, and shoulders hard. Bobbi’s Pole Studio runs beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes where you can learn how to turn, lift, and manoeuvre yourself around the pole.
Silks are similar to pole dancing in that the workouts primarily use the upper body to perform tricks. The art form combines pilates, dance, and acrobatics in the air, helping to develop core strength, arms, legs, and grip. However, the arms and back muscles take the brunt of the workout, having to keep you suspended in the air for long periods.
Sign up with She Moves to give it a go and, while there, try a lyra (suspended hoop) or trapeze class. For a gentle introduction to silks, get into Aerial Yoga. The closed-loop ‘sling’ is a little easier to manage than silks, allowing you to attempt more challenging moves from the get-go.
Handstanding may seem simple but nailing a clean handstand requires constant practice and a massive amount of shoulder, arm, and upper back strength to hold one.
As you’re upside down, you’re forced to stabilise your abs, inner thighs, hamstrings, and hips to remain upright. Similar to silks, it requires mental focus as small adjustments are constantly needed to avoid falling.
All this hard work comes with plenty of benefits, not just strength. While inverted, circulation to the upper body increases, pressure on the legs and feet is relieved, and the diaphragm is stretched out, which increases blood flow to the lungs.
Harry Williams, Lewis Yost, and Vaughan Thompson — some of Perth’s best hand balancers — specialise in teaching handstands at Movement Co, while owner Sam Farrell heads up the classes at Inspired Movement. They start with the fundamentals of balancing, such as wrist strengthening exercises, shoulder mobility work, and chest-to-wall endurance holds. Then, as you begin to get the hang of being upside down, more technical drills are added to get your freestanding handstand as solid as possible.
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