6 New Fitness Trends

Everybody loves a hot trend and when it comes to fitness, trying something new can also help ward off boredom and the dreaded exercise plateau. But new trends can also be dangerous if they’re too extreme, or just plain wrong for your body.

What are the latest trends, and would they be a good fit for you? Should you try a suspension training class (TRX, Jungle Gym XT), high intensity interval training (HIIT) or fusion-style classes (Gyrotonic)? These are all emerging exercise trends, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Here's what you need to know about these programs:

Gyrotonic® and Gyrokinesis®

These programs are a little like Pilates and a little like yoga with a touch of dance, tai chi, and swimming motions tossed in. Gyrotonic workouts take place on custom-designed equipment that includes pulleys and handles, while Gyrokinesis is mat-based. Both involve sweeping, circular movements that duplicate how you move in real life; movements flow in sequences that reflect your natural range of motion and minimize joint damage.

Trapeze and Aerial Exercise

If you’ve ever dreamed of joining the circus, a trapeze workout might be for you. By using aerial silks and trapeze bars suspended from the ceiling over a padded floor, you swing and tumble your way to stronger core as well as upper and lower body fitness. Safety is key, so you’ll need a good trainer, but if you've got a sense of adventure you'll find a fun, empowering, and effective cross-training experience.

Suspension Workouts

By using custom-designed industrial straps that support your weight, suspension programs (TRX and Jungle GymXT are popular versions) provide a portable total body workout you can do at home, work, or when you’re traveling. Straps are hung over a door or bar and used to perform exercises like squats, lunges, pull-ups, push-ups and others that use your weight to increase strength and tone.


The ultimate playground workout lets you jump, swing, and leap over rails to perform bodyweight exercises that mimic your body at play. "Parkour is essentially global kids’ play, and I wish more people would do it," says Christine Rockey is a certified personal trainer and exercise science instructor at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina. "Think about when you used to run around, jump high, climb trees, swing from monkey bars—all the things most people are too protective to do nowadays." Parkour allows you to use all your muscles while having good old-fashioned fun.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT involves repeated bouts of high intensity strength and cardio activities that increase the heart rate to 80-95% of a person’s maximal heart rate, followed by recovery periods that lower it back down to 40-50%. "HIIT programs may give you the biggest bang for your buck because they pack a lot of fitness into a short period of time," Rockey notes. "They shock your body out of its comfort zone, but in a way that’s doable for most people. After a session that includes hardcore cardio and hardcore strength training interspersed with recovery periods, I can get a full workout in just half an hour. Plus, HIIT keeps you burning calories even after you’re finished and sitting on the couch."

High Altitude Training

There are lower levels of oxygen in the air at high altitudes (generally defined as 8,000-12,000 feet above sea level; Denver, at 8,1000 feet above sea level, is an example). Training in an environment that contains less oxygen than you're used to is essential for athletes who plan to perform in such a setting or want to build endurance and strength so they have the edge when they compete at lower altitude events. Training is only available at specified gyms (or high altitude locations) stocked with treadmills, rowing machines, and other athletic equipment.

How Do You Know if a Trend is Right for You?

If you're interested but wary of trying one of these programs, Rockey offers these tips:

  • Ask if the program, trainer or facility offers a trial period for free or very limited cost. That way you can check it out without wasting money. A class might be popular with all your friends, but if you hate everything about it and you don’t show up, it isn’t going to work for you.
  • Ask about program specifics, effectiveness, and injury rates from someone other than an official program representative. The owner of the new fitness boutique or an employee at the trendiest gym is obviously going to sign the workout's praises: They want you to spend your money! Find a more unbiased opinion, like a friend or fitness professional who has tried it. Consumer fitness magazines, like Shape and Men’s Fitness, can also be great resources, offering real-life, down-to-earth accounts of what people have experienced in specific fitness classes.
  • Start slowly. Going too hard, too fast with unfamiliar activities puts you at high risk for injury.

Most importantly, talk to your doctor about whether a new fitness activity is safe for you. Then, get some training and let your body be your guide.

Christine Rockey reviewed this article.


Rockey, Christine. Phone interview April 4, 2016.

"The Gyrotonic® & Gyrokinesis Methods." Gyrotonic® – The Official Website of the Gyrotonic Expansion System®. Page accessed April 19, 2016.

"ACSM Information on High-Intensity Interval Training." American College of Sports Medicine. Accessed April 4, 2016.

"2015 International Fitness Industry Trend Report." American Council on Exercise, ClubIntel, IHRSA. Accessed April 4, 2016.

"Altitude Sickness." Cleveland Clinic. Page last reviewed january 15, 2013.