Sure, boutique studios are generally where the action is when it comes to group fitness.
But as classes become more popular and wildly diverse, big-box gyms are stepping up their games, too, adding in all kinds of new offerings each season for those who aren’t content toiling away on the treadmill every day.
This fall, those offerings include such cool contenders as group rowing sessions, obstacle race training, and a barre class that takes place in a hammock (really).
Check out these and a handful more, below, so you can put your back-to-work energy to good use, whether you’re already a member at one of these spots and just want to shake up your routine, or are considering joining a new one and need some inspiration. —Lisa Elaine Held
AIRbarre at Crunch
We’ve tried Floating Meditation and AntiGravity Pilates, but barre class in the air? Never. This new “aerial dance conditioning class” will have you pulsing at a ballet barre—but also getting off the ground with moves you do in silk hammocks. Maybe leg lifts don’t hurt as much without the floor involved? www.crunch.com
Obstacle Course Training at CompleteBody
CompleteBody’s CBXT studio in its swanky FiDi gym is like a functional fitness wonderland, equipped with TRX trainers, kettlebells, battle ropes, and a heart rate tracking system, so you know how hard you’re working. This fall, the gym’s using all of it to get you prepped for your next obstacle race, whether you’re about to get muddy in a Spartan or Tough Mudder challenge or are training for the popular CMC race. www.completebody.com
Row Xpo at The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers
Chelsea Piers’ massive fitness facility is getting in on the rowing craze with a new suite of small group classes called Row Xpo, launching on October 1. You can hop in a 30-minute beginner Row Xpo class to learn the ropes, then move into the next-level Row Exp interval class that intersperses exercises like box jumps and pull-ups with rowing, or take Row Xpo Endurance for longer stretches on the erg (with some bodyweight exercises off the machine). www.chelseapiers.com
Runcross at Equinox
Training for a certain very-big-deal race that’s coming up? Equinox recently launched an entire suite of classes dedicated to helping pavement pounders run faster, get stronger, and prevent injury. In addition to the treadmill class Precision Running, Runcross incorporates the important cross-training drills that runners often ignore in favor of just logging miles. www.equinox.com
RUN4IT at New York Health & Racquet
Everyone wants to get in on the “work out like an athlete” craze, and now New York Health & Racquet members can. At this small-group class led by former Olympic track and field coach Jerome Robinson, you’ll do basic sports conditioning moves like burpees, high knees, and Russian twists to build up strength and muscle endurance, plus running intervals for cardio. www.nyhrc.com
Synrgy360 at DavidBartonGym
If you’ve never seen a Synrgy360 training system, it resembles a fitness jungle gym (monkey bars included!). But instead of slides and swings, you’ll find pull-up bars and punching bags. And at DavidBartonGym’s Christopher Street location (and Westside in LA), you can play on it, circuit style, moving among 10 stations for a full-body workout. www.davidbartongym.com