Exercise Class Types And What’s Best For You

exerciseclassBoxing (aka Executive Boxing, Boxerobics, Boxercise, Aerobox): Expect an abbreviated version of what an amateur or pro boxer would normally be put through, minus the contact. The first half of the class typically focuses on standard exercises from the sweet science, switching from skipping rope to push-ups to a few ab exercises (sometimes involving a medicine ball). The second half is more hands-on, hands-up. You’ll throw all the basic punches with either hand (jab, cross, hook and uppercut), then combinations of each to up the intensity. Some classes utilize shadowboxing; others feature bag work and focus mitts (baseball-like gloves without pockets). Most, however, keep the punches in the air and off any live opponent.

Pros:

* Best at isolating and defining upper-body muscles

* Alleviates stress

* Twisting action from punching hits the love handles harder than normal

* Requires concentration to learn combinations and hand positioning

Cons:

* Lower body is largely ignored

* May aggravate lower-back problems due to torso rotation during punching

* Abundance of unqualified boxing instructors can lead to injury

* Requires concentration to]earn combinations and hand positioning

Expense factor:

* Gloves ($50 to $80): Trust us, you don’t want to stick your paws into a sweaty pair of boxing gloves.

* Handwraps ($3 to $5): These protect all the small bones in your hands and wrists.

Babe factor: 40 percent

Calories burned per class: 500

Kickboxing (aka kickbox aerobics, Karobics, tae bo): Expect the four basic punches from boxing in addition to at least three martial arts kicks: the front kick, side kick and roundhouse kick. Don’t worry if you can’t get your leg above your ass. There are no spinning wheel-kicks required, although some classes do use air shields and focus mitts so you can make some contact.

In between all the martial madness are push-ups, sit-ups and body-weight lunges. However, if you’re looking for a belt, you’ve come to the wrong place. Although these classes are sometimes taught by real instructors, the sessions are aimed at the fit-conscious, not the fighting-inclined.

Pros:

* Develops and improves balance

* Enhances coordination between upper and lower body

* Kicking is a much more masculine way to tighten glutes than Butt Blaster

* Punches, kicks and body-weight exercises provide comprehensive workout

Cons:

* Improper instruction can lead to serious injuries, including groin tears, knee strains and dislocated digits

* Requires even more concentration than boxing

* Because workload usually favors kicking, upper-body tone may not develop as well as with boxing

Expense factor:

* Gloves ($50 to $80)

* Handwraps ($3 to $5)

Babe factor: 50 percent

Calories burned per class: 700

Indoor cycling (aka RoadRacers, Spinning): Expect anywhere from a dozen to three dozen bikes, all facing an instructor who’s miked for sound and screaming like a cat !in season. From there, you’ll be commanded to speed up, slow down, crank up the resistance and sometimes get up out of your seat as you pedal your way to hell. Some overzealous teachers even go so far as to turn the lights out and ride by candlelight for the full Dante-esque effect.

Pros:

* Sturdier than regular stationary bicycles, allowing you to shift your body so you can work your legs from both sides

* A no-brainer activity – just pedal

* Gives you control over your workout – you can cruise or turn it up a notch

* Hits the inner and outer thighs and glutes

Cons:

* Exclusively a lower-body workout

* Stationary exercise will drive hyperkinetic guys crazy

* Sweat runs like a river

Expense factor:

These three items aren’t necessary to take the class, but they can make a huge difference in eliminating any unnecessary discomfort.

* Gel seatpad ($20 to 25)

* Cycling shorts ($30 to 40)

* Cycling shoes ($65 to $100)

Babe factor: 65 percent

Calories burned per class: 350 to 600

Boot-camp training: Expect a cross between seventh-grade gym class and the public’s perception of what happens behind the barbed wire of a military installation. Running around the room single file and “getting down and giving 10” are standard drills, but you’ll also be expected to jump rope and do squats, lunges and a jumping jack or two. Some instructors use music for motivation while others rely on their best Patton impression, but whichever ear candy you listen to, you’ll be treated to a high-intensity workout that won’t leave you time to watch the clock.

Pros:

* Simultaneous muscle conditioning and cardio work are perfect for the guy looking to lose weight without sacrificing too much size

* Easy-to-follow exercise routines

Cons:

* Frenzied military instruction can get annoying

Expense factor: None

Babe factor: 65 percent

Calories burned per class: 300 to 500

Power yoga: Expect a series of yoga poses strung together by a few transitional moves that create one long sequence. Once you twist into each pose, prepare to hold that position anywhere from 15 seconds up to three or four minutes. Some moves are relaxing while others will challenge your sense of coordination and muscle strength beyond what you would expect from an activity with a passive rep. Some instructors preach yoga’s spiritual benefits more than others, but what’s undeniable is that the class strengthens and stretches your muscles simultaneously, giving you a two-for-one workout.

Pros:

* Great for passively building flexibility and a certain degree of strength in anyone prone to injury

* Body-weight-resistance poses develop strength without placing undue stress on joints and tendons

* Improves flexibility in areas that are largely ignored, which could help prevent future injuries

* Works secondary muscles that don’t normally see much action during a weight-training session

Cons:

* Slow pace may have you dock-watching

* Combination moves make it hard to isolate specific problem areas

* Not as efficient a calorie-burner as other classes

Expense factor: None, unless you’re duped into buying relaxation tapes or incense

Babe factor: 70 percent

Calories burned per class: 200 to 300

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  1. Paulie

    Today

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