Eight Unique Workouts

Washington area gyms are offering some out-of-the-ordinary classes to keep your fitness routine interesting

There are plenty of unusual fitness classes offered in Washington, if you’re tired of your regular exercise routine. Photographs courtesy of Verve Health & Fitness and Stroga

It’s often difficult to stay motivated when first venturing into a workout routine. According to the Mayo Clinic, boredom with exercising is one of the most common barriers standing in the way of wannabe-fit Americans. The solution? Go beyond free weights and treadmills and find something you enjoy: Incorporating fun and variety into your workouts could turn once-dreaded exercise into something you can look forward to. To get you started, we’ve found some of Washington’s most unique group fitness classes—from scary, to competitive, to sexy.

1. Stairs from Hell at Verve Health & Fitness
1100 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, 703-465-8100
$21 for guests; $18 for members

This class is all about legs, legs, and legs. But instead of traditional squats and lunges, you’ll meet as a group at Georgetown’s steep, muscle-working Exorcist stairs—where the actual movie was filmed—for a serious (and slightly eerie) workout. If you dare to crave more, try Stairs from Hell Part 2.

2. Masala Bhangra at Washington Sports Clubs
Area locations
$30 one-day pass for guests; Free for members

Burn calories by trying your hand—and hips—at India’s fast-paced Bhangra dance, choreographed to the beat of the dhol, a traditional drum found in the country’s Punjab region. Hip hop may be mixed in to get you more pumped up. Available at six area locations.

3. Aqua Zumba at Lifetime Fitness
Area locations
Free for members only

You’re no stranger to the ever-popular Zumba routine, but ever thought of taking the Latin moves to the pool? Lifetime did. Only available at Loudon County and Fairfax locations.

4. Strip Bar at Crunch
Area locations
$15 one-day pass for guests; Free for members

Crunch hardly settles for ordinary when it comes to group fitness (last month, we told you about AntiGravity Yoga). Now a cardio workout incorporates exotic twists, stretches, and aerobic moves around a steel body bar that’ll get your heart racing and make you sweat. Intrigued? Try Sexy Stretch to complement your newly-acquired moves.

5. Death Row at Balance Gym
Area locations
($20 for guests; Free for members)

This high-intensity class begins with a warm-up, but goes right into an advanced full-body competition on the rower. Only eight people are allowed in this class, which will split into teams of two and go head-to-head in technical rowing drills. This class isn’t for beginners—it’s a test of dedication and stamina. Only available at Balance’s Thomas Circle location.

See Also:

The Comeback of the Rollerblades

Eight Great Calorie-Burning Workouts

Battling Ropes: Fit Check

6. Joyful Hoops at Mint
1724 California St., NW, 202-328-6468; 1001 16th St., NW, 202-638-6468
($30 one-day pass for guests; Free for members)

Studies show that 30 minutes of hula-hooping can burn nearly 200 calories. This class combines the aerobic move with yoga and a bit of dance for a workout on your arms, legs, hips, and hands. Be prepared to laugh. Available at Mint’s California Street, Northwest, location only.

7. Capoeira at Stroga
1808 Adams Mill Rd., NW, 202-238-9642

Though held in the pretty L’Aiglon building, this class is anything but: It begins with full-body drills to prepare you for the Afro-Brazilian martial art, which works the arms, legs, hands, and more. At the end of class, members form a circle and sing, clap, and play traditional Brazilian instruments while two people in the center of the circle go head-to-head.

8. Jump Interval at Fuse Pilates
2008 Hillyer Pl., NW, 202-525-3767
One of the growing studio’s most popular classes alternates between cardio moves on the jumpboard, which owner Mariska Breland equates to a “horizontal trampoline,” and strength-training moves for the arms, legs, glutes—whatever you request.

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.