Top fitness trends 2018: from boxing to versaclimbers Advertisement

Top fitness trends 2018: from boxing to versaclimbers

Everything you need to turn your workouts up a notch

By Katie O’Malley  June 18th, 2018

From trampolining and yoga wheeling to cryotherapy and boxing, the top fitness trends 2018 promise to be the most high-intensity, rehabilitation-focussed and experimental yet. But one scroll through Instagram and you’ll undoubtedly be inundated with personal trainers, celebrities and gyms raving about the latest equipment, high-intensity workouts and protein shake you need to improve your fitness regime.

In the end, is it any wonder a glass of merlot and a tub of M&S chocolate bites seems like a much easier, stress-free, and relaxing alternative?

That’s why we’ve done the hard work so that you don’t have to. We’ve compiled a thorough list of the only new fitness trends you need to pay attention to this year.

From yoga wheeling in the comfort of your own home to pulsing your thighs at a Versaclimber class, here’s everything you need to know about getting fit this year:

1) Ditch the repetition

a) The ‘WOD’

We all know that a repeated and sustained number of high-intensity reps and sets are the basics to “Metabolic Conditioning.'” In other words, repeating a number of fairly strenuous sets, at speed, without a break, will help your metabolism speed up and fat to be burnt. But, as many of us are aware, the same old HIIT training classes can get a bit repetitive and boring.

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That’s why Third Space gym has newly launched “The WOD (The workout of the day’) for 2018.

Having noticed a rise in demand for MetCon inspired training experiences over the years, the gym’s trainers learned how repetitious training can undermine the commitment of even the most resolute gym enthusiast (#guilty).

So what is a ‘WOD’?

Two drills that remain at the forefront of Third Space’s “The Wod” include AMRAPs (As Many Rounds As Possible) and EMOMs (Every Minute On The Minute). Each 55-minute class involves just three pieces of equipment (12kg or 16kg Kettlebells, Dumbbells and a skipping rope) in order to improve form to deliver a lean and stronger body.

b) Mash-up cross-training

Mixing up your exercise regimes is key to enjoying working out. Doing a spin class one week and a barre class the next, might be the best way to keep yourself keen. The goal? Help gym bunnies reach their goals quicker with less chance of injury.


Bridging two disciplines together for a 90-minute workout could look like HIIT x Yoga, Cycle x Yoga, and HIIT x Cycle, so you can forget having to choose between two workouts after a hard day at work.

Yoga instructor Chris Magee explains: “Cross training is hugely important to maximise the potential of your body. HIIT, for example, provides the perfect compliment to your yoga practice without too much crossover or exhaustion while yoga practice increases your isometric strength and joint stability.”


“Mash-ups provide a challenging but effective workout which supports any short or long-term goals, but it helps in building up your stamina, endurance and cardiovascular health.”

2) Get height

a) Versaclimber

If you’ve ever been on a Versaclimber, you’ll know what we mean when we say there’s no other gym machine quite like it.

Engaging all major muscle groups – arms, chest, shoulders, back, glutes, hips and legs – in a single natural climbing motion, the Versaclimber is a low-impact cardio training option which is perfect for anyone with problems working out on a treadmill or bike.

Think of it as a static climbing wall that really, really hurts.


Fitness director James Pisano explains: “The Versaclimber is scaling the trends chart because it does everything we need it to and more. It allows users to make the workout even more intense as you can focus on your development rather than the body trying to keep itself secure.

“From beginners to athletes this machine is the one thing you really can train, educate and enjoy working out on.”

b) Trampolining

In the words of Kriss Kross, the only thing you should do in 2018 is “jump, jump”.

Studies by NASA scientists have recently shown that bouncing on a trampoline is 68 per cent more effective than jogging and requires less effort, and that’s exactly why we’re obsessed with trampolining this year (not to mention, it’s really fun).


Developing upper and lower body strength, improving balance and coordination, muscular strength and endurance, lung and cardio capacity, and releasing endorphins, trampolining can burn calories and build muscles in just one class.

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Instructors claim just one high-intensity session can burn off as many as 700 calories.

3) Rehabilitation and recovery-based training

a) Yoga wheeling

With Pinterest recently touting the yoga wheel to be one of the 2018’s hottest workout props (with pins of the circular piece of kit having increased by a huge 72 per cent), the piece of equipment is set to be the go-to new addition featured in all yoga classes this year.

Personal trainer and Locket Loves designer Lucy Arnold explains: “The yoga wheel is designed to help you stretch and improve flexibility. It’s a low impact exercise, that is suitable for everyone but provides great results.

“It’s also great for people who have muscle pain, or who are recovering from muscle injury as it allows deep stretching. It’s also amazing for building stamina and increasing fitness.”

Made of plastic and matting, the wheel can be adapted to any level of yoga practice, offering a deep stretch, release tension in hard to reach areas of the body and provide support in difficult yoga poses.

Arnold suggests the following three exercises to try with the yoga wheel:

  • Spinal Stretch – Place the yoga wheel centred at your middle back and lay over it. Bring your arms out to the side and then let your head hang back. A great stretch after a hard day at the office.
  • Forward Fold – In a seated position place the wheel under your calf muscles. Forward fold and place your hands on the wheel which will pull you deeper.
  • Childs Pose – Get into child’s pose with your knees wide and place both hands on the wheel at the front of your mat.

b) Cryotherapy and infrared saunas

While passive recovery experiences aren’t exactly a new phenomenon, they’re certainly picking up traction in 2018.

HIIT, cross-training and Versaclimbers are all incredible ways to get lean and build muscle strength, but near impossible to do without care, recovery and rehabilitation.

Cryotherapy will become an even bigger trend in 2018 which works by surrounding the body with a cold -150°C mist for 1-3 minutes and favoured by Victoria’s Secret models and Olympic athletes around the world.

A post shared by LondonCryo (@londoncryo) on Jan 13, 2018 at 12:54pm PST

The technology decreases cell growth (cellular metabolism), inflammation and pain and increases cell survival.

Meanwhile, infrared saunas — used by the likes of Lady Gaga, Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow — are now a mainstay, whereby steam produces infrared heat which is then absorbed by the surface of the skin.

Infrared Sauna

The infrared rays are believed to penetrate skin tissue and heat up the body from the inside out, contrary to normal saunas. In 40 minutes, you can burn up to 600 calories without moving a muscle.

c) LIIT: low-intensity exercise training

Every gym bunny with profess to the heart-pumping, sweat-inducing benefits of a HIIT class but what if we told you such high-throttle training can often do more harm than good.

Enter LIIT.

Flipping HIIT classes — involving endless reps of burpees, tuck jumps and mountain climbers — on its head, LIIT (an acronym for low-intensity exercise training) involves similar exercises but at a far slower pace, with longer rest periods (approximately two minutes) between circuits. Reducing cortisol levels and continuing to burn fat during resting state, LIIT may be the perfect antidote to those who struggle to hack a HIIT session.

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Research by fitness brand Les Mills, published last week, has also found that working for any more than 30-40 minutes at above 90 per cent of your maximum heart rate per week may be counterintuitive to your fitness.

Jinger Gottschall, associate professor of kinesiology at Penn State University who researched the effects of HIIT for the study, said: “If you want to get the best possible results from HIIT, our recommendation, based on these findings, is to balance your weekly HIIT sessions with other, less intense cardiovascular and strength workouts.”

 4) Combat sports

We don’t know if it’s the popularity of boxing heavyweights such as Anthony Joshua, or the stealthy techniques of Nicola Adams, but it appears folks can’t get enough of combat sports this year.

As a result, several top gyms have launched specialised martial arts, kickboxing and Muay Thai classes, focusing on whole-body workouts to improve cardiovascular health, stamina and build lean muscle mass.

a) Boxing

Trainer Miranda says: “Women are starting to pull away from the booty-building-Kim-Kardashian-craze and look towards a more athletic ideal.

“A mix of functional training and boxing is the best way to achieve this. My advice? Leave the squat rack behind and put your time into learning a sport that will challenge you, change you and will build your confidence, endlessly.”

A post shared by KOBOX (@kobox) on Aug 20, 2017 at 3:17am PDT

Jamie Ray, personal trainer, says of the sport: “Combat exercises are a hugely exciting development in the fitness sphere. Not only are they a brilliant way to increase stamina, build muscle and improve agility, but by occupying the mind they provide a total release from the stresses of our everyday, chaotic lives.”


If 12 rounds of workouts sounds a bit too much, why not try Frame‘s new body-toning class, Box Train?

Designed to make your body strong, lean and toned through building lean muscle mass, the class includes just three stations — body weight, treadmill and punching bags — ensuring a full-body workout.

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5) Digital fitness

a) At-home workouts

Dubbed the “Netflix for workouts”, Fiit is a new form of connected fitness set to revolutionise the fitness world.

Fiit is an interactive online platform offering consumers nationwide exclusive access to train with the top personal trainers.

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The platform enables exercise-goers to choose from a variety of specialist classes — from HIIT to Hatha — taught by fitness instructors, via a mobile application that connects to the TV.

As a new form of connective fitness, a strap worn across the chest tracks performance and allows clients to compete against themselves and others around the world.

Richie Norton, a Fiit personal trainer says of the new technology: “With a variety of camera angles and real-time step by step sessions, Fiit helps you master all the movements that create your own flow, while holding your hand through the whole process.”

b) On-demand fitness

Meanwhile, hotels and airports are responding to consumers’ increasing need for on-demand fitness options by integrating workouts into their offers for travellers.

Startups ROAM Fitness and FlyFit Global offer workout facilities behind several airport securities. Meanwhile, Sanctifly, offers a members’ club that allows travellers to book airport hotel gyms and other wellness facilities.

A post shared by Peloton (@onepeloton) on Nov 13, 2017 at 9:35am PST

New York-based cycling studio Peloton has also recently launched spin bike services to be dropped off to guest rooms in Westin hotel, while Hilton’s “Five Feet to Fitness” programme offers in-room gyms for hotel guests.

c) Wearable tech

Garmin’s newest model (the Forerunner 645 Music) betters its predecessors, now offering 500 songs worth of local music storage meaning you don’t have to trudge along with your phone in hand anymore. It also has a wrist-based heart rate monitor attached which analyses exercise history and performance indicators to help you figure out how best to perform and reach your goals.


Showcased at the CES 2018, the Coros Omni bike helmet not only provides protection from bumps and bruises but bone-conducting audio, too. Not sure what that means? Neither did we until we learned that it means users can listen to music via audio speakers integrated into the helmet straps, meaning your ears are free to listen out for traffic noises on the road.

A post shared by COROS Global (@corosglobal) on Jan 18, 2018 at 12:18pm PST

Techradar also notes the helmet also features two strips of light on the rear to help other road users more easily spot you and a built-in crash sensor which will alert designated friends and family of what’s happened, sending an alert through your phone.

The at-home Peloton Tread treadmill and Under Armour HOVR Record-Equipped trainers are ones to watch out for, too.

d) Nutritionist apps

We’re not sure about you, but it’s near impossible to keep track of what supplements, multivitamins and protein shakes we’re meant to be taking on a daily basis, given the fact we hear contradicting advice from health specialists, colleagues and fellow gym-goers all the time.

Fortunately, a new app has come on the market that promises to identify exactly what nutrition you need during the day, doing all the hard work of monitoring your food and drink intake so you don’t have to.

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Healthspan is an app that takes the temperature of your diet and delivers personalised recommendations about what supplements you should take.

Similar to MyFitnessPal and Lose It, users need simply to input their diet into the app so it can track their activity. However, this isn’t about counting calories, rather the bigger picture of monitoring your nutrition.

Linking up with a FitBit or activity tracker (for example Strava and the Apple Health app), users fill in data about themselves, input what they’re eating, press a button and the app will formulate a bespoke supplement report.

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Whether you need more calcium, protein, electrolytes or thiamine in your diet, the app will deliver recommendations and how much to take depending on how active your lifestyle is.

You can also order water-soluble supplements through the app which arrive a couple of days later.