16 Types of Fitness Classes [See Which Ones Can You Do at Home]

Fitness classes are a fun and effective way to exercise. If you're ready to start a new fitness class, first you need to know what your options are and what you can expect from the class. We've done the research and have all the info you need on several of the most popular types of fitness classes. Check out our inclusive list below:

  1. Mat Pilates
  2. Yin Yoga
  3. Vinyasa Yoga
  4. Hot Yoga
  5. Zumba
  6. Cardio Dance
  7. Barre
  8. HIIT
  9. Step Aerobics
  10. Boot Camp Conditioning
  11. Cardio Kickboxing
  13. CrossFit
  14. Cycle/Spin
  15. Reformer Pilates
  16. Water Aerobics

Keep reading for more information on each of these fitness classes, including whether you can do them at home. We'll let you know about each workout's benefits, the level of difficulty, and any equipment you might need to do these workouts at home. We've also provided some example videos if you'd like to get started with one of these classes today!


Types of Fitness Classes

Mat Classes

Mat Pilates

Mat Pilates is a low-impact exercise that strengthens your core, enhances your flexibility, and improves your balance and posture. It is a form of strength and resistance training that uses your own bodyweight resistance to create lean, toned muscles throughout your whole body. Most of the moves are performed while lying down or seated, and many of them focus specifically on toning your stomach muscles. It also offers a low-impact way to target your glutes and legs.

  • Can You Do at Home: Yes
  • Level of Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Equipment Needed: Mat

Click here for this 1/2-inch thick Pilates mat on Amazon.

If you want to intensify your workout, check out some optional equipment such as resistance bands.

Click here for this Magic Circle Pilates ring on Amazon.

Click here for these Pilates resistance bands on Amazon.

Yin Yoga

Yin yoga is a slow-paced form of yoga that involves passive, static stretches. Most of the poses are performed seated or lying down and are held for up to three to five minutes, or even longer. Yin yoga aims to soften and relax the body without forcing or straining the muscles to stretch them in a gentle, natural way. It is a very still, quiet, meditative practice with tremendous benefits for both mindfulness and flexibility.

  • Can You Do at Home: Yes
  • Level of Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Equipment Needed: Mat

Click here for this yoga mat on Amazon.

Consider using optional yoga blocks for added support during your routine, ideal for beginners to find the stability needed for every pose.

Click here for these Gaiam yoga blocks on Amazon.

Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa yoga is a form of yoga where you flow from one pose to the next, connecting each movement with your breath. The flow does not have to follow a prescribed sequence, so each class will be different from the next. Though each class's exact pace will vary, it tends to be more active and faster-paced than some other forms of yoga, like yin yoga. It also tends to include more standing poses and dynamic stretches.

All forms of yoga have a strong mind-body connection and will help you improve both mindfulness and flexibility. Vinyasa yoga can also help you increase your strength and cardio fitness.

  • Can You Do at Home: Yes
  • Level of Difficulty: Moderate
  • Equipment Needed: Mat

Click here for this Gaiam yoga mat on Amazon.

Yoga blocks are optional equipment but can help you achieve longer poses with increased stability.

Click here for these yoga blocks on Amazon.

Hot Yoga

Hot yoga is an intense form of yoga performed in a hot, humid studio. In one of the most well-known hot yoga versions, Bikram yoga, the classroom is heated to 105-degrees F (40 C) with 40-percent humidity. Bikram yoga classes are 90-minutes long and follow a set sequence of 26 postures, but other forms of hot yoga may vary their sequences and heat their rooms to slightly lower temperatures.

The benefits of performing yoga in a heated room include detoxification and the ability to go deeper into the poses. It's not recommended for pregnant women or people with certain health conditions. You probably won't be able to create the high heat and humidity at home, so you'll want to head for a gym or studio for hot yoga.

  • Can You Do at Home: No
  • Level of Difficulty: Advanced
  • Equipment Needed: Mat, water bottle

Click here for this mat for hot yoga on Amazon.

Click here for this sports water bottle on Amazon.

Dance-Inspired Classes


Zumba is a Latin-inspired cardio dance fitness workout that anyone can enjoy. It primarily focuses on Latin dance styles like salsa, merengue, cumbia, and reggaeton, but many instructors often incorporate various other music and dance styles in their classes. Some of the steps are high-impact, involving jumps, twists, and turns, but beginners can modify the choreography to suit their abilities.

  • Can You Do at Home: Yes
  • Level of Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Equipment Needed: Tennis shoes with flexible soles or dance sneakers

Click here for these Ryka women's cross-training shoes on Amazon.

Click here for these Capezio dance sneakers for men or women on Amazon.

Cardio Dance

Cardio Dance, Cardio Jam, and Dance Aerobics are some of the names you might see for a dance fitness class. Like Zumba, in terms of the high-impact cardio workout and fun atmosphere, a cardio dance class will focus on different music styles than just Latin. Many will incorporate everything from Bollywood to African to country dance styles, while others may limit their focus to a specific style like hip-hop. Instructors may also toss in some traditional exercises like jumping jacks and squats to up the workout intensity. Try a variety of in-person or online classes until you find the style and instructor you like best.

  • Can You Do at Home: Yes
  • Level of Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Equipment Needed: Tennis shoes with flexible soles or dance sneakers

Click here for these dance workout shoes for women on Amazon.


Barre incorporates elements of ballet, Pilates, and yoga. It's a low-impact, high-intensity, full-body workout that involves small, targeted movements and lots of repetitions. It helps improve your endurance, flexibility, and strength. In a studio, you'll perform the workout with the support of a barre just like you may have seen ballet dancers use. At home, you can do a barre workout with the support of a chair.

  • Can You Do at Home: Yes
  • Level of Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Equipment Needed: Grippy socks

Click here for these non-slip grippy socks on Amazon.

For moderate level Barre, consider adding wrist or ankle weights for a more intense workout.

Click here for these adjustable wrist or ankle weights on Amazon.

Cardio-Focused Classes


HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. It alternates short bursts of high-intensity exercise with periods of rest and slower-paced movements. Most HIIT workouts last 30-minutes or less, and it has proven cardio-respiratory benefits, so it's one of the most efficient ways to get in a solid cardio workout if you're short on time.

  • Can You Do at Home: Yes
  • Level of Difficulty: Moderate to Advanced
  • Equipment Needed: Cross-training or running shoes

Click here for these men's Under Armour running shoes on Amazon.

Click here for these women's Under Armour running shoes on Amazon.

Step Aerobics

Step aerobics is a cardio-boosting workout performed with a "step," or platform that's anywhere from four to twelve inches high. During the class, you'll step up, down, and around the platform, following your instructor's choreographed routine. You can add risers to increase the height and handheld weights to increase the intensity.

  • Can You Do at Home: Yes
  • Level of Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Equipment Needed: Step platform and handheld weights (optional)

Click here for this Tone Fitness aerobic step platform on Amazon.

Click here for this handheld weight set on Amazon.

Boot Camp Conditioning

Boot camp workouts are inspired by military-style training. Boot camp conditioning combines a challenging mix of aerobic and strength exercises and usually includes calisthenics, military-style drills, and interval training. It's an intense full-body workout that will help you improve your strength and endurance and often build camaraderie among the other members.

  • Can You Do at Home: Yes
  • Level of Difficulty: Moderate to Advanced
  • Optional Equipment: Jump rope, dumbbells

Click here for this jump rope on Amazon.

Click here for this dumbbell set on Amazon.

Cardio Kickboxing

Cardio kickboxing is a high-energy class that incorporates martial arts techniques like punches, kicks, and jabs into a fast-paced cardio workout. You will boost your heart rate and can burn up to 350 to 450 calories per class, but you won't learn self-defense or how to fight in a cardio kickboxing class. Cardio kickboxing is noncontact -- all punches are thrown into the air or onto punching bags or pads.

  • Can You Do at Home: Yes
  • Level of Difficulty: Moderate
  • Optional Equipment: Punching bag, gloves

Click here for this Dripex free-standing punching bag on Amazon.

Click here for these kickboxing gloves on Amazon.

Special Equipment Required


BODYPUMP, sometimes called Body Works or Body Power, is a strength conditioning class that targets and tones all your muscles. You use a barbell to do exercises like squats, lifts, and curls in rhythm with motivating music. This workout program focuses on lighter weights with more repetitions. You choose the amount of weight, so it can be modified for beginners.

  • Can You Do at Home: Yes
  • Level of Difficulty: Moderate
  • Equipment Needed: Barbell or other weights

Click here for this Hyperwear SoftBell adjustable barbell on Amazon.


CrossFit is a high-intensity strength and conditioning workout. CrossFit takes place at a "box," which is the name for a CrossFit gym, and often builds a sense of community and competition among members. Classes are typically 45-minutes to an hour and always include a WOD (workout of the day). Each WOD is a specific series of exercises done as many times as you can within a set period of time. The exercises often focus on functional movements that mimic activities you do in everyday life, like carrying groceries or bending down to tie your shoes.

The workouts can be scaled up or down to accommodate everyone, from serious athletes to seniors, and even weightlifting beginners can do CrossFit since you'll have a coach to help you learn proper form. You will use a variety of equipment like pull-up bars, kettlebells, and medicine balls. Though some of the exercises can be done at home, it might be cost-prohibitive to outfit your home gym with all the equipment you'd need, so you'll have to go to a box for the full CrossFit experience.

  • Can You Do at Home: Partially
  • Level of Difficulty: Moderate to Advanced
  • Equipment Needed: Pull-up bar, kettlebell, medicine ball

Click here for this doorway pull-up bar on Amazon.

Click here for this cast iron kettlebell on Amazon.

Click here for this medicine ball on Amazon.


Cycle, or spin class, is a fun, high-energy workout performed on a stationary bike. You'll pedal on the bike the entire time. Music sets the pace for the class, and you'll ride in rhythm to it and the instructor's directions. If you're looking for a low-impact way to get a solid cardio workout, cycling is a great option because it puts less stress on your joints. You'll build strength in your legs and glutes, and you can adjust the resistance on the bike and the pace of your intervals to raise or lower the intensity to fit your needs.

In most gyms or studios, you'll need to reserve a spot on a bike in advance. You might need to wear special shoes that clip into the pedals. Depending on the studio, the shoes might be provided or available to rent.

  • Can You Do at Home: Yes
  • Level of Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Equipment Needed: Stationary bike

Click here for this stationary bike on Amazon.

Reformer Pilates

Reformer Pilates offers the same benefits as mat Pilates -- strengthening the core, enhancing flexibility, improving posture -- but it's performed with a machine called the reformer rather than on the floor. The reformer increases resistance for better strength training and helps ensure proper alignment in the poses for a more effective workout. The reformer can look intimidating, but even a beginner can do reformer Pilates with the guide of an instructor.

  • Can You Do at Home: Yes (if you have experience)
  • Level of Difficulty: Moderate
  • Equipment Needed: Reformer, non-slip socks

Click here for this AeroPilates Pro reformer on Amazon.

Click here for these non-slip socks on Amazon.

Water Aerobics

Water aerobics is a low-impact workout performed in a swimming pool. You use the resistance of the water along with foam weights and kickboards to build strength and endurance. You don't swim in a water aerobics class, and you'll probably stay in the shallow end of the pool. You'll do familiar exercises like bicep curls, kicks, lunges, jogging, and jumping jacks.

Anyone can do water aerobics, from pregnant women to seniors. The water helps take the weight off your feet and joints, so it's especially beneficial for anyone who suffers from arthritis, joint problems, chronic pain, or other injuries.

  • Can You Do at Home: Yes (if you have your own pool)
  • Level of Difficulty: Easy
  • Equipment Needed: Swimming pool, foam weights, kickboard

Click here for these foam dumbbells on Amazon.

Click here for this Speedo kickboard on Amazon.


Now that you know all about these fitness classes, what are you waiting for? Find a gym, pick up a DVD, or stream a video online to get started with one of these fun workouts. Don't be intimidated if you're a beginner. Almost every class can be modified in some way to fit your needs. Everyone has to start somewhere, and you'll only get better with practice. Most of these classes can be done no matter your fitness level or experience, and many of them can be done at home. If you aren't sure which one you'll like best, just try them all!

Here are some other articles you might want to check out:

Can You Grow Your Glutes with Resistance Bands?

How Long Should a Pilates Session Be (And How Often to Do Them)?

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