James Haskell: The workouts in vogue

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Our columnist and England rugby player James Haskell writes about the most popular workouts at the moment…

People are always asking me on social media about current trending workouts. This makes for a nice follow up to my previous column about why women should be lifting weights.

Here’s my whistle stop guide to what’s hot exercise-wise at the moment…


  1. Functional Fitness

This is the probably the biggest thing at the moment. People starting to use more of their own bodyweight. The term may sound confusing but it really means doing exercises that improve the overall balance and coordination of your body. TRX programmes are a good example of functional training. They focus on strength exercises, which increase endurance and flexibility, so your body has a wide range of motion. All of this helps you perform everyday activities easier.

  1. High-Intensity Interval Training

One of my personal favourites. HIIT training has been around for a few years but it’s peaking now because there is more research showing how effective it is when done properly.Only 20 minutes of intense training can bring the same result as an hour or more at the gym.


  1. Mixed Martial Arts

MMA training is really popular and it’s a fantastic workout. MMA has grown in reputation and admiration because people see fights on TV all the time and want to do it. Mixed martial arts training is an effective metabolic workout which also improves balance and coordination, as well as strength.

  1. Personal Training

Private training is never out of style. Today more and more people seem to hire help. People who can afford it prefer to pay for educated advice as opposed to embarking on an unrealistic journey towards getting healthy and fit.

  1. Strength training

This trend has been around for years and has always been one of the most popular forms of exercise. Many young people train exclusively using weights to improve and maintain strength. Weight lifting has now even been incorporated in workouts for patients with chronic illnesses.

As I stress in my latest book the Lean Gains Bodybuilding Guide. You can’t get away with not building muscle, If you are serious about losing weight and staying fit. Are you listening ladies! Strength training increases your metabolism, balance, and bone density, which is crucial as we get older.

  1. Cardio Exercises

People have started to realize you don’t need to run 45 minutes on a treadmill to get good results. You’ll burn more fat by running fewer minutes but with a lot more intensity. Alternative Motion machines are a huge hit among people who prefer to exercise at home. They have suspended pedals that imitate running and/or climbing but have less impact on your feet and legs than a treadmill or an elliptical.

  1. Barre classes

Barre classes are a big trend because they use more isometric contractions (when there is no change in the length of the contracting muscle). Isometric training has been overlooked because it’s harder. The main benefit is more strength. Isometric training easily allows you to target a single group of muscles by increasing the amount of time you hold a particular pose.


  1. Workouts to stay fit after 60, 70…

As we get older we have to adjust our workouts so our bodies make up for what they lose such as bone and muscle mass. People want and expect to live longer but that requires a healthy lifestyle. People are becoming more and more aware of what it takes to stay fit in their 50s, 60s and beyond.

  1. Back to Basics

Basic exercises such as pushups, pullups, crunches and other bodyweight workouts are making a comeback. They were not really ignored but were never trending. People are smartening up, perfecting the basics before they move on to more complex moves. More people are interesting in ways to work out at home, which always starts with the basics.

  1. CrossFit

People tend to get bored easily and want variety in their sessions. That’s why CrossFit is popular. It combines bodyweight exercises, strength, high-intensity interval training, together in many different ways. CrossFit in itself is HIIT and it’s helping your burn fat like few other workouts out there. You’re lying on the floor catching your breath and feeling exhausted.

  1. Yoga

Another favourite of mine, Yoga has been around for thousands of years and even though it’s not growing as fast as it used to, it’s always still towards the top of any exercise list. Yoga has many forms, each of each seems to reinvent every year, which is what keep yoga attractive.

  1. Back and shoulders exercises

This is evident mostly among women. They still care about losing weight and having the perfect bikini body but they want the standards have changed: Muscle must be toned, abs should be strong and legs should be sculpted. Many women exercise their back and shoulders to build muscle so they waist looks smaller.