Chris Freytag by Chris Freytag

Fitness is always in, but trends in fitness ebb and flow. Techies, rejoice! This was your year for fancy fitness doodads. On the flip side, back-to-basics-type workouts also shot up in popularity. Quite the juxtaposition, but we at ACE will only raise concerns when the trend skews toward staying on the couch or being unsafe.

As we pull together our predictions for 2015, let’s take a moment to look back at six of the best fitness trends that grabbed us in 2014 by the leg and wouldn’t let go:


1. Barre

Look down the street. We bet a Barre studio popped up on your block this year. This ballet-inspired workout uses small and slow movements to sculpt lean and long “dancer” muscles. Barre class teaches you focus and discipline—tutus, pointe shoes and stage experience not required. Just hold onto the barre and let the instructor guide you through this intense yet low-impact experience. Oh, and the bar was also raised when it came to Barre in 2014. Welcome to fusion classes. We now have Barre-Cardio, Hot Barre and Yoga Barre, to name a few.

2. Functional Fitness

Primal, body-weight training, movement-based, whatever you want to call it, functional fitness was in the forefront this year. Less emphasis is put on working specific muscles—like doing rep after rep of triceps extensions—and more on big movements. Minimal equipment is required—just run, jump, crawl, climb and flip a tire if you have one handy. This type of exercise prepares your body for everyday movements like hoisting a heavy box overhead or toting a toddler on your back. A well-rounded workout? We’re functional fans.


3. Battle Ropes

We’re talking big battle ropes anchored to a heavy object at the gym that everyone seems to be giving a try. A typical rope is around 1.5 inches thick and 45 feet long. The goal is to create “undulations,” or wave-like patterns, in the rope. This extremely effective low-impact workout is a cardio killer and challenges every muscle in your body. Typically done in an interval-style format, ropes can be a stand-alone workout or added to a boot camp-style workout.

4. Rowing Machine

Thanks in part to House of Cards’ Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright’s tendency to get their row on in their basement, and also to a few brave souls running rowing-only gyms like New York City’s CityRow, the rower is the “it” machine of the year. If you think this once lonely machine in the gym corner only works your upper body, you’re wrong. The rowing movement is a total-body burner that gets your heart rate skyrocketing in the process.


5. Health Apps

If you weren’t recording, monitoring, counting or challenging a friend on your smartphone this year, what were you doing? (No, seriously tell us. We thought everybody was doing it.) From Fooducate to MyFitnessPal to Pact, if you wanted to measure it, there was an app for that. Hundreds of apps, in fact.

6. Wearable Activity Trackers

Fitbit, Jawbone, Garmin VivoFit, Polar Loop, Apple iWatch…the list goes on and on. Activity tracking was the name of the game, and a techie bracelet was the medium. 2014 made you the boss of your steps, sleep, calories and more. Now with high-end designers like Tory Burch getting in on the action, we can only guess what 2015 will look like for your wrist!

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Battle Ropes