What is aerobics, the main types and what is typical for them?

ByJoe Louis

Jul 7, 2021
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It is difficult to list all types of aerobics. A new lesson appears every day. In the 90s, we boxed, and in the 2000s, we began to dance zumba en masse. In recent years, fans have been jumping on trampolines, spinning ergometers, doing high-intensity laps and intervals, dancing on a pole.

The industry is doing everything so that each person can effectively fight physical inactivity. Mostly people come to aerobic classes to lose weight. Although technically they can just walk down the street or park. And this will also be a cyclical load that develops endurance. Complete synonym for what they do in a fitness club, but with a lower heart rate.

Briefly about the term “aerobics”

“Aero” is Greek for “air”. The term “aerobics” was coined by American cardiologist Kenneth Cooper. So he called exercises, during which the body works in a cyclical mode with a relatively high pulse . The body uses up oxygen and glycogen, as well as body fat if glycogen is insufficient. The oldest form of aerobics is health walking.

Cooper’s brainchild resembled Soviet rhythmic gymnastics and was aimed at:

  • prevention of hypodynamia;
  • losing weight;
  • strengthening the cardiovascular system.

The system has spread rapidly. Some began to jump in groups in tights, which we all remember from old videos, others – to practice under the video of Jane Fonda, and still others – to jog. This is how aerobics exists as a modern phenomenon.

Added only differentiation by types of equipment used, heart rate zones and type of load.

Types of aerobics and their characteristics

There is no generally accepted work on the topic “types of aerobics and their classification”. Globally, aerobics is distinguished between high and low intensity lessons . High intensity is a pulse from 60% of the maximum heart rate and the presence of jumps in the program. Although the latter is not the rule. Cycling and trekking eliminate shock loading, but “twist” the heart rate to the maximum. Low intensity is 50-60% of your maximum heart rate.

Maximum heart rate for fitness is calculated using the formula “220 minus the age of the client.

High intensity activity is:

  1. Step other than beginners classes.
  2. All types of fitboxing, kickboxing and piloxing.
  3. Zumba.
  4. Trampoline lessons.
  5. Kangoo jumps.
  6. Hip-hop and jazz-funk.
  7. Break.
  8. Speed ​​run, sprint.
  9. Group lessons of functional training.
  10. Short interval training combining strength and jumping.
  11. Almost everything from online burpee and jumping marathons.

Low-intensity yoga includes almost all types of fitness yoga, except for power yoga and options in a heated room, Pilates, non-shock aerobics with choreographic ligaments (aerodance, aerobix), all types of fitness ballet, walking on a treadmill and down the street.

Групповые тренировки в фитнес-клубе

Swimming can be either high intensity or low intensity depending on the swimmer’s skill and speed.

Please note: the main characteristic of an aerobic lesson is the presence or absence of jumps and the client’s heart rate. Whether there are dance cords or not, what kind of music is used, strength exercises with small equipment are introduced or not – it is not so important.

A short cheat sheet of your choice:

  1. There should be no contraindications. Obesity from the first degree, diseases of the joints, spine, heart are definitely low-intensity types.
  2. The lesson should be pleasant. No violence, no one will learn the ligaments and suffer for hours if it’s just unpleasant.
  3. You need to exercise no more than 2.5-3 hours a week, otherwise you will have to significantly increase your calorie and nutrient intake in order to recover.


All types of aerobic lessons are designed to be wellness. But there is also a competitive discipline – sports aerobics (more on it below). Teams compete in it and quite complex jumping and acrobatic elements are used.

The term “wellness aerobics” refers to conventional aerobic fitness. The general recommendation is to attend lessons 2-3 times a week, do not overtrain and monitor your heart rate.

The main types are in any club:

  1. Step – these are steps, jumps and dance links on special platforms. Trainees repeat after the instructor. At the end of the lesson, there may be a small strength part on the “problem areas” – hips, buttocks, abs or arms.
  2. Zumba – dancing to Latin, pop and even hip-hop elements. Built to work on problem areas, burn calories and keep you from getting bored. The instructor does not invent movements himself, but learns according to a certain centralized program.
  3. Fitbox – imitation of boxing and kickboxing blows on the bag. Gloves and softer than martial arts pears are used. There are also “dance” links – waste, steps, sometimes moving around the hall.
  4. Tai-bo – a lesson with punches and kicks in the air, without pears.
  5. GRIT – functional training with burpees, dumbbell swings, combined strength exercises.
  6. Circular Workout – Typically squats, lunges, push-ups, and various arm and back exercises with small equipment. They do not reach the strengths in terms of metabolic activity. Includes only an aerobic mode of work in the body.
  7. Interval lessons – can include alternating strength and jumps, or a minute under power load and two minutes of light steps. There are no standards, the instructor builds the load independently.
  8. Funk and jazz-funk are two styles from the late 90s of the last century that have become popular today, thanks to the fashion for that era and the corresponding music. They are dances very similar in style to hip-hop.

Pilates and yoga can be distinguished separately. Their fans will never admit that this is also aerobics, but they work out “slow” muscle fibers and require oxygen supply.


Applied aerobics refers to activities that are used as an element of training in various sports and as an element of various shows and performances. For example, if a person is doing fitness in the gym with the goal of building muscle, aerobic exercise on a treadmill or dancing on a zumba will be applied to him.

The rules are:

  1. If the goal is weight loss, strength training fits into 12 working approaches for each muscle group and a person does a split 3-4 times a week, applied aerobics can be belly dance, zumba, cycling, trekking with an average load, or step for newbies.
  2. If weight loss is performed in a circular or functional style, group aerobics should be avoided. Your choice is a treadmill, exercise bike, or ellipsoid with a heart rate of less than 70% of maximum.
  3. If a person does not work out in the gym and does not plan to do so, but wants to lose weight, the choice is almost free, 3-4 hours a week in the aerobic room with a medium to high intensity load.
  4. If the goal is muscle gain and body shaping, the most effective aerobics is low-intensity walking 2-3 times a week for 30 minutes. It will not significantly increase calorie expenditure, strengthen the cardiovascular system and improve recovery from strength.

Is it possible to build a beautiful figure only with aerobics? Depends on the ideal, of course. If someone aspires to form a fitness model, he or she needs strength training. Are you satisfied with just slimness, small lean muscles and your own proportions? Welcome to the group aerobic lesson and don’t forget to diet.

Брейк-данс занятие


This is a competitive discipline. It is recognized by the Ministry of Sports of the Russian Federation. Titles are awarded, competitions are held. There are sports aerobics sections in large cities, at sports schools and universities.

Athletes compete in a set of exercises, which may consist of:

This is an artistic discipline, like rhythmic gymnastics. Technique, physical aspects and aesthetics are assessed comprehensively. The ligaments are made by the athletes themselves or their coaches. There is no standard. The judges use a special point scale to identify the winners.

There are age groups, adult participants compete in one – over 18 years old. In addition, competitions are held by division:

  • customized;
  • in pairs;
  • in triplets;
  • in groups.

This sport is not the most popular, teams often live on enthusiasm, but sports aerobics develop strength, flexibility, endurance and build a beautiful athletic figure.


Aerobics is diverse. Anyone can do it – from a teenager to a deeply mature person. The workout is chosen according to their preferences, you can practice both in a group and at home with video programs. By itself, aerobics does not cause weight loss, but if you combine it with a balanced diet with a calorie deficit and strength exercises, you can significantly improve your figure.