6 Unconventional Workouts to Try This Summer

goat yoga

Whether you're feeling behind on your New Year's Resolution or just need a change in routine, a unique summer workout will have you feeling re-energized―and sweaty―in no time. Ditch the free weights and forget the treadmill. These six activities will get you away from the gym and into a new setting. Try any or all of these unconventional workouts and get ready for sweat, smiles and sunshine!


Who says team sports are just for kids? If you're looking for a great workout but want to be in the sunlight, try signing up for a local recreational soccer league. Unlike many other sports, soccer keeps you moving for nearly the entire game. It's like a HIIT workout without the burpees! You'll be running, kicking and bringing your team to victory.

Soccer is also a great way to get active with friends and family. Rowing machines, treadmills and other gym equipment are built for solo workouts, but team sports provide an excellent outlet for engaging, social sweat sessions. Plus, thanks to its popularity, soccer leagues are accessible in most towns and cities across the country. Whether you're new to the field or play like a pro, soccer is a great way to get active as a group this summer. 

Ninja Warrior Training

Want to swing from the ceiling or run up a warped wall? You're not alone. As the show "American Ninja Warrior" has grown in popularity, ninja warrior gyms have sprung up across the country. These facilities feature tons of different obstacles built to test your strength, agility, flexibility and endurance (think parkour-like motions). You may find yourself jumping, swinging, climbing or dangling, but no matter what you choose to try, you can bet you'll feel exhilarated all day long. 

Many ninja warrior or obstacle-focused facilities offer day passes or open play time, making it easy for newcomers to give it a try. For those interested in building their parkour or ninja warrior skills, clinics and class passes are a good option to increase instructional time. If your kids are craving high-energy summer activities, a ninja warrior summer camp will definitely give them some thrills!

Rock Climbing

Ready for a full-body workout like never before? If you're tired of lifting weights but still want a killer sweat sesh, rock climbing is a great alternative. Climbing engages every part of your body, especially your core, arms and back. Your legs also do some heavy lifting to push you to the top. If you're new to the sport, you can expect some slight soreness in the days following your first few climbs, but don't let that scare you away.

Look for a local indoor climbing gym before trying any outdoor excursions. Most gyms offer introductory clinics to teach basic movement techniques, gear use and safety practices. Once you feel ready to climb outside, check your local gyms or parks for outdoor climbing clinics, day camps or events. Then get ready to rock on.

Stand-up Paddle Boarding

Stand-up paddle boarding, or SUP, is a great outdoor workout option for anyone who lives near a calm body of water. SUP boards are like a halfway point between a kayak and a surfboard―they're thick enough to keep you afloat, but don't have sides to keep you from dipping your toes into the waves. Beginners can start by paddling on their knees to help maintain balance. Once you feel comfortable, try moving into a standing position. The balancing act will engage your core and legs while the paddling motion will work your arms and back. 

If you're ready to get really fancy, you can test your skills with SUP yoga. Or if you're looking for some company, try bringing your dog along for a float!

Goat Yoga

Yep, you read that right. Goat yoga is pretty much just like regular yoga but filled with goats. These funny little farm animals wander around the class to help keep the energy positive and the laughter flowing. Watch out though―some might enjoy nibbling your hair or even climbing onto your back! Others might settle for a long nap on your mat. 

You likely won't find a goat yoga class inside your average studio. Instead, try searching the event calendars of local farms. Then all you have to do is bring your mat, sunscreen and a baaa-ttle of water, and get ready to flow with your new furry friends.

Whitewater Rafting

If you're looking for a water sport but want something more challenging than SUP, whitewater rafting is a must. Whitewater rapids exist on a variety of levels, so if you're a little intimidated by the thought of big drops or tumbling water, don't worry―smaller, slower rafting routes are great for beginners. Rafting is also an excellent summer activity for families or groups.

The rowing motions used in rafting will engage your arms, back, core and even your legs. You'll be moving pretty constantly to keep your raft floating in the right direction, so make sure you're fueled up and hydrated before you start. Don't forget to ask a friend to snap some pics as you make your way down the river―that action shot will make a great Instagram post later!

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