Invented by a Romanian ballet dancer-turned-fitness guru, Gyrotonics uses a 7-foot-tall machine nicknamed The Rack because it looks like a torture device. Using pulleys, weights and cables, practitioners move through a choreography that devotees describe as a mix of yoga, ballet, swimming and gymnastics.

Classic move: Looping feet through the thick rubber bands on the Gyrotonics machine, then scissoring feet back and forth while slightly undulating the spine.

Music: Calm and meditative.

Apparel: Yoga clothes, bare feet or socks.

Cost: $45 for 55-minute introductory session; $70 for every session thereafter; $600 for a package of 10. All sessions include private guidance from a trainer.

When: By appointment.

Where: Awaken Pilates Studio, 2937 Lyndale Av. S., Suite 10, Mpls., 612-824-1722,


For Minnesota cyclists, there have been two choices: Give up the sport during winter or pedal around on death-defying streets of ice. Now some fitness clubs are offering a third choice: the CompuTrainer MultiRider. A spinning system from RacerMate of Seattle, it allows cyclists to bring in their own bikes and connect them to a computer system and high-definition screen. Cyclists can analyze pedal strokes and drag factors, or simply get a workout. The CompuTrainer, which can accommodate up to eight bikes at a time, offers realistic courses to practice or race on, including segments of the Tour de France and the Soma Half Ironman in Phoenix.

Music: Most riders use their own headphones.

Equipment: Bring your own road bike. (Mountain bikes are not recommended.)

Apparel: Cycling shorts and top.

Cost: $40 per class with private coaching, $30 for a pre-programmed course, $20 with no course.

When: By appointment. One- and two-hour appointments available.

Where: Balance Fitness Studio, 2902 Garfield Av. S., Mpls., 612-290-5820,


Vaulting smoothly over fenceposts, back-flipping off brick walls, gliding over the hoods of cars -- this is the regimen preferred by Jason Bourne. Developed in Europe, this hipster discipline emphasizes moving through your environment quickly and efficiently, but "doing it cool," says instructor Chad Zwadlo. Beginners' classes take place at a gymnastics school, where students can practice on the reinforced walls and padded elements. Advanced students take their skills to the streets.

Classic move: Tucking into a roll after a big jump.

Music: Euro-pop.

Apparel: Street clothes, socks, tennis shoes.

Cost: $110 for a month of classes.

When Beginners' classes are held Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.

Where: Gleason's Gymnastic School, 2015 Silver Bell Road, Eagan, 651-454-6203,


Invented by three instructors at Align Pilates in Minneapolis, this yoga- and Pilates-derived discipline incorporates exercise bands and mild violence. As people twist their bodies into complicated Pilates poses, instructors help them apply stretchy fitness bands, call Thera-Bands, so they can hold the poses even longer. Then instructors come around and lightly pummel the calves, the soles and the heels of the students with their hands "to increase circulation, and because it feels really good," explains studio co-owner Emily Easton.

Music: Calm and meditative.

Apparel: Yoga clothes, bare feet.

Cost: $20 for walk-in, $72 per four-class package, $120 for an eight-class package. First week is free.

Where: Align Pilates, 3021 Holmes Av. S., Mpls., 612-343-7500,


Nothing caps a day at the office like a little brute force. Invented in Thailand, Muay Thai is particularly popular with women because it provides an aggressive workout that combines a mix of martial arts and hand-to-hand combat. "It's very empowering, and it really kicks your butt," says instructor Lance Anderson.

Music: House, techno or electronica. Anything that gets your blood pumping.

Equipment: Boxing gloves are supplied, but students must buy their own hand wraps (about $5).

Apparel: Shorts and a tank top with bare feet.

Cost: Included in all LifeTime Fitness memberships; $50 to $250 per month, depending on membership level and family size.

When: 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays.

Where: Lakeville LifeTime Fitness, 18425 Dodd Blvd., Lakeville, 952-985-8800,