Boutique wellness classes invade the pool

In recent years, water-based exercise classes have been making waves, providing a low impact, muscle building workout. As the boutique-fitness scene grows, specialty swim classes are diversifying, offering more dynamic options for pool time than swimming laps or water aerobics.


What SoulCycle is to spinning, SwimTeam is to swimming. The LA-based company uses private pools to teach 45-minute classes that resemble a dance party; attendees wear special headphones so they can hear the instructor and high-energy music throughout the session. Classes are designed for all levels of swimmers, combining short lap sets with low-impact circuit work. Additionally, each class ends with a “swimvasana,” in which people float on their back. SwimTeam seeks to create a sense of community in each class and turn a solitary sport into a more social one, much as group treadmill classes have done for running.


MindTravel has been offering live-to-headphones “silent” musical experiences in settings like Central Park; now the company is diving into a new initiative—MindTravel Underwater, in which attendees float weightless or swim below the surface as music is played through underwater speakers, letting swimmers feel as well as hear the sounds. The water-based version is currently in beta with pools in LA and NYC, and the company plans to expand to other cities soon after.


Running, lifting, and spinning can take a significant toll on one’s body, fueling the need for more low-impact aquatic exercises. Fitness enthusiasts in NYC can soon take the plunge with Strox Fitness. The company is forming partnerships with pools across the city, much like SwimTeam does in LA, to host classes consisting of intervals and circuits to create a fun, full-body workout. Similarly, specialty headphones will bring attendees the sounds of instructors and vibrant music underwater. Strox hasn’t announced a launch date yet, but it's currently building its roster of instructors and facilities.