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I wrote off Jazzercise as an '80s craze — but was surprised how fresh and inclusive it felt

The diverse instructors and curated fitness programs make the on-demand workout feel current and modern.
I TRIED JAZZERCISE
The Jazzercise On Demand digital platform offers dance cardio, HIIT, strength training and recovery workouts.TODAY illustration / Danielle Page
/ Source: TMRW

"Just to warn you, my mom might be Jazzercising when we get home."

This was always the disclaimer my childhood best friend would give me before entering her house after school. I have vivid memories of her mom in bright spandex, sweating it out to a Jazzercise VHS tape and inviting us to join in. We did on occasion, and it was pretty fun.

So when I saw that Jazzercise was not only still around in 2021 but had launched a digital platform with a ton of program options from which to choose, I decided to give it a try. Any workout that's still around after more than 50 years must be effective, right?

The basics: Cost and equipment

A monthly subscription to Jazzercise On Demand will cost you $19.99 per month, which is modestly priced compared to other dance workout options on the market. Most of the workouts available on this digital platform require no equipment — just enough space to move and sweat. However, to take full advantage of the strength and toning workouts, a set of hand weights, a mat and resistance bands are helpful additions to have. The app is available on Roku, AppleTV, Amazon FireStick and iPhone. You can also log on via your laptop or computer and follow along from there. For those interested in a test drive, Jazzercise On Demand offers a free 14-day trial.

What the workout entails

When you first log on to the app, you'll see a 14-Day Get Started Guide with recommended workouts for your first two weeks — including rest days and suggested equipment. The guide incorporates workouts from a variety of categories on the app: Dance Mixx, which is a cardio dance workout; Interval Fusion, which switches between dance cardio and toning intervals; Dance HIIT, which combines high-intensity intervals with cardio dance; Strength, a weight-training workout using hand weights, body weight and optional resistance bands; and Strike, a kickboxing workout.

In addition to the 14-Day Get Started Guide, the platform offers other curated programs with workout playlists. Power Up, which outlines a list of bodyweight challenges and reps, a Self-Care Challenge that incorporates recommendations for healthy habits (like meditation and stretching) along with workouts from the app, and (my personal favorite) a 7-Day Booty Boost Challenge. There are also new seven-day workout plans that are released each week.

If you don't feel like committing to a full program, you can explore workouts by time length (available in 10, 20, 30 and 40-minute intervals), new releases or category (Dance Cardio, Strength and Restore). There's also an extras section where you can watch livestream replays, unlock bonus routines, view behind-the-scenes content and watch technique tips. You can also explore the most popular workouts on the app via the Top 10 section.

My experience using Jazzercise On Demand

For my first class, I opted for a 40-minute Dance Mixx workout with Raffaele, who got right down to business showing off his moves. We started with a warm-up that got every part of my body moving from neck to feet — which felt great and made me realize I'd been neglecting certain body parts during my typical workouts. The weighted toning sections of this workout helped break things up, and before I knew it, we were at the cool-down portion.

As I continued with my trial, it became apparent that the warm-up portion of this workout is a hallmark of Jazzercise On Demand's offerings. This can make it seem like you're in for an easy workout when you first push play — but make no mistake, you will be sweating by the end. One of my favorite classes was one I discovered off the Top 10 called Fusion 40 with Young. It's a mix of dance and weight movements that are timed out per song. This class targets every part of your body and I liked the weighted arm movements, plus the addition of moving squats and core work.

I found the 20 and 30-minute class options particularly helpful during hectic workdays when I didn't have much time to squeeze in a quick workout. Core 30 was my go-to; it incorporated various standing moves, mat work and weighted movements, all targeting my core in different ways. The following day, my abs were sore in places I didn't know they could be!

What I liked about it

The instructor's body types and backgrounds are as diverse as the platform's offerings, making this platform feel fresh, current and inclusive.

As someone who came of age in the early 2000s when the beauty standard was size 00, I greatly appreciated taking classes with Jazzercise On Demand instructors who represent a variety of body types. The instructors are as diverse as the platform's offerings, making this platform feel fresh, current and inclusive.

The emphasis on proper form is evident in each workout, especially where weighted movements are concerned. Instructors take the time to explain where you should feel the movement and where you shouldn't, making it easy to adjust your form and avoid injury — something extremely important when it's just you and the screen.

If you're starting to get back into a workout routine, Jazzercise On Demand's program offerings make it easy to know how and where to start. While the workouts will challenge you, the movements and pace are accessible enough for absolute beginners.

You can also save your favorite classes and build your own playlist of workouts. I appreciated having this option, as it made it easy to go back to the workouts that I liked.

I liked incoporating hand weights into the dance moves for extra toning.

What I didn't like about it

If you're an adrenaline junkie looking for your next fitness thrill, Jazzercise On Demand isn't it. The workouts are challenging enough that if you stick to them consistently, you will see results as far as toning goes. But if you're already in shape and want something new to level up your at-home workouts, you may want to explore other options.

Overall, the new digital platform feels current and up to date — but I'd be lying if I said that some of the dance moves don't make you feel just a little bit cheesy. As someone with no shame, this didn't personally bother me much. But if you take yourself seriously, this workout may not be the right fit for you.

I would recommend this workout to:

  • Beginners looking to start a new workout routine
  • Anyone who wants to improve their form when exercising
  • People looking for weekly workout plans
  • Those looking to add some fun and novelty into their practice
  • Cheesy dance move enthusiasts