By Michela DellaMonica, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL — The Cidade Maravilhosa is world-famous as a beach city, with the corresponding body and health-conscious culture to match. Recently, traditional sporting activity on the beaches of Zona Sul (South Zone) like volleyball, football (soccer) and surfing have been joined by a new wave, circuit training groups.

Beach Circuit Training, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Intense exercise in a beautiful setting on Flamengo Beach, photo by Flavia Mascarenhas/Circuito da Praia.

Beach circuit training workouts include a series of exercises and obstacles with the aid of elastic bands, exercise balls, cones and hula hoops. From Flamengo beach to Recreio, these workout tents have proven popular with a variety of fitness enthusiasts, from beginners to experienced athletes.

There are various programs in Flamengo, Leme, Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, São Conrado and Barra da Tijuca. Starting in the early evening before sunset, these exercise groups set up in the sand along the promenade in operations of differing sizes.

“About seventy percent of trainees are female,” said Thiago Porrozzi, instructor at Circuito da Praia in Flamengo. Yet that doesn’t mean men cannot benefit from this training program as there are different levels and devoted fitness professionals who help along the way.

Apart from the attraction of being in the open air surrounded by beautiful scenery, circuit training on the sand challenges different muscle groups than those used exercising at the gym. “It’s a workout that improves conditioning and aerobic endurance,” said Marcos Paulo, instructor at Varff another circuit training program held on Flamengo Beach.

Fitness Circuit Training on the Beach in Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
A group doing obstacle courses on the sand at Flamengo Beach, photo by Flavia Mascarenhas/Circuito da Praia.

For those bored with a traditional gym, even the equipment used during circuit training – like a 15kg sandbag strapped to the trainee’s back – should add some flavor to their training.

“I sit all day at my job and I always get bored at the gym,” says architect Fernanda Santos, adding “I tried circuit training once for free and immediately felt a difference in my thighs while being distracted with the different obstacles and courses that were involved.”

“Unstable terrain such as sand requires the trainee to use their stabilizing muscles of their back and abdomen,” emphasizes Professor Mariana Brito, a group instructor in Lagoa. “This technique gives firmness to the body and helps prevent injuries caused by sudden movements.” A 45 minute session can burn 400 to 600 calories, similar to an hour long spinning class.

The contractual sign-up is usually an easy and relatively informal process, and training is scheduled in the morning or evening, for an average monthly fee of R$120-R$150. There is also the option to try the circuit obstacles for free before purchasing a week or a month’s worth of training.

For an occasional workout routine, Saturday’s typically have special prices, ranging from R$60-R$80, but Sundays are usually rest days. The circuit training businesses appear to be entrepreneurial opportunities for the trainers as well, since the city of Rio does not charge taxes or fees for the use of public space.


  1. The beach training is great!!!! But the only problem is there is too much dysfunction and poorly executed exercises done by the clients. I like to watch the classes perform. As an exercise physiologist and biomechanics major this is dangerous. The teachers are not teaching how to move for performance. They are just providing the class. Like in America where musculoskeletal disorders, pain and injury are above 20 million a year, I see people hear running, jumping and squatting so poorly and can only imagine the statistics here. You only reinforce and strengthen poor mechanics and misalignment to the body in the class if you don’t teach people how to perform the exercises properly. As intensity and force goes up alignment posture and breathing well is an absolute necessary. It only contributes to risk of pain and injury.

  2. There’s absolutely nothing better than beach fitness training and doing it in Rio? How could anyone top that?! I’ve been to Rio de Janeiro a couples of years ago and tried beach training there and I gotta say that the excellent was amazing. I can’t wait to do it again.


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