Photo by Tiko Aramyan
Can you name one of the fitness industry’s latest trends? Boutique boxing studios. The sport has gone from a dark, dingy basement a la the David Fincher film Fight Club to well-lit, amenity-packed boutique fitness studios. Slip on a pair of gloves, wait for the music to come on and be prepared for a sweat-drenched, intense boxing workout designed to work every muscle.
Hit House | New York
Located on Spring Street and Bowery, Hit House is a Muay Thai studio in Manhattan’s NoLita neighborhood. In case you’re not familiar, Muay Thai translates to “Thai Boxing” and is, you guessed it, Thailand’s traditional martial art. The difference between this and traditional boxing? Besides just punching, you also can kick, knee and elbow according to Hit House’s Facebook page.
But don’t worry about becoming a cold-hearted boxer. Hit House’s slogan says it all: “Be a Lover and a Fighter.” Hit House offers a private studio, showers and a gorgeous main brick-walled gym. Before class, slip off your shoes (you can wear socks if you like), don your gloves and hand wraps (available for purchase and rent) and fill up your water bottle. Hit House provides a chilled and filtered water station. One highlight here? “The Bishop.” The Bishop is a hybrid heavy bag/fight dummy designed exclusively for Hit House that students strike all during class. It connects from floor to ceiling, is filled with soft foam and is covered in a matte vinyl—meaning that you won’t bruise, and it won’t hurt to strike the bag.
The 50-minute class starts with an active warm up, and then an instructor will teach you how to properly execute jabs, crosses, hooks, uppercuts, kicks, knees and elbows. You’ll then perform combinations of these moves that you’ll work on throughout class. During class, the instructor will assist and push you, and class will end with a stretch. You should expect improved gains in your cardio, strength and striking.
Chicago Thai Kickboxing Club
Chicago Muay Thai Kickboxing Club | Chicago
Opened in 2011, Chicago Muay Thai Kickboxing Club hopped on the boutique boxing studio trend early. An exclusive Muay Thai gym, the kickboxing club has two locations in metro Chicago’s Lincoln and Portage Parks. What makes this place stand out? The focus and dedication to good technique. Instructors take the time to educate students on how to executive each move and why. This studio offers six different classes ranging from beginner to professional.
The gym recommends students start with a fundamentals class so they can learn the basics along with proper technique. During a fundamentals class, expect to learn a broad coverage of Muay Thai fundamentals, a challenging full-body cardio workout and cardio conditioning drills. As clients progress, they can tackle more advanced moves and even spar in a ring. The 5,000-square-foot Clybourn Avenue studio features a state-of-the-art 16-foot boxing ring and garage doors that open in the summertime for open air training. Separate locker rooms with showers are available for men and women.
Jabz Boxing Fitness for Women
Jabz Boxing Fitness for Women | Phoenix . Tucson . Philadelphia
Battle of the sexes? Not so much at Jabz Boxing Fitness, an Arizona-based franchise that only allows women. Designed for all fitness levels, classes are limited to just 16 women each to ensure each student receives attention from the instructor. Each class starts with a 10-minute warmup that includes rowing, shadow boxing, jump ropes and speed bag work. A certified Jabz Trainer will demo the exercises and then students will get sweat-drenched during a 37-minute class featuring a fast-moving, full-body, high-intensity boxing inspired circuit. Class ends with a five-minute cooldown. Studios are well-lit and can feature walls painted bright pink, a fully functioning boxing ring, upper cut bags and speed bags.
Shadowbox | New York . Dallas . Chicago
Founded in 2015, New York-based Shadowbox studios are downright gorgeous. Think well-lit, bright white walls complemented by a wood counter in the lobby and doors in the bathroom. The flagship studio in the Flatiron includes a vintage boxing ring for private training sessions and a Ringside Café with made-to-order coffee and matcha drinks.
Each studio bag room features ambient lighting, a state-of-the-art sound system and an individual, assigned heavy bag. ShadowBox offers eight different classes. During the standard 45-minute class that’s led by a boxing-trained instructor, clients start with a dynamic warmup, two technique-focused shadowboxing rounds and seven to eight rounds on your own—all synced to upbeat music. Locker rooms are equipped with products from SBX’s official line from Public Goods, organic feminine care products from LOLA and RECESS aloe vera wipes so customers can wipe sweat off post class.
BoxUnion | Santa Monica . Robertson, CA
BoxUnion classes are often described as a “party on a bag.” Translation? Expect a high-energy, music-driven, 45-minute full body boxing workout that combines cardio, shadow boxing, plyometrics and individual bag training, The classes encourage clients to box to the beat, find their flows. BoxUnion is designed to help clients “reach their full potentials,” and the workout is structured to be totally engrossing and meditative.
BoxUnion offers three classes: signature classes, a beginner form and footwork class and a private one-on-one champion training class. Look forward to a modern, inviting space complete with a neutral-colored bathroom, a tiled wall proclaiming “Hook to the Beat” with a palm tree in the background, a bag room with a farmhouse ceiling and a well-lit lobby with the company’s logo behind the desk.