Often I find myself heading uptown to try out a new workout. So I was surprised to find myself traveling south to check out the Kettleball Kickboxing™SoHo studio, located on Broadway just below Canal Street barely beyond the bustling of Chinatown.
I found a space for myself on the floor of a large mirror-lined classroom and set myself up with three kettleballs and a mat, the only equipment needed for the class. Dasha Libin, the instructor and developer of the Kettleball Kickboxing™ method, took the stage and explained that the class would combine martial arts and kettleball training for a female-only workout designed to make you lean, strong and fierce. Immediately I knew this would not be like the cardio kickboxing classes I took years ago.
After a quick warm-up, we learned our first kettleball move: swings. Swinging the kettleball seemed easy when I was watching the demonstration, but I was surprised to find that it took full-body effort to achieve; activating the core and legs helped stabilize the weight of the ball as it plunged downward and peaked at shoulder level height. The class alternated one minute of strength moves with the ball and cardio burst, such as burpees, plyometric jumping lunges and roundhouse kicks.
Within the first few rounds, the female-only method proved to be anything but girly. We did pushups from forearm plank to fully extended, lunges from the kneeling to standing lifting the ball overhead and countless variations of weighted squats. We finished with ab work using the ball as resistance. Rolling up to standing and lifting the ball overhead without using the arms not only engaged the abs, but also incorporated martial arts techniques. The moves were subtle but present throughout the class. By the end of the hour, I knew I was going to be very sore in a few days.
Dasha was funny and enthusiastic, and kept us motivated by letting us know exactly what we would achieve for our efforts: taut abs, tight glutes and lean legs. She also wasn’t shy about dropping four-letter words, imparting plenty of sass and attitude. She fully explained and demonstrated each movement, so I knew exactly what I was doing even though I have no martial arts, kettleball or boxing experience.
I loved that every movement incorporated several muscle groups so that my heart rate was up the entire class. While it was intense, I could push through the difficult exercises with the knowledge that it would all be over in 60 seconds—and Dasha kindly counted those seconds down.
The workout was different from every other strength workout I have tried. Weight workouts can often be boring in my opinion, working one muscle group at a time in endless reps. But this class was fully of variety and worked the whole body at once, keeping me engaged for the entire hour.
I was a little disappointed, though, that we ended the class without any stretching. After so much strength work, I was already feeling sore and tight and I wanted to lengthen out my muscles -- but I had to wait until I got home.
Nevertheless, I left intrigued by the intensity and energy of the class and look forward to going back to Kettleball Kickboxing™ for another round.
Kettleball Kickboxing™ is located at 394 Broadway, 3rd Fl. Prices range from $20 for a single class to $120 for an unlimited month. Your first class is free.