In the boutique fitness world, boxing has definitely attained contender status.
Workout buffs—from body builders to models (hi, Gigi Hadid)—swear by its ability to deliver a quick, efficient one-two punch when it comes to both calorie-burning and muscle-building. In New York City, training spots like Gotham Gym, Mendez Boxing, and Church Street Boxing have become bona fide destinations. And if you’re more of a group fitness junkie, there are now studios all over the city where you can jab-cross-hook—no matter your level of experience.
Here, in alphabetical order, are the seven best boxing workout classes to sweat—and release stress—in right now.
Former pro boxer Michael Olajide, Jr. was ahead of his time, in terms of bringing boxing to the fitness class masses. He opened Aerospace in 2004 and it was an instant success. Victoria’s Secret Angels (think Adriana Lima) and runway hopefuls alike rely on Olajide to get them primetime-ready—and the classes for, you know, non-celebs are no joke either. Expect punching sequences interrupted by toning moves and a lot of jumping rope. Regulars make double-unders look like child’s play.
Aerospace, 121 W.. 27th St., New York, NY 10001, 212-929-1640, aerospacenyc.com
2. The DogPound
Known for its personal training and celeb following (noticing a trend here?), The DogPound recently opened its first dedicated studio in Tribeca, where it added a group boxing program designed by former pro boxer Regilio Benito Tuur. Class size is small and the focus is on really mastering proper technique. You’ll start with slow shadowboxing, speed up as you catch on, and then move to hitting pads with a trainer or partner. Throughout, there are boxer conditioning exercises like squats, burpees, crunches, and jumping rope. Know before you go: They don’t allow jewelry in the ring (I even had to take out my nose ring), and if you’re late, there are penalties like burpees.
The DogPound, 1 Renwick St., New York, NY 10013, 646-620-6533, thedogpound.com
If PBR is your post-workout beverage of choice, Overthrow is probably for you. Housed in a building steeped with counter-culture history, it’s like the dive bar of the boxing scene (minus the fact that nothing there is cheap…) with gritty decor, few amenities, and dark basement classes that pair conditioning and shadowboxing with lots of heavy bag work (where you share bags with your classmates). And yes, certain classes end with booze.
Overthrow, 9 Bleecker St., New York, NY 10012, 646-705-0332, overthrownyc.com
4. PACT Park
Created by reality TV stars (and former Barry’s Bootcamp trainers) Layla Luciano and Jay Centeno, PACT Park mixes boxing with MMA combos using a futuristic machine called a Nexersys in place of a heavy bag. A grid of pads in front of you are marked with Xs—so you know exactly where to punch, knee, and kick—and the pads retract slightly to absorb impact. You’ll also do body-weight strength training on Lynx boards, using sliders for moves that emphasize balance, coordination, and mobility. The only downside is that PACT doesn’t have a permanent home yet. In the meantime, classes are currently offered at Lululemon’s Hub Seventeen.
PACT Park, pactpark.com
Shadowbox was the first brand to bring the classic boutique fitness vibe—think SoulCycle or Barry’s Bootcamp—to boxing. You’ll get the loud music, dark room with mood lighting, and charismatic instructors you’re used to while punching your very own numbered heavy bag (reserved for you like your spin bike or treadmill at other spots). Classes feature body-weight conditioning like squats and push-ups in between punches. In other words, a workout that pushes you till you’re dripping in sweat—but is still accessible. Plus, amenities: pretty, stocked locker rooms, swank decor…you get the picture.
Shadowbox, 28 W. 20th St., New York, NY 10001, 646-666-0756, shadowboxnyc.com
This expansive studio in Hell’s Kitchen probably offers the most grueling workout of the bunch, with boxing combos and tough conditioning drills—including plenty of plyometrics—that make it feel more like a high-intensity bootcamp in which you happen to be wearing gloves. When you’re tired at the end, you finish with core work on the floor until your body is completely exhausted. And just getting there is a workout in and of itself: It’s far west on Tenth Avenue.
Title Boxing Club, 455 W. 37th St., New York, NY 10018, 212-564-1700, newyorkcity.titleboxingclub.com
Lots of workout classes say they’re “great for all levels,” but Work Train Fight really delivers on that point. There are sequences that push the dedicated regulars (you’ll be able to tell who they are), but break down punching combos in a way that helps beginners learn to execute them too. While you can try classes that focus exclusively on boxing, another class, Box WORK, combines shadowboxing with a circuit training format (just like most of the others on this list). Expect rounds of Bosu burpees, kettlebell swings and lifts, and medicine ball throws—and practicing your punches on heavy bags or pads with a trainer. It’s a tough hour, but you can easily go at your own pace and the instructors bring great energy to the experience.
Work Train Fight, 636 Broadway #204, New York, NY 10012, 646-727-4660, worktrainfight.com
Want to try out a class without feeling like you scream ‘boxing newbie’? Here’s how to throw punches with perfect form. And if intensity is what you’re after, check out the seven hardest workout classes in New York City.