Part of what made the Skinny Bitch Collective a fitness craze in London was the air of exclusivity that the cheekily named workout cultivated (think: invitation-only classes filled with models and celebs). But now founder Russell Bateman is opening up the guest list to the rest of us, offering two quick—but seriously challenging—do-anywhere workouts featuring SBC’s signature high-intensity, animalistic, let-your-inner-cavewoman-out moves.
What to expect? “SBC isn’t your average workout,” says Bateman. “It’s an experience.”
And he’s not exaggerating. I attended a recent SBC class in New York City, and it was like HIIT on steroids. Although it started with everyone in a circle, arms raised, hands together, and hips swaying to the music (easy enough), the workout went into explosive primal mode before I could raise a (sweaty) eyebrow. By the end of the class, I was doing things I had never attempted before—including running around a studio with a 130-pound woman on my back.
Through the entire session, Bateman—over 6 feet tall and blessed with ridiculously sculpted cheekbones—was a commanding presence over the group, shouting out commands, some potty mouthed, some par for the course, that kept things moving at a breakneck pace.
My limbs were trembling for a good hour or two after the class, and I couldn’t really move for the rest of the day. But I also felt super strong, and a sense of accomplishment that I don’t often get with just any boot camp. Perhaps it helped to be united in a circle of spandex-clad women, holding hands and doing jumping lunges together with no option but to power through—it’s pretty hard to be that girl who stops when it’s such a collective experience.
But the British trainer, who worked with athletes before becoming a cult fave among the model-celeb set, is quieter outside of the studio—and believe it or not, he didn’t mean to be controversial with the workout’s name, which I had to call him on, or its edgy, button-pushing Instagram.
“Controversy can only last so long before people realize there is a real spine and inspiring tactic to what I’ve created,” notes Bateman, who has said the name came from his friend who would continually ask if he was training the ‘skinny bitches again.’ Arguably offensive moniker aside, what he really wants is for people to realize the power of his workouts. “There’s nothing like SBC out there.”
At SBC, “there’s no real set format, just like in life,” Bateman says—and always keeps his students on their toes, with bear crawls one minute and upside-down mountain climbers with your feet on the wall the next (these are in fact as crazy as they sound). “Exercise is the same as anything else,” Bateman says. “If you don’t change it up, your mind will get bored so easily.”
Ready to experience SBC? Try the exclusive workouts below, which you can do anywhere in just 12 minutes.
The Skinny Bitch Collective’s six-minute arm and core workout
“Both [moves] are explosive signature movements from our classes that really test your fitness and ability to move in dynamic ways,” says Bateman of the can-can kicks and what he dubs the “bitch slap.” (Yes, I grimaced at the name too.)
How to: Your fitness level determines the time you spend doing each move—30 seconds if you’re a beginner, 60 seconds if you’re intermediate, and 90 seconds if you’re advanced. Do the first move as many times as possible during that amount of time; then do the same for the second move. Take a 30 second break. That’s one set—repeat each set 4-5 times.
The Skinny Bitch Collective’s six-minute leg workout
“The single-leg burpee with a twist requires coordination and balance, alongside single-leg strength,” says Bateman of this SBC (seriously difficult) move. “Working legs unilaterally [AKA one at a time] really increases strength and power when you’re performing squats or deadlift movements in your program,” says Bateman.
How to: Same as above—do the first move as many times as possible for 30, 60, or 90 seconds (depending on your skill level); then do the same for the second move. Take a 30 second break. Repeat 4-5 times.