The first thing you’ll notice when you walk into The DogPound’s buzzy, brand-new home on Canal Street in Manhattan is that nearly everyone in the space—from owner to trainer to clients—is wearing the brand’s block-lettered logo, and it’s just the first sign of the devotion the brand inspires. The energy in the space is like a hot new restaurant’s. Everyone seems to know each other and to hang around long after their sweat sessions are over.
“We want this place to feel like a team, like a family,” says trainer Dara Hartman. It helps that a few of them are, in fact, family.
Let me explain. At the center is Kirk Myers, the trainer who started it all, by leading Hugh Jackman, Nigel Barker, and other high-profile dudes through group workouts in the West Village. Myers, who’s originally from Kansas City, had developed an elite roster of private clients and started partnering with other trainers he met at Gotham Gym. First, the brothers: Breylis and Dawin Pena, later joined by third brother Dennis (who started out as a coffee and Instagram helper before joining the training crew).
In their new home, they’ve added additional trainers, including women (yay!) like Hartman, but the sense of a brotherhood prevails, and the vibe and workouts they’ve created seem somehow charmed. Vogue, for instance, ran an Instagram-based story on the many models working out there, like Romee Strijd, three weeks before construction on the space was even finished.
We stopped by the DogPound to get a sneak peek inside, try out the new boxing program, and find out more.
Located on the West end of Canal Street near Hudson Square, the DogPound’s home is no-frills, with just one open space filled with all kinds of gym equipment and a boxing ring in the front, facing storefront windows. It has a minimalist-cool look (expect lots of black, white, and grey) and few amenities—just metal lockers to stash your stuff in while you sweat.
“It’s very goal-specific,” says Myers, of the personal training style that forms the core of the DogPound’s business. Myers says every session is tailored to the individual, but they do offer one signature workout, the Machine Gun Method, that’s a style of HIIT that eschews repetition.
And unless you pay a premium to work with a specific trainer, they rotate clients among members of the team to keep people “on their toes” and maintain the community feel. “The focus is to really support our clients together and be a collective team,” Hartman says. It’s a sweet message underscoring a demanding approach, given the ripped physiques surrounding you.
In the new space, the DogPound is offering group classes for the first time. After realizing how effective and popular boxing was, he says, Myers brought in former Olympic boxer Regilio Benito Tuur to create a class program.
“What I’ve done is I’ve taken the technical and competitive aspects of boxing and applied it to fitness,” Tuur says. “You want to learn a little bit about boxing, but you want to get a good workout. I kept that authenticity in it, while kicking your ass—and custom-made for DogPound.”
Classes, which max out at 12 and are usually much smaller, focus on breaking down proper technique before you start throwing punches. As you learn good form, you increase your shadowboxing speed, and then practice punching pads with the trainer or a partner. (You’ll be required to take off all jewelry, by the way, “in case you get punched in the face,” Pena told me, with a smirk.) And between punch combos, there’s typical boxing class conditioning work, like jumping rope, burpees, and jump squats, so you’ll be pushed to your physical limits by the end of the session.
As clients get better at technique, the team will add more advanced level classes to the schedule, too. Which may happen pretty quickly, since no one seems to want to take off their flat-brimmed DogPound hats and leave.
See why top fashion models are hitting up boxing workouts all over and what Karlie Kloss does to break a sweat in a week.