Class Review: Shadowbox

A few weeks ago I found myself needing a change in my workout routine and was full of a lot of energy that needed to be expelled. I've never been one to scream into a pillow so punching a bag seemed like a good outlet for my blahs. I was right.

Studio: (Flatiron location

When you walk in, you are met by a lovely front desk staff. There is a small coffee bar and a ring used for private lessons. The space is airy and bright, and though it isn't actually that big, doesn't feel cramped. There are locker rooms and though I can only speak for the women's, I imagine the men's is similar. Inside you find lockers, sink, shower, toilet (I'm now blanking on if there are 1 or 2 showers and toilets, I want to say 2 of each, particularly as there's a double sink), and all the goodies you need (soap, hair ties, plastic bags, hand sanitizer, etc.). My only complaint about the locker rooms is that they are TINY. That said, it doesn't bother me so much as I use a locker outside the locker room and just scoot in after class (along with everyone else) to wash my hands, after 10 rounds your hands will NOT smell like roses, or anything you want attached to your body.

The classroom itself has a bit of a funhouse feel. Two sides are mirrored and it's lit with black lights. That said, once you figure out where your bag is (easy since they're labelled at the top and right outside the door they post the layout with the names from the class roster filled in - so smart!) and get situated, you get in the zone. Because of the layout and fact that Shadowbox uses long bags, not all spots have a great view. In fact, when you book your bag, the spots with the best view are marked. For your first time, it's good to find a bag that has a good view. After that, a partial view is ok, though in the two classes I've taken, the instructors are pretty available and walk around a bit so if you're totally lost, you will be found or you can just waive him/her over.

Hipster coffee shop or a boxing studio?

Hipster coffee shop or a boxing studio?


I've taken classes with Julian (twice) and Rad (once). Both were A+ on the approachability, energy, and having fun scale. Personally, I've liked Julian more and so long as my bursitis/back are fully calm, am hoping to get in another class with him this week. I like the way that Julian structures his class and that he gives combinations that are inspired by actual fighters which makes me feel like a) there's a purpose to the movement and b) I'm a badass. Julian counts and goes through the combination as you're doing it in a rhythm that sticks in my head. Rad gives it out a few times at the start but for whatever reason, I have a harder time with his combos and since he doesn't really revisit it as much, I just can't get it to stick. Music and motivation were pretty equal, though I think ultimately Julian's class was harder. But, like anything, what works for me may not work for you. 


Class: (All three classes I've taken are the 60 min. TKO aka Total Knock-Out.)

Class begins without gloves. You do a warmup that includes a mix of squat jumps, burpees, mountain climbers, lunges, jumping jacks, and high knees. It's tough but I promise it sounds way more intimidating than it is. After the warm-up, you go into shadowboxing which basically means that you are doing the movements sans gloves and without actually touching the bag. For this portion, you use 1 lb hand weights. Next up is usually bag work. From here you'll alternate rounds on the bag with rounds of cardio boosts (think more burpees, jumping jacks, etc.) and an ab section.  

Art is everywhere, like on the wall at Shadowbox.

Art is everywhere, like on the wall at Shadowbox.


Bottom Line:

For someone whose workouts are usually more leg heavy, my first class was filled with what one of my favorite trainers calls "Oh shit moments." My arms felt like lead during the last ladder sequence of my first class and I felt it for three days. I wouldn't say that it necessarily gets easy, but with each class I get better at the punches and feel more confident in my movements and can start engaging my body properly. In theory it is a full-body workout and while I definitely end class drenched, I know that I'm not yet using all of my muscles as I should, but it will come. If you're looking to master boxing technique, this isn't your class. But, if you're looking for a challenging, fun workout then this might be your bag (pun very much intended). 

Have you tried Shadowbox/other boxing workouts?