Specialty Gyms of the Upper West Side
When running on the treadmill or taking yet another Pilates class no longer motivates you to don your exercise clothes, it may be time to try a different sort of workout. Fortunately the Upper West Side has numerous specialty gyms where you can engage in everything from rock climbing to fencing to krav maga.
21 West End Avenue (between 60th and 61st Streets)
Although the skyscraper-lined streets of Manhattan are sometimes dubbed the concrete canyons, the city does not offer much in the way of rock climbing. This is where Central Rock Gym comes in. The studio offers a solid 10,000 square feet of climbing surfaces dotted with grips and footholds; these are color-coded to delineate suggested trails for various levels of experience. Newbies can start out on the “bouldering” walls, which are appreciably shorter than the 40-foot-high walls of the rest of the space. If you take the introductory belay class, you can then climb the walls without needing to be roped by a staff member. Hour-long clinics help you improve your skills, and members can join the weekly adult climbing team as well.
250 West 100th Street (between Broadway and West End Avenue)
Krav maga was created in the 1940s as a self-defense and combat method for the nascent Israeli army. The same relative simplicity that makes this amalgam of boxing, wrestling, and street fighting easy for troops to learn also makes it appealing for those seeking an efficient workout. The instructors at Krav Maga Experts previously taught members of the Israel Defense Forces, so you can be sure you are learning the authentic techniques. In addition to open-level classes, there are sessions exclusively for women and for kids. Other classes, such as Fit-2-Fight, incorporate high-intensity interval training to provide a more strenuous workout.
103 West 73rd Street (between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues)
It is easy to get a kick out of the classes taught at Modern Martial Arts. The adult kickboxing classes focus at least as much on the martial-art, self-defense aspect of the sport as they do on the burning-calories element. Women can also opt for Hip+Fit Kickboxing, where you will learn the basics of the sport while getting a cardio workout to a hip-hop soundtrack. In addition, classes in Brazilian jiu-jitsu—an adaptation of judo with an emphasis on grappling and ground fighting—are led by a fifth-degree black belt in the sport, and kids can sign up for karate.
248 West 60th Street (between Amsterdam and West End Avenues)
Rupa Mehta borrowed aspects of aerobics, barre work, Pilates, resistance and strength training, and yoga to create the Nalini Method. As well as helping to increase energy, flexibility, and strength while toning muscles, classes aim to improve physical and emotional awareness. The signature workout includes stretching, a fair amount of barre work, squats, planking, yoga blocks, weights, and resistance bands—a little something for everyone, and for every muscle group.
55 Amsterdam Avenue (between 61st and 62nd Streets)
If your biggest issue with workout classes is that they are too long, you will appreciate the efficiency of the signature RX30 class: It promises to pack a full HIIT circuit’s worth of strength and endurance training into one fast-paced half-hour. Weights, resistance machines, kettle balls, and jump ropes are among the equipment that might be incorporated into any given session.
210 West 91st Street (between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway), Second Floor
Bronx native Tim Morehouse won a silver medal for saber, one of the three modern disciplines of fencing, in the 2008 Summer Olympics before opening his school, which now has branches in Westchester and Connecticut as well. In addition to kids’ sessions and invitation-only training, there are classes just for adults where novices are welcome, along with open-level, all-ages saber classes. Here is your chance to make your swashbuckling dreams a reality.
928 Columbus Avenue (between 105th and 106th Streets)
It is apparent from the studio’s name the classes you can expect to take here. The karate classes for adults are noncompetitive and begin with a warmup and a basics practice session before moving onto the various series of movements, known as the kata, that make up the martial art; pad work and sparring will likely be included as well. In addition, the studio offers karate classes that focus primarily on sparring. As with karate, the adult Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes open with a warmup and then progress to drilling and sparring. Children’s classes in both martial arts are also available.