Long Island City boasts roughly two dozen gyms and fitness studios, most of which offer multiple classes. Wading through the hundreds of available classes to find the most intriguing is a workout in and of itself. Here, we single out some of what we consider the most unusual, intriguing, and challenging.
36-42 37th Street (between 36th and 37th Avenues)
Choice class: Bell OCR. “OCR” stands for obstacle course race, but if you think this class consists solely of running around pylons and vaulting the occasional horse, think again. Competitive obstacle courses can encompass everything from scaling walls while carrying a 30-pound pack to crawling under barbed wire, and this class aims to prepare you for any and all possibilities. The routines of each class vary, but you can expect burden runs, exercises to improve grip strength, long-duration conditioning, core training, lifting, hurdling, rope climbing—in short, a bit of everything.
Other offerings: Judo, Olympic-style weightlifting, and high-intensity interval training are among the other classes Bell Fitness offers. Kids as young as three can take part in CrossFit Kids. And if you overdo it in class, you can sign up for an acupuncture session, a recovery pump treatment, or kinesiology taping.
46-01 Fifth Street (at 46th Avenue)
Choice class: Movement. You know how satisfied a dog or cat looks after a good stretch? Here is your chance to feel a similar sense of satisfaction. This 45-minute, low- to moderate-intensity class guides you in the proper way to stretch your muscles throughout your body, using foam rollers, resistance bands, stability balls, suspension trainers, and your own body weight.
Other offerings: In addition to teaching a variety of cardio, lifting, toning, and boxing classes, Beyond Movement offers personal training, and members can take advantage of the open studio, equipped with weights, punching bag, and other equipment.
23-10 41st Avenue (between 23rd and 24th Streets)
The LIC outpost of Brooklyn Boulders. Image: Alex Graziano/Brooklyn Boulders
Choice class: Intro to Climbing. If you already know how to rock-climb, you can skip this session and head straight to Brooklyn Boulders’ climbing walls. Otherwise, you will want to take this hour-long class, in which you will learn how to climb with and without ropes.
Other offerings: The colorful rock walls are the primary draw, but the 25,000-square-foot facility includes cardio equipment and weights. Day passes are available as well as membership programs.
53-21 Vernon Boulevard (off 53rd Avenue)
Choice class: Flying Trapeze. If watching “The Greatest Showman” reignited your childhood fantasies of soaring through the air with the greatest of ease, keep in mind that stars Zendaya and Zac Efron learned their aerial skills here.
Cyr wheel instruction is among the classes available at Circus Warehouse. Image: Rainer Halama/Wikimedia
Other offerings: It is difficult to single out one noteworthy class from Circus Warehouse’s roster, which includes contortion, Chinese pole, handstands, juggling, and Cyr wheel. Not only do circus professionals train here, but pros—including Cirque de Soleil alums—also make up much of the faculty. What’s more, Dzul Dance Company, which incorporates modern, indigenous, and Latin American dance with acrobatics and aerial arts, shares the 8,000-square-foot space and offers classes too.
21-36th 44th Road (between 21st and 23rd Streets)
Choice class: Acroyoga Basics. As you no doubt surmised from its name, acroyoga combines the poses and postures of yoga with the balances and movements of acrobatics. The workout is more intensive than that of a typical beginner’s yoga class as well as more mindful than an average acrobatics session.
Other offerings: Founded in 2017, this studio brings an element of play into workouts. Other classes include Cosmic Yoga, which incorporates “antigravity poses”; an introduction to circus-style acrobatics, with emphasis on lifts, mounts, and dismounts; handstands; juggling; tai chi; and Cosmic Calisthenics. Parents can bring their kids ages two to eight to the Family Acrobatics and Open Play classes, where among other things you’ll learn to give your little ones safe but still fun “airplane rides.” On Tuesday evenings throughout the summer Cosmic Fit Club offers free yoga classes along the waterfront at Hunter’s Point South Park.
10-25 48th Avenue (between Vernon Boulevard and 11th Street)
Choice class: Muay Thai. Also known as Thai boxing or “the art of eight limbs,” Muay Thai uses elbows, knees, and shins as well as fists. In addition to jabs, hooks, and crosses, you will learn elbow chops and slashes, knee strikes, and straight, roundhouse, and jump kicks—and just as important, how to defend yourself against them. Classes are available for beginners and advanced students as well as for kids as young as six years old.
Other offerings: Hinds also teaches Brazilian jiu-jitsu, where the emphasis is on grappling and ground fighting, for adults and kids.
43-01 21st Street (at 43rd Avenue)
Choice class: Powerlifting. Competitive powerlifting entails three lifts: the bench press, the deadlift, and the squat. Those form the basis of JDI Barbell’s class, which begins with a warm-up and includes strength training and an overall workout. Students should have at least six months’ experience with some sort of weight training prior to enrolling; if you lack that, start with the Strength Groundwork class.
Other offerings: Focused exclusively on strength training, JDI also teaches Olympic-style weightlifting, which includes overhead movements. One-on-one coaching is available too.
50-09 Second Street (between 50th and 51st Avenues)
Choice class: Family Taekwondo. What better way to spend quality time together than learning how to kick and block?
Other offerings: Tiger J also offers classes just for kids and just for adults. Its Little Tiger program caters to tots three to five years old and teaches discipline as well as physical skills. Those interested in gaining a black belt can enroll in a three-year program where you will work with nunchucks and learn to break boards in addition to gaining sparring and self-defense skills.
10-14 47th Road (between Fifth Street and Vernon Boulevard)
Choice class: Yin and Restorative Yoga. Yoga is as much about balancing the mind as it is the body, and never is that more apparent than with yin and restorative yoga. In the former, poses are held from three to five minutes with the goal of cooling the body, improving circulation, and releasing physical and mental tension. With restorative yoga, poses are held for as long as 20 minutes while students focus on breathing. This class incorporates both.
Other offerings: The Yoga Room’s other yoga classes include Vinyasa, hot flow, and Iyengar. A variety of Pilates classes, such as mat classes and hot Pilates, are also taught, as is TYR Barre Fit. Expectant mothers can sign up for prenatal yoga or prenatal Pilates; postnatal Pilates is offered too, as are Mommy & Baby and Mommy & Toddler yoga sessions.