I’d heard a lot about KOBOX and it’s been high on my list of places to try. With the tagline “Fight Club meets Nightclub” and situated smack bang in the middle of Kings Road, it’s currently one of the hottest places to train in London.
KOBOX call their instructors “Entertrainers” and the bio page of their website boasts a smorgasbord of ex-professional sportsmen, tv celebs and fitness models. Their approach is clearly as much about fun as it is working out. I booked in for an upper body session with Jay: “An actor. A centrefold. A Beast.”
What They Say:
London’s first boutique boxing club.
KOBOX offers high intensity boxing based classes in a bespoke studio setting. Combining heavy bag boxing routines with functional strength training in a Fight Club meets Nightclub environment. At KOBOX you will get fit, without getting hit!
At KOBOX we don’t just change bodies, we change minds. Inspirational instructors, a bespoke studio setting and a nightclub standard sound system create an environment where first time boxers and seasoned athletes alike can let loose, clear their minds and empower themselves with an attitude that is born in the studio and lives far beyond its walls.
On arrival, the receptionists were friendly and I was given some padded gloves, a pair of boxing gloves and a towel. I was directed to the lockers and changing rooms and told to hang out by the bar a few minutes before class to be shown the ropes (boom – see what I did there?).
There were lots of nubile bods hanging around the main area and an instructor was being fawned over by 3 girls in reception… already this felt a bit like a nightclub, but with a far higher female:male ratio and a protein shake bar instead of cocktails. A good looking and ripped male friend of mine comes here from time to time, and I’m not sure he comes entirely for the workout… fellas, this seems like a great place to pick up chicks.
The studio itself is a darkly lit room with 18 punchbags hanging from the ceiling and plates, dumbbells and med balls dotted around. The punchbags and wall spots are numbered and you’re given your spot when you book, so everyone knows exactly where to go when the class starts. No faff time – I liked it before we’d even begun!
Our Entertrainer, Jay, gave me and the one other newbie a rundown of the numbered punches (there are 6… pretty easy to remember) before the class started. Essentially, throughout the class you’ll either be on a bag or on the wall. When you’re on the bag you follow a sequence of punches which are projected on the wall in case you forget what you’re doing. When you’re on the wall you’ll be doing different moves called out by the instructor as you go. Half the class are on each station at a time, a clever use of space. My class was fully booked with 36 people (overwhelmingly female), but didn’t feel overcrowded.
We started off with a quick warm up then got straight into it. The bouts on the bag (very therapeutic) were interspersed with floor sequences involving push ups, sit ups, mountain climbers, plate to overhead, bicep curls, dumbbell fly… to name a few. This was an upper body class and it was bloody tough! I went for the heavy options on the dumbbell and plate and regretted it a couple of minutes later as I was trying to hold on through gritted teeth.
After a solid 45 minutes of punching, pressing and pulling, we got to the “BEASTMODE” section of the workout: a final few minutes of all out punching mixed with an awesome combo of burpees, bear crawls and push ups… as Jay yelled over the music “this’ll fry your body like eggs on a Sunday!” we got a last pounding sweat on before cooling down with a quick stretch and heading out into the night.
The class was fun, different and I got a cracking workout. The instruction is definitely more of the cheerleader variety, and the only thing I felt it missed was actual coaching of the movements – hard to do in that environment, but there were some slightly sketchy body positions around the room in some of the weighted movements and it would’ve been awesome to see some pointers and corrections.
Overall, it was a great workout, I got a good sweat on and couldn’t eke out another press up if I tried by the end. On different days of the week they do lower body, full body and ab targeted classes, so you know what you’re getting before you turn up.
The tagline is spot on. This was fun and felt like hitting the town without the hangover. It was a challenging workout which could be scaled to suit any level. The music was awesome, and it really did feel like being in a club – better though, cos you can wear lyrca and strip off when you get hot! Next time I’ll wear neon so I glow under the uv light!
Where: KOBOX, Kings Road SW3
Cost: First timer (2 classes and a set of boxing straps) £25. Thereafter classes can be bought individually or in packs, ranging from £14-£20.
How to book: http://www.koboxlondon.com