This Rumble Boxing Studio review is part of our Class Action, FLEETSTREET’s workout review series. We get sweaty to give you the low-down on what the workouts are really like.
To be honest, I was a bit intimidated walking into the Rumble Boxing Studio in Yorkville. There were people lifting heavy at one end and others hitting with pads in a boxing ring at the other. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been to box-fit classes. I’m able to follow along with a punching sequence. In fact, boxing cardio was my first-ever workout class when I was in high school. It was in front of a punching bag that I decided going to my local women’s gym, aimlessly hopping from one weight station to the next wasn’t for me. I’d rather follow the lead of an instructor and feed off the energy of a class than check off a list of exercises. So, that’s why I chinned-up and walked through the doors. Rumble felt like a real boxing gym, though very upscale. More on that below.
The brand: Rumble Boxing Studio
Rumble Boxing Studio opened its first spot in Calgary in 2016, founded by Cissy Chen. Now officially a “chain,” it has two locations in Calgary, two in Vancouver, and it just opened its fifth spot this year in Toronto. And that’s the location where I got to take a Rumble class.
Chen has been quoted time and time again, saying that she built the space to be where “fight club meets night club.” Essentially, she felt that boxing could have the same energy vibes as a spin class, and she expanded the boutique fitness market in her hometown of Calgary. And the pandemic and lockdowns gave the brand the time to build a franchise business, with plans to grow the location list further, even beyond the Canadian borders.
So what does Rumble Boxing Studio offer?
First, what I was in the studio to experience: The Rumble heavy bag high-intensity interval training (HIIT) class. Housed behind a heavy door, the blacklight-lit room is filled with at least 50 boxing stations. I was at bag 45 and there was at least another row behind me (it was dark!).
Second, there’s personal training and bootcamp classes. This is the one corner of heavy lifters I was telling you about. Turns out, it was one-on-one and small group training. I mean, if I’m going to lift weights or punch somebody in a ring, I’d rather do it under the supervision of a professional. So that makes sense.
Third, it also certifies boxing and fitness trainers.
The workout – Rumble Signature Heavy Bag Class
The lights go out and each spot has its own mini spotlight. The bags are a few feet apart, but it makes sense to stay in a rhythm with the neighbours squared around you.
The heavy bag class is 50 minutes long. The one I took started out with a warmup, and the cardio punching and kicks intensified, as did the music and the lights. Then there was an abs part, another punching bit and then free-styling on the bags, a cool down and stretch.
The punches and kicks are numbered, and the instructor yells out the combos amidst the blaring music, which can be tough to hear through the beats (the musical ones, not the bags) even with the microphone. It’s at this moment when I realized how important it is to pay attention to those around me. If not to stay in sync but to also stay within our workout areas. And you stick to your workout station – no moving around the room, which is nice in this post-pandemic fitness world.
If you have wraps and gloves, bring ’em. Otherwise you can rent a pair for $2. I opted for my own because, honestly, I cannot stand the stench from used boxing gloves. The staff at Rumble reassured me that they use a special sanitizer that aerates their gloves clean, and they “don’t use vinegar like most boxing gyms.” I stuck with my own Everlast pair, so you would have to take their word for it.
We tried it
I’ve been to more than my fair share of boxing classes (yes, I even hit up boxing classes in Paris). And, each has their own boxing style, which I’ve hitched to the owner’s or the instructor’s training or personality. I always have to flex my mental muscle trying to unlearn combos that were ingrained in me from a previous studio.
Rumble’s boxing moves are numbered: One, left jab; two, right jab; three, left hook; four, right hook; five, left uppercut; you get it. It’s dead simple to follow. Even though I had to play catch-up – rookie mistake of showing up at the start of class and having to wrap my hands during the warm up – I didn’t feel that I missed a beat or punch.
The abs workout was intense and explained why boxers have abs – in addition to protecting their inner organs from body blows and to keep their balance as they dance around the ring. The compound ab moves, like starfish crunches and elevator planks, keep the intensity of the workout up, even though we moved to the floor.
If you don’t know proper form, my tip is to lean away from cueing up from your neighbour and peek between the bags at the instructor. They demonstrate the moves first, then do the workout, too. So, before you commit to a position on the floor, make sure you have visibility.
Who would love Rumble’s Heavy Bag Class? Anyone who enjoys a fast-paced class and wants to lengthen their cardio workouts outside of the typical ways of running or spinning. The strength stuff is there, too. But this is definitely a heart-pumping class. Rumble says a class can burn up to 700 calories.
The signature class is also good for boxing newbies. You could take its beginner class, but I don’t think that’s necessary. The number callouts for punches are easy to follow.
That said, not all will appreciate it though. If you love trying new things, are motivated by keeping up with the energy of a room and loud music, then this is worth trying. If you left the nightclub scene for reasons outside of just wanting to go to bed sooner (iow, don’t love the music or strobe lights), you may want to stick to Pilates or yoga. That’s not to say you can’t appreciate boxing if you like those things, but know what you want from a fitness studio atmosphere. Especially when you walk into the Rumble room.
Rumble Boxing Studio, rumbleboxing.com, unlimited workouts for $299 a month; drop-in class for $35; 5 classes for $175; 10 classes for $320; first class is free; other packages available for bootcamps and personal training; booking through MindBody app.