Written by Caroline Aksich and Karolyne Ellacott
Drop Boxing is doing for boxing what SoulCycle did for cycling: taking a serious sport and turning it into a King West friendly, one-hour sweat sesh. At Drop, every day of the week focuses on a different area of the body (Thursday, for instance, is booty and abs). We opt for the only full body option since we want as full an experience as possible.
Although Drop Boxing occupies 5,000 square feet, its snaking layout makes it feel more intimate. At the front, there is a welcome desk manned by a duo of chipper staff. They rent us gloves ($2). Wraps are also mandatory, and those must be purchased for $15. The wraps they’re selling aren’t typical boxing wraps, though, they are gel-padded gloves, which are easy to wear and require no prior boxing knowledge to tie (real wraps take a minute to master, and Drop is focused on making boxing accessible). We are then told where our assigned spots are, and shown them on a map.
The Drop Studio could pass for the newest IconInk nightclub. It’s dark, punctuated with flashing LED lights, and hip-hop beats throb overhead. On one side of the room, water bags hang from the ceiling. The other half has workout benches with dumbbells.
The instructor quickly runs through the six punches (jab, cross, left hook, right hook, and the two upper cuts). With the bass blaring, the group gets right into it. While half the room runs through their combos on the bags, the other half works through a series of bodyweight and dumbbell exercises (chalice squats, crunches, renegade rows, planks, etc.). The group switches back and forth from bags to benches three times.
I love a workout that makes me forget it’s a workout, and Drop delivered on that front — the class flew by! However, you’re definitely not going to become Rocky by training here. The bags are slightly too close together, so if you want to work on proper footwork, you’ll be stepping on your neighbour’s toes. If you know your punches, and you’re familiar with free weight exercises, it’s a good sweat sesh, though I didn’t find it particularly challenging. Mind you, for a fitness novice, I could see this being very overwhelming. I, however, had zero doms the next day.
Despite years of dancing in my youth, I’ve never been one to grasp a routine with ease. So only watching the instructor go through a routine once doesn’t quite cut it for me — especially with the loud music. I found myself struggling to remember the sets and was never sure if I was doing them correctly. The screens overhead showed icons of what we were to do, but the steps weren’t actually broken down. A more thorough visual aid would have been helpful. On the punching bag side I felt more successful, though remained unsure about my stance. Had the instructor not had her attention divided between groups, she may have had the chance to check my positioning and I could have pushed myself harder. Using spin as my benchmark, I was barely in a sweat post-workout and my face was just rosy, not fire engine rouge. This being said, my abs only stopped hurting one week later. In the end, I got a pretty decent workout.
What: Drop Boxing
Fun Factor: 9/10
Sweat Level: 7.5/10
Calories burned: 417
Max heart rate: 172
Duration: 50 minutes
Cost: Starting at $28 a class