Wacky, Weird and Way Toning: A Report from the Front Lines of L.A. Fitness Trends
Hey, restless exerciser: We’re not saying you have to completely desert your cult-like devotion to your spin instructor or stop breathing deep with your favorite yogi. Since trying new exercises is not only fun, but also stretches and strengthens weak spots you’ve learned to compensate for, it’s worth a detour for you to try plyometrics, biohacking or Portuguese-inspired butt-building. Ready, set, sweat.
Rear-End Rehab at Bunda
The word bunda means “butt” in Portuguese, and it also means a killer workout that will leave your rear looking fantastic. Developed by a former Equinox instructor who decided that all the core-obsessed workouts in the world are forgetting to strengthen and shape our backsides, the hour-long classes alternate between floor exercises at stations where side channels allow you to put on slick socks (the better to make your backward lunges go deep) and eight-minute Stairclimber intervals where you walk up and sideways to grant 360-degree toning to your upper thighs and bum. It’s a demanding, refreshing way to back into a new figure.
8231 W. Third St., Ste C; 323-852-3355 or trainbunda.com
Your 2018 Thighmaster is at P.volve
Meet 2018’s answer to the Thighmaster (aka the hinged tension bar that made a boatload in the ’90s while inspiring a million punchlines). The new exercise tool to try is called the p.ball, a firm PVC ball attached to straps. You step into it then pull against it, push into it and feel your glutes and quads burning. Its physical therapist inventor has a studio in Manhattan where Victoria’s Secret models take his class, and he’s exploring a Los Angeles venue. Until then, you can take his classes via the app or an online streaming subscription.
Reverse-Engineering Workouts at The Wall
There’s a whole lot of posh going on at this brand-new workout spot on La Brea. Soaring-ceiling studios are spacious, every client gets a heart-rate monitor that tracks biometrics (um, calories burned) and lockers even have charging ports. But it’s the warm friendliness that seasoned fitness instructor Jason Wimberly and his team have for all comers that really sets this place apart. Wimberly’s enthusiasm for the signature 123STACK class (ten minutes of core, 20 minutes of weights and then 30 minutes of spin) makes the time fly—and his unique perspective on “turning inward,” like when he asked us all to close our eyes and lean forward while spinning, is a much-needed antidote to the external pressures of everything from L.A. traffic to the perfect obliques on the rider next to us.
730 S. La Brea Ave.; 323-847-5044 or thewallfitness.com
Leaning (Your Body) Out at Speir Pilates
This is not your mama’s easygoing, stretchy Pilates class. Instead, this newly expanded Santa Monica studio includes a fast-paced cardio-reformer class that has you bouncing around on a jumpboard for an additional calorie-burning boost (while the reformer moves build lean, danceresque muscle). The soaring space is filled with blond-wood equipment commandeered by the West Side’s most toned physiques (who shop for edgy Carbon38 outfits in the boutique after class).
1427 7th St. #102, Santa Monica; 310-260-4808 or speirpilates.com
Jumping for Joy at Knockout Studio
The Knockout Studio in Playa del Rey aims to be a dance studio that changes your life. So in addition to the funky Plyojam dance class (a high-energy jumping-centric good time), there are yoga nidra sessions, soundbaths and stretching classes that give proceeds to a different charity every week. Basically everything going on at this place is like something your cool friend told you about, and that you need to make time for.
177 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey; 310-927-7257 or knockoutla.com
10 Seconds to Strength at OsteoStrong
Not exactly a workout per se, Osteostrong is a “biohack,” which is the hip term for a self-directed body-based regimen that seeks to make you healthier. This set of four machines (developed by a bioengineer to help his mom’s osteoporosis) aims to make not your muscles but your bones grow stronger by quick, intense strain. A technician monitors you on each machine—you only need a ten-second push on each one to trigger bone growth for up to a week. While the science behind this seemed fuzzy to us, we were impressed by how much taller and stronger we felt after just one circuit. Not to mention relaxed, since the circuit includes stepping onto a vibration plate that loosens you up, reclining on a copper-threaded chaise wearing leggings that massage your legs and an eye mask that pulses brain-stimulating light as you lie back with eyes closed. Sounds kooky, right? Currently there are about 50 centers throughout the country and one just opened in West L.A., so it looks like the biohack revolution is getting its grassroots on.
12712 Washington Blvd.; 424-331-1404 or osteostrongla.com