Switch Playground is one of the buzziest workouts in New York right now, and for good reason. The format is genuinely innovative and truly works students to their absolute maximum potential. Because of the high ratio of coach to students, the workout minimizes “dead time,” when students wait for explanations or move from station to station. If you want an effective, full-body workout that’ll leave you sore for days, definitely give this one a try.
Grades (1-10, 1 being the worst and 10 being the best)
Quality of workout: 7.5
Switch Playground is not for the faint of heart. The workout consists of a six-minute yoga flow warm-up followed by 20 stations, each lasting for two minutes. The stations consist of a variety of activities, but most are split into four 30-second sections (with the exception of running, rowing, and spinning). By my fifth station, I was already drenched in sweat. I found the class to be a pretty balanced mix of cardio and strength, with a number of stations devoted to arms, lower body, and core. My triceps in particular burned at the end of class!
There’s a coach assigned to every four stations, so there’s almost always someone available to help with form — although I definitely saw some people struggling. My concern with this workout is that it often moves too quickly for students to master the moves — with some stations, by the time you’ve got it, it’s time to get moving. Beginners would likely have a really hard time with this class — I know that I certainly wouldn’t have been able to get through it.
I also personally would’ve preferred the yoga flow to go at the end of class and not at the beginning. I see the purpose in setting an intention before the workout, but after class is when I really need the stretch! Otherwise, I find that the time was very efficiently used — more so than the Playground Experience at Equinox.
Size of class: large
I went to a 7:15 am class, and it was reasonably full, although not overcrowded. Registration maxes out at 40 people, but because of the setup of the room, size is never a problem Two people start at each station, and o you don’t bump into other students too much.
Quality of instructor (Steve Uria): 8
I’ve taken a class with Steve twice. He has great energy and is also really helpful with improving form and giving coaches pointers. However, his countdown can be really confusing to students who aren’t familiar with his style. The first time I took his class, I’m pretty sure I would’ve missed most of his cues without the help of the other coaches.
Each time I’ve been to this class, I’ve found the coaches to be extremely helpful and generally pleasant.
Difficulty level: hard
As mentioned before — this workout is HARD. Be prepared to challenge yourself, even if you’re extremely fit. The composition of the room was largely people who looked like they work out and had a decent balance between men and women — but one thing that most students had in common was that they looked strong. Because of how quickly the workout goes as well as the general difficult, I DO NOT recommend it unless you’ve been training for a while.
Studio quality: 6.5
The studio is well-located, just a few blocks from the Union Square subway. It’s clean and has state-of-the-art fitness equipment, and I think that they use the space efficiently. It loses points on two counts:
- The women’s locker room: First of all, some of the lockers are placed literally right next to the bathroom stall and shower, to the point that it’s impossible to open the door without hitting someone. The shower/participant ratio was also pretty bad given that the class was in the morning — there are only six showers. I didn’t stay for the cool-down (I know…), and I still had to wait in line behind something like 10 people. However, one good thing is that the lockers rooms are pretty stocked (although I wouldn’t hate a few razors) with C.O. Bigelow products and good hair dryers.
- The welcome area: It’s small, and there isn’t enough seating for everyone to wait. I get that real estate downtown is expensive, but I wouldn’t hate if it were a bit bigger.
- The room is dark and feels like a club, which I personally like. There’s a live DJ and smoke machines everywhere, which definitely gets you in the mood to get moving! However, students should be careful. When I went for the first time about a month ago, the girl who used the treadmill before me didn’t turn it off, which was impossible to see in the dark, and I got a gnarly bruise on my leg.
- This studio’s available on ClassPass! If you like circuit training, definitely make this one part of your routine.
Also, make sure you find out what are the Best Playground Experience Workouts in NYC.