The week between Christmas and New Years is always a bit of a twilight zone for those of us who don’t take off from work. So many of our colleagues are on vacation, which can make it hard for those of us who are actually in the office to focus. This year, I decided to start my New Years resolution a week early and find more time during the day to get moving. Armed with my new FitBit Charge 2 (which I’m obsessed with), I leveraged Epic Hybrid Training’s $29 for one week introductory deal and did three lunchtime classes in a row. What I learned? If you live near their NYC locations in Bryant Park or East 54th Street and want to get in serious shape, this small studio may be just the right fit for you.
QUALITY OF epic hybrid training WORKOUTs (on average): 8.5
During my week at Epic, I tried three of their signature classes: Power and Tone (strength training), Blast (tabata), and Grynd (endurance). All three (and possibly the combination of them) left me feeling sore, but accomplished.
At Epic, each class is divided into around eight exercises, which have 2-3 levels of difficulty. One or two students are assigned to each station and move clockwise around the room. As the class progresses, burpees or another aerobic movement replace the break between stations.
tone and power
This class focuses primarily on strength training, with some aerobic movements incorporated. We completed four rounds, each one lasting 40 seconds with a 20 second “break.” The movements were:
- Bicep curls on the TRX. The difficulty of this movement was determined by how much you angled your body.
- Glute bridges with your feet in the TRX. The less difficult version was to do this one on the floor.
- One-armed kettlebell swings. More advanced students used the swing as an entry to a single-armed clean.
- Candlestick box jumps. The candlestick means that you start with your back on the floor and your legs up, and then roll up and go immediately into your box jump.
- Hammer push-ups on two kettlebells.
- Around the world squats.
- Seated kettlebell shoulder press.
- Weighted lunges (with a bag on your back).
I found this class to be a strong, well-rounded full body workout. Likely because it was the day after Christmas, there were only six students, and the instructor provided a lot of individualized attention. My thighs, glutes, and arms were screaming (in joy!) the following day.
Blast is Epic’s tabata-style workout, split into eight rounds of seven sets of exercises. Unlike some tabata classes that I’ve taken, this one had a substantial mobility component, and form was emphasized just as much as speed. The movements were:
- Agility ladder jumping lunges. For students who couldn’t jump, they lunged between the rungs of the agility ladder.
- Suspension hammer grip pull-ups. In this movement, we started on the floor with our arms straight in the TRX and pulled ourselves up to stand. By round four, I definitely felt the burn.
- Lateral box overs. In this move, we placed our hands in the middle of the box and jumped over with both legs or single-legged.
- Assisted plyometric push-ups. We put our waists in a suspension band and did push-ups with a clap or another movement in the middle. This one was a lot of fun!
- Tap back box jumps.
- Kettlebell high pulls, which is effectively the same as a single-armed kettlebell swing.
- Rebounding broad jumps. We jumped back and forth across the room in a wide squat stance.
- Kettlebell power cleans, which we could do with one or two hands.
This workout was a balanced mix between cardio and strength. I found the movements here to be particularly creative and exercises muscles that I don’t often work out. While not everyone loves tabata classes where you do the same move repeatedly for an entire round, I personally find it to be a good opportunity to perfect my form and increase the intensity of the movement.
While Grynd is marketed as an endurance class, we only performed each movement for 60 seconds, repeating the circuit for three rounds with twenty seconds in betwen. This was probably my least favorite out of the classes I attended. While like the others, the movements here were different from ones I’ve done in other studios, I was just really sore by the time I got to this class and felt like I had been working out a lot of the same muscles extensively. The movements here were:
- Single leg medicine ball slam, with a small leaded ball weighing at least 15 pounds. Advanced students did this one with one leg off the floor. I’m not that coordinated.
- Box jump-over, which is like a box jump except that you jump over and not on the box.
- Suspension alligator push-ups. In this one, your feet were in the TRX while you did alligator push-ups. My arms were screaming by the time we hit Round 2.
- Suspension row isolation. This move was deceptively difficult. It wasn’t actually a movement, but a stability exercises, where we stood with one arm in the TRX in a row position and held it for 60 seconds.
- Kick through. This move is not for uncoordinated people like me. We started in a table top and kicked one leg and one arm on the same side through. I didn’t manage to perfect this one even after three rounds.
- Kettlebell cleans, which could be done single- or double-armed.
- Ascending box toe tap. Three boxes were set up with different elevations. We did eight taps on each one and then would move back and forth between the boxes.
- Side squat wall ball. This exercise really tested lateral mobility.
why an 8.5?
While I didn’t attend every class that Epic had to offer, I felt that in the three that I attended, there was a good mix of strength, cardio, and different muscle movements. Although I’m not a long-time member, I feel that the classes are probably effective in developing strength and improving at functional movements. However, I would’ve preferred if there had been a day that focused purely on longer endurance workouts. It would’ve given my muscles a break and given me a chance to develop other aspects of my physical fitness.
SIZE OF CLASS: SMALL
While I acknowledge that lunchtime isn’t the most popular time to work out, classes were consistently under 15 students (and I believe they’re capped at 16). Since there were never more than two students at any individual station, instructors provided a substantial amount of individualized attention and really focused on proper form.
I very much appreciated the studio providing different levels for every workout. Even for beginners, this workout will be doable, if challenging.
STUDIO QUALITY: 7
This studio is clean, well-equipped, and well-located. The bathrooms are fully stocked, even coming with extra hair ties. However, East 54th St. loses points for having only one bathroom and shower in the women’s bathroom. Classes are small, but they’re not that small — even if only three women need the shower, the space gets cramped quite quickly.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Epic Hybrid Training provides an effective functional training workout for students at a wide variety of fitness levels. The small groups allow for individualized attention, and the instructors are knowledgeable and well-informed. While the bathrooms are well-equipped, just be aware that they’re small and may get cramped during peak times.