My tour de boxing studios continued recently with a trip to the "dive bar" of boxing studios - Overthrow Boxing Club on Bleecker Street. Overthrow is housed in the previous home of the Youth International Party, or "Yippies," a "radically youth-oriented and countercultural revolutionary offshoot of the free speech and anti-war movements of the 1960s," according to Wikipedia.
The space stays true to its roots - despite becoming a fitness studio, it is far from "boutique" looking - with much of the original architecture remaining. Overthrow takes its own political stances and jabs, with graffiti like Donald Trump being knocked out and the quote, "When they go low, we go high."
It's a fitting way of connecting the building's history with our present political reality and the building's new use as a boxing club.
The interior is cramped, dark, and quite frankly, it seems like it might collapse! Up the stairs is a small locker room with two showers and two bathroom stalls - along with lockers that have seen better days. Bent metal, missing locker doors, wobbly benches - it's hard to tell if many aspects of the studio are part of the aesthetic or actual .instances of disrepair
There are actually two spaces where classes at Overthrow take place. The main level has around 6 bags along with a boxing ring while the downstairs studio has about 12 bags - covered in duct tape, these bags are a far cry from the water-filled tear-drop-shaped beauties at Rumble. Then again, they're only purpose is punching them. There are numbered spaces along the floor, though in my class we didn't really use them for anything.
The first class I took was in "The Underground" (which makes me thing of the upside down, which makes me excited for another season of Stranger Things).
We all lined up in side by side rows for the warm-up which consisted of lots of cardio drills like high knees, air jabs, jumping jacks, etc.
To me, the warm up seemed to last for a long time. It may have had to do with the fact that I wasn't wearing my usual sneakers and my feet were really bothering me every time I jumped - but I also think the warm up dragged on and on with not much to it.
Eventually, the endless warmup indeed ended and we were told to pair up with a partner for the next part of class.
We lined up in two rows down the length of the room, with partners facing each other and being told different combinations - we were technically "boxing" with each other, but obviously not full out punching our partners. Some of the combinations included more than just throwing punches - we were told to "jab, jab, cross, burpee," and various other exercises. To me, this part wasn't very challenging - the pace was pretty slow, which I guess depends on who you get as a partner.
The line was continuously filtering towards the front of the class - when you and your partner were up in front of the instructor, you did a few punches with her before re-joining the line.
When this was over, I was still only sweating due to the temperature of the room.
The next portion of class it was time to bring out the bags - and this is where I sweat buckets and my heart rate rocketed. We were given a ton of different combinations and I pushed myself to keep moving throughout the 15 or so minutes of straight bag work.
With three of us on a bag and the bags sliding around the pole they were attached to, we did have to stop every so often to adjust the bag and stop it from moving into the group next to and behind us. I didn't have much space and by the end I was getting pretty frustrated.
Then, before I knew it, class was over. I will say that the time flew by, and by the end I was pretty exhausted - but I left a little "meh" about the class overall.
The second class I went to at Overthrow I took in the upstairs section - it was a similar set up with half of the class taking place on the bag and half taking place "in the ring" with a partner. But I liked this better because it seemed less crowded and the warm-up wasn't as long. We also finished up class with an ab series that was pretty solid.
I found myself partner-less and got to work with a staff member that wasn't teaching class at the time which was great! The combination was really tricky and I only got it right about 75% of the time, but I still felt pretty accomplished. At the end, I told him that I was hungry because the mitts looked like they had avocados drawn on them. I think I found the comment funnier than he did.
WHAT I LIKED:
Classes at Overthrow fly by. The grunge-y atmosphere is super fitting for a boxing class. Both instructors that I've had were good at explaining things, though at this point I can't really consider myself a "beginner" so I might take some things for granted when it comes to instruction.
I also really like that Overthrow is located off of the 6 line.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
Overthrow is definitely not as organized as Rumble or Shadowbox. Those two studios' classes run like well-oiled machines whereas my second class at Overthrow was more like, "Alright, what should we do next?" "Okay, let me run downstairs and get some gloves for everyone 10 minutes into class." That sort of thing. Rumble and Shadowbox have their shit together a little more in terms of flow and focus - but Overthrow has them beat on the boxing ~vibes.
THE STUDIO – 7
Nuts and bolts in terms of amenities - but there are lockers (bring your own lock, and beware that half of them are missing doors as part of the aesthetic), bathrooms and showers and it's pretty impressive that they make the space work as two separate studios/class spaces.
The history of the building is an added bonus - if you're there, see if you can spot the old Youth International Party manifesto on the walls!
CLASS SIZE - 5
The classes are a decent size considering the small space - and I definitely felt like I was super crowded and couldn't fully enjoy the class because of it. Perhaps the morning classes are less crowded - but I've only been in the evening and each time it was jam-packed.
SWEAT SCALE – 6
The first half of classes at Overthrow usually are more focused on shadowboxing, form, and a warm up - it's helpful for actually learning boxing, which I appreciate, but doesn't leave me with an elevated heart rate. But the second half is usually much harder - once you start using the bag. In my most recent class, Queen had us finish with 5 Push-Ups, 5 Burpees, 5 Mountain Climbers, 5 Squats, 10 Push-Ups, 10 Burpees, 10 Mountain Climbers, 10 Squats, 15 Push-Ups, 15 Burpees, 15 Mountain Climbers, 15 Squats. It was brutal in the best way.
FUN FACTOR – 7
If you like boxing, it's a good time.
AMENITIES – 6
Everything you need but nothing overly fancy.
COST - $$$
Standard for NYC, a class at Overthrow costs $34 for a single class. Unfortunately, they don't have any deals for first time students. I attended for free in exchange for a review on my blog!
I like the vibe at Overthrow a lot and I've learned more here than I think I would learn from taking consistent classes at Rumble and Shadowbox. That being said, if you're looking for a boxing class that doubles as a hard workout (you know, since you're paying $34) I might suggest getting your ass kicked at a different studio. These classes are certainly a challenge - but they aren't 45-minutes-worth-of-non-stop-challenge.
I'll continue taking classes at Overthrow because I actually want to improve my boxing skills and I think the instructors here have that same goal in mind. Also, keep in mind that Overthrow offers two different classes - one in the "Underground" - more of a boxing bootcamp/high cardio class and one in the "Ring" which is more focused on form and technique.
Gloves are included in the class and wraps are available for purchase.
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