High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Reviews: 9Round Kickboxing

This is Part Two in a series of reviews of “High Intensity Interval Training” (HIIT) gyms. Part One provided context on HITT and its components, then reviewed Orange Theory Fitness.

9Round bills itself as “your all-inclusive kickboxing fitness gym.” All workouts are 30 minutes, and can be started any time you arrive (as opposed to scheduled classes). The goal: use rapid-fire progression through nine activity stations (kickboxing plus a few other types) to get an intense, fun 30-minute interval workout.

by

This is Part Two in a series of reviews of “High Intensity Interval Training” (HIIT) gyms. Part One provided context on HITT and its components, then reviewed Orange Theory Fitness.

Suggestion: read the first short section of Part 1, for HITT context, then return here.

9Round bills itself as “your all-inclusive kickboxing fitness gym.” All workouts are 30 minutes, and can be started any time you arrive (as opposed to scheduled classes). The goal: use rapid-fire progression through nine activity stations (kickboxing plus a few other types) to get an intense, fun 30-minute interval workout.

WHERE

This is a franchise system with over 400 locations in the U.S. (40 states). There are also nearly 300 across Canada and Mexico. Plus multiple other countries including the UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Chances are, there’s one near you.

THE WORKOUT

You’ll do nine sequential activity stations, each for three minutes. There’s a short transition activity (e.g. jumping jacks, leg lifts) between stations.

  • Stations 1-2: Warm-up and strength stations with dumbbells, kettlebells, and medicine balls (as well as calisthenics)
  • Stations 3-8: Kickboxing with specialized bags for a boxing warm-up, hand speed and coordination work, traditional heavy bag, bobbing and weaving, kicks, and throwing knees
  • Station 9: Abs and core work to finish

While you start on station one, others there before you are at stations two through nine, all making their way around the circuit.

This was fun (as most kickboxing things are), especially because of the specialized bags for specific stations. E.g, one station is a very large spherical bag designed to hit then duck under, and another is a horizontally-slung bag to throw knees into.

If you’re an MMA fan, you can really get into role playing here.

You’ll definitely get heart rate up and build the type of strength/coordination you do from kickboxing.  9Round offers heart rate monitors to help get into your best heart-rate zone during the rounds, and check recovery between them.

FACILITY & STAFF

Since this is a franchise, locations are likely to vary more than you see in corporate-operated chains.

The Pleasanton, CA 9Round (SF Bay Area) was clean, with nicely-designed activity stations and a good layout to make your way through them.

There was no locker room or shower, though. This is very much a “storefront” type of concept in a strip mall.

Several trainers are there to instruct new people, coach you on technique, and motivate you to go hard during your intervals. The franchise owner was a more-experienced trainer than the 2-3 other young staff members, but all were friendly and helpful.

SCHEDULE

More like a traditional gym then a “class,” you show up and start working out any time you want. That’s very convenient. At peak hours, you may have to wait a few “rounds” to get started on Station 1.

Hours at the location I visited are 8am-8pm weekdays, 8am-noon Saturdays, and closed Sundays. The schedule reinforces the impression that 9Round is often used by people who need or want to “squeeze” a short, intense workout into their workday, near work.

COST

Costs may vary by metro area a little bit, but the general picture is:

  • $50 initiation fee (you get boxing gloves and hand/wrist wraps along with this)
  • About $80 per month

On the spectrum of how much fitness options cost, this is fairly affordable, though more than a basic-basic gym. 9Round has a nice free-trial program, allowing you to try them for seven days.

PRO’S & CON’S

Pro’s:

  • Time-efficient workout
  • Variety of kickboxing moves and beginner-friendly format to try kickboxing
  • Convenience of no class schedules, while still providing motivation of being in a group, coached environment

Cons:

  • Though recent research finds 30 minutes is a sufficient HIIT workout, for some it won’t “feel” like enough (that was the case for me)
  • The strength and core work, while better than nothing, are pretty minimal within this concept (you can only so much in 30 minutes, with 2/3 of this being kickboxing)
  • While workout details change frequently, the basic station sequence is always the same and this might feel repetitive to some

OVERALL CONCLUSION

9Round is an attractive option for people who want to strictly limit workout time to 30 minutes but still get a mix of endurance, strength, agility and flexibility work.

For people who want more variety, more strength work, or who are willing and able to spend more time working out, the 9Round format might become limiting. That said, its affordable pricing means you could use 9Round for a couple of days a week, and also participate in other fitness activities.

If this review is interesting to you, it’s definitely worth doing their free trial.

TAKE ACTION

Here’s the 9Round site, at which you can find a location and then sign up for a free trial.

 

“In the clearing stands a boxer and a fighter by his trade.” (Simon & Garfunkel, The Boxer—click to listen)

 

If you think this would be useful to others, please help spread the word about OlderBeast by sharing this post with the social media buttons below. THANKS, MAN.

You may also like

article-image
Fitness Planning & Gear , Strength

This At-Home, Full-Body Strength Routine Will Keep You Heroic Past 40 (and 50, 60…)

I’m always surprised at how focused the strength workouts are for guys doing traditional weight training as their main fitness thing. “What are you working on today? My left bicep.”

OK, I exaggerate. But old-school “lifting” does often focus on 1-2 things per workout (like chest, legs or back) while assuming you lift 4-5+ times per week.

But what if you’re a 40+ guy trying to balance strength, endurance and flexibility? (And not as fixated on getting Hulk-like as maybe you once were?). In that case, you aren’t well served by old-school strength training patterns.

Yeah, bootcamp-style classes address this need by working all-over strength in single sessions (strength-focused HITT does too). But at $10-20+ per session, each decade of training this way twice a week is a $10-20K+ proposition. I like attending such classes from time to time, for learning and for variety. But I’d rather spend my $10-20K per decade somewhere else, man.

So. With non-strength fitness/wellness needs rightly occupying part of your week, you need to work more body parts in fewer strength-focused days. And you need a long-term-sustainable strength routine you can do on your own, without driving and paying every time.

Put these needs together, brother…and you arrive at a key pillar of OlderBeasthood, regardless of whether you’re coming from a strength-focused, endurance-focused, or limited-fitness starting point. The full-body, at-home strength workout.

Here’s my take on a practical, adaptable routine you can do at home with relatively little equipment.

article-image
Fitness Planning & Gear , Philosophy & Motivation

Why “men’s fitness” and single-sport “enthusiast” magazines kind of suck

As a 40+ guy seeking balanced fitness, smart nutrition, and the well-being and joy these things contribute to…I’ll take all the help I can get. So, I’m always scouting the media and blog landscape on these topics.

My conclusion: the “media” world (old and new) is failing to truly help 40+ guys seeking a lifelong mix of endurance, strength, flexibility, balance, solid nutrition, tranquility-of-mind, and joy-of-spirit.

article-image
Endurance , Fitness Planning & Gear , Strength

High-Intensity Interval Program Reviews: Orange Theory Fitness

There’s a lot of buzz around High-Intensity Interval Training, a.k.a. “HIIT”. Research studies highlight its effectiveness and time-efficiency for fitness development and calorie burning. New HIIT-centric gym concepts are being heavily marketed.

HITT interests me because of its inherent fitness benefits, and because it often combines endurance and strength work in an intense way.

I’ve started checking out HITT gym concepts and at-home workout programs, to add HITT into my own mix and also share findings via OlderBeast. This is the first of several reviews, starting with Orange Theory Fitness (“OTF” for short here).

article-image
Endurance , Mindfulness & Stress Management

Why 40+ Guys Should Walk, Blah Blah Blah

The “Blah Blah Blah” isn’t a “dis” to walking (I love walking…been doing it since I was 11 months old). It’s just acknowledging that headlines touting walking might be background noise because they’re so familiar.

AND YET: many guys rarely walk. And it IS true that walking is a great component of lifelong fitness and wellness, and so easy to do. So what gives? What are the barriers, and how can you overcome them?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.