Sand shifts and slides beneath the feet of the athletes who traverse it. It softens pressure on the joints, but provides additional resistance for the volleyball players who favor the beach form of the sport. These are fundamental truths that Conquer's owner Jake Marshman understands. They are why his gym contains three pro-level indoor beach volleyball courts. There, he hosts classes that allow beach volleyball enthusiasts to practice their sport at any time of the year. This is a unique opportunity in Minnesota, where indoor courts are scarce, and the government has recently upgraded winter to the Ultra-Deluxe version.
But the sand isn't for beach volleyball alone. Marshman also hosts race and obstacle training that's inspired by the popularity of races like Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash. During training sessions, the sand becomes a medium that mimics the slipperiness and resistance of mud (though without the mess). Students can practice their hanging, jumping, and vaulting skills on more than 20 obstacles that pepper the gym, from hanging rings and monkey bars to a towering warped wall.
There is nothing standard about Saint Paul Athletic Club. At once a gym and spot for social gathering, the club was originally founded back in 1916, and has managed to maintain much of its original splendor and grandeur from that bygone era. Ellipticals are situated amidst eggshell-hued pillars and beneath sparkling chandeliers, while large arched windows allow natural light to flood into the hardwood floored yoga studio that once functioned as a grand dining room. Various degrees of membership provide multiple options for prospective members, which includes access to the facility's many perks—including a full bar and a lavish lobby lit by an ancient fireplace.
A joint venture between a professional boxer and a team of successful kickboxing-equipment tycoons, Title Boxing Club maintains a network of dozens of studios spread across more than 20 states, winning over a devoted clientele with its invigorating and engaging boxing- and kickboxing-themed classes. Each workout uses the heart-healthy exercise of cardio training to satisfy people’s innate desire to punch and kick something other than a broken jukebox. Participants build lithe, strong muscle tissue by delivering powerful blows to punching bags, and build flexibility and agility by practicing roundhouse kicks and hooks. Students can build their core strength and endurance with medicine balls and burpees, enlist a qualified personal trainer to practice their newfound skills in the ring, or just torch calories during intense full-body Power Hour workouts.
Equipment: Rogue equipment (rack system, barbells, rubber weights) and kettlebells
Students should bring: Flat soled shoes and a water bottle
Average class length: 60 minutes
Number of Staff: 1–5 people
Class location: Mix of indoor and outdoor classes
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: No
Parking: Parking lot
Pro Tip: Other gyms use machines. CrossFit builds them.
Trainers at Mash Performance treat all of their students as individuals, even in small-group training sessions. They incorporate strength training, agility exercises, core work, and conditioning into a single workout. Both functional training and quick spurts of energy play a role in sculpting physiques at classes such as adult metabolic training and speed development. Thanks to a partnership with The Minnesota Mash Baseball Club, they also offer instruction in fielding and hitting.
CrossFit Ursa is owned by a military veteran who aims to foster a sense of community and support with clients. To that end, small group workouts are capped at 10 people, and a personal trainer provides one-on-one attention to help people achieve their individual fitness goals. Workouts combine high-intensity intervals with functional movements that you perform in everyday life, such as holding groceries or trying to pick up a quarter that is glued to the ground.