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The 7 Best Boutique Gyms in America

The 7 Best Boutique Gyms in America

1. The Stronghold Climbing Gym

Stronghold Climbing Gym

Los Angeles, CA

Nestled in a nearly hundred-year-old steam power plant, this gym offers some of the best indoor climbing you’ll find in the country. Beyond the superlative climbing, Stronghold Climbing Gym offers a medley of cardio and strength-training equipment alongside a broad range of classes across a number of disciplines, all with an eye toward improving your climbing abilities.

2. SWERVE Fitness

Swerve Fitness

New York City, NY

A happy medium between the intense competition of Flywheel and the feel-good vibes of SoulCycle, SWERVE places all attendees across several different teams, which builds a sense of camaraderie amongst your fellow class goers. After class, you’re provided via email plenty of personalized statistics detailing your contribution to the team as a whole, though mercifully that information can be kept as private as you want. The studio has a lounge, smoothie bar and superlative lockers all of which are designed to keep that camaraderie you established in class going after you leave the bikes.

3. Orange Theory Fitness

Orange Theory Fitness

Various Cities

As you strap on your heart rate monitor you are likely to develop the sinking feeling that you’re not going to be able to dial in a meager effort for the better part of the next hour. Sure enough, your heart rate is prominently displayed on a screen throughout the class. Fortunately, the instructors at Orange Theory are not the boot-camp in your face variety but tend toward the more encouraging “you can do it!” sort. Through intervals that involve rowing, free weights, suspension trainers, treadmill and bosu balls with little to no rest, you push your body into the “orange zone,” which is the heart rate level at which your body will burn up to 400 calories post-workout. As far as weight loss workouts that work, this one is hard to beat.

4. Tone House

Tone House

New York City, NY

Ever wanted to train like an NFL player? Look no further. Founded by former NFL player Alonzo Wilson, Tone House replicates much of what he experienced training for his career into the setting of a boutique fitness studio. Fortunately he has managed to do so without the risk of having a 300 pound offensive lineman hurtling toward you – something for which we’re immensely thankful for. Much of the exercises include plyometrics, bodyweight exercises, and other HIIT staples. If the lack of weights makes you concerned, rest assured few workouts will leave you feeling more exhausted from head to toe.

5. Unbreakable Performance

Unbreakable Performance

Los Angeles, CA

This gym proudly attests that it was designed for the elite athlete. It is owned and operated by Brian Urlacher (a future NFL Hall of Famer) and Jay Glazer. So it should come as no surprise that a significant portion of their clients are pro athletes from the NFL, UFC and NHL. That being said, Unbreakable Performance offers classes for those among us who wish to see just how elite we can be. The classes vary from HIIT Boot Camps to Pilates and Yoga mash-ups. Even the seemingly most innocuous amongst them manage to be exhausting.

6. [solidcore]

solidcore trainer

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woman working out in the gym lifting weights

Multiple Cities

Far and away the best Pilates we’ve had as of late – and the first of which to use the MegaFormer. For the men that dismiss Pilates out of hand, we can assure you a session at [solidcore] will leave you sore in places you were pretty sure you didn’t have muscles. The ability of Pilates to activate slow-twitch muscle fibers in a way we most often neglect through traditional weight lifting and cardio makes it an excellent addition to any workout routine.

7. SoHo Strength Lab

soho strength lab

New York City, NY

The prevalence of scores of battle ropes, sandbags and power sleds should give you an immediate sense of the sorts of workouts you’re doing at SoHo Strength Lab. Combining classic compound exercises with explosive movements, the studio lives up to its namesake. Classes are small and intimate, which allows instructors to spend additional time to focus on proper form and movement at the individual level, something sorely lacking from many other studio class-based gyms.


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