Close your eyes and imagine you’re in a class. The music is loud, you’re moving your feet to the beat of the music, going through some sprints and climbs, and feeling dead by the end. You’re in a spin class right? Wrong. Welcome to PULSE House of Fitness, DC’s first versa-climber studio with workouts that feel like a spin class if you were standing straight up the whole time. With strength focused lab classes and combo climber/strength classes, the studio tries to give varied options for attendees. Added bonus, the locker rooms are stocked and have plenty of digilockers for your stuff.
The LAB/CLIMB: FUSION class gave us the best of both worlds at PULSE: a little bit of strength training and a little bit of cardio.
Our class started with about 20 minutes in the LAB studio space. To kick it off with a partner style game that reminded us of elementary school PE. Losers had to do the dreaded burpee. From there our strength instructor led us through the stations while our versa instructor demoed the exercises. Similar to Orangetheory there were also videos of the exercises just in case you forgot what the instructor had just taught you. .
The strength workout was three rounds of five exercises, 35 seconds of work and 25 seconds to rotate to the next station. We did dumbbell deadlifts, SandBell disk slams, weighted sandbag hip thrusts, plank pull throughs, and versa climber isolations. The 20 minutes flew by, but did feel that there was a lot of wasted time moving from station to station (about 9 minutes of work and 6 minutes of rotating). We appreciated the lower body focus but were confused on the inclusion of the versa climber during the strength section since we were about to do 20 minutes on the climber.
When we got into the climber studio, we found our name on the screen attached to the machine that corresponded to the climber we had reserved. Our instructor called out target stroke lengths, speed, and percent efforts throughout class and similar to a spin class, our metric screen helped us see how well we were achieving the targets. There was also a large screen at the front of class that displayed our class average. The class was high energy and while we now had a different instructor, our strength instructor did the class on a versa climber at the front of the room for us to mimic, just like a spin instructor riding the podium.
This portion of the class was very similar to a FlyWheel class and we love FlyWheel but there was something missing from our experience. Maybe it was because it was a bit repetitive? Or maybe because our feet fell asleep from the gravity pressure? On the plus side, we did sweat a lot which we always love, and did get a text post class with our metrics which appreciated so when we come back we can compare our scores.
As the studio owner, Shafer clearly knows what he wants his instructors to bring to each class. Though he only assisted in the LAB portion of class, he gave thorough form correction and clear demonstrations. We wish he would’ve brought the same approach to the CLIMB portion of class that he led. He did not ride the versa climber during our class and because of this we wish there had been more cuing from him on the mic. Shafer was VERY energetic and combined with Eddie, the tag team duo was FULL of all the energy. There were enough high five to go around and then some. These two clearly love what they do.
From the street (the entrance is actually on 14th St. and not New York like their address suggests), PULSE was unassuming. As we made our way down to the basement location, they made the most of the space they have from stocked locker rooms to ample digilockers and a complimentary coffee bar.
The lobby was a bit tight but there were Nosh bars and minimal lululemon PULSE merch for sale. The hallway between the two studios was lined with digilockers that all had USB cords for charging phones. At the end of the hallway is a room with a stretching table for post-class. The locker rooms were stocked with Innersense and Erbaviva shower products and post-workout facewash and deodorant that were high end natural lines (not the run of the mill spray-on Secret here). There were two bathrooms and four showers along with towels.
1401 New York Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005 Downtown HIIT $$$$
PULSE House of Fitness
Downtown HIIT, $$$$
1401 New York Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005
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