Gladiator Workout

Associate editor Sarah Howard tests the YWCA's new Gladiator Workout.

sarah howard at the gladiator workout

Guinea Pig: Sarah Howard
Small Print: $72 for members; $86 for nonmembers, YWCA,

 I consider myself to be in shape. I run. I strength train. I do crunches. But all of the conventional training in the world couldn’t prepare me for the YWCA’s new Gladiator Workout. Reminiscent of the chariot-pushing, sword-wielding men and women of 300, this hour-long sweat session left me sore in muscles I didn’t know I had. The circuit-style class is made up of 10 to 25 stations, each of which you stay at for one minute. You complete the circuit, sometimes up to three times, with different workouts at each station every round. The exercises focus on using many muscles at once and particularly work the core. I hoisted kettlebells while doing squats, walked stairs while carrying a tube filled with water on my shoulders, lifted heavy tractor tires, flung ropes around, and pounded a tire with a sledgehammer. But more than anything, I had a blast. The class was such a refreshing change in my (sometimes monotonous) workout routine that the hour flew by. It brought being active to a new, fun, and even extreme-warrior level.