Everything You Need to Know About Rumble... Before It Hits San Francisco
By now, you’ve seen the signs at Sansome and Pine announcing that Rumble is coming soon to the Bay Area. How soon is TBD, but the company’s social media team keeps telling people “this fall” on Instagram. Unofficially, the word is “sometime around November.” Based on the Bay Area’s everything’s-delayed-at-least-three-months standard—early 2019 seems like a safe guess.
What can you expect when it arrives? I checked out two of the three NYC studios for the scoop.
Rumble is a 45-minute “boxing lifestyle” workout split between two segments: bag and bench. The class is divided into 10 rounds. I took two Rumble classes with two different trainers over a three-day period in New York, and both workouts were excellent. I left class tired and sweaty, and I was slightly sore the day after each class. As someone who does HIIT workouts almost daily, the Rumble program is reasonably challenging.
The boxing rounds focus on six punches: a jab, a cross, left and right hooks, and left and right uppercuts, numbered one through six, respectively. Instead of traditional defensive boxing moves like slip and roll, the Rumble workout incorporates a deep squat billed as a “duck.” Before each class, all clients ( particularly new faces) are invited to attend a pre-class warm-up to review the punches.
The boxing portion of the workout happens at a teardrop-shaped, water-filled Aqua Training Bag. I’m used to the heavy bags at gyms like HitFit and 3rd Street Boxing Gym so I had my reservations about the water bags, but I actually liked them. The glove to bag impact felt more gentle than standard heavy bags. That’s not to say the Aqua bag is better or worse than an alternative; just different.
The benches in the room are custom for Rumble studios, outfitted with a foam cushion on top, and various weights built into the sides. The bench portion of the workout is a combination of mainstay exercises like push-ups and Burpees, and weight-based moves like rows or loaded squats. Since a lot of the clients will stick to the built-in weights at the bench—up to 20 pounds—the transition between bag and bench is seamless. For clients who want to lift heavy, there’s a supplemental weight rack in each studio next to the benches.
One of my favorite non-exercise elements from the Rumble workout is the obvious thought that went into the tech. The sound systems are well-balanced. In a lot of boutique classes, the music is loud, the mic is distorted, and it’s difficult to hear the instructor. That’s not a problem at Rumble. Further, each section of the workout plan is projected on the wall at the front of the room, so you know exactly what you’re supposed to do; even if you space for a moment and don’t hear the instructor’s cues, you can glance up to see exactly what’s happening. My only criticism is the instructors have to spend time managing the sick sound system and graphics from their control booth/stage at the front of the class, so there’s not as much walk-around interaction as you might see at places like SoulCycle or Barry’s.
If you’re looking for private instruction, Rumble also has bookings for one-on-one sessions with trainers.
The formula for fitness instructors at buzzy new gyms has been set for years: beautiful, fit people with big personalities. Rumble doesn’t deviate from that, but it looks like the beautiful, fit people who will be bringing Rumble to San Francisco are familiar faces.
Alvin Holden, Jon “JV” Valencia, and Charlie Mejia have made the jump from Barry’s to Rumble, and—according to Mejia's Facebook page—they’re training in NYC for the summer before opening Rumble in the Bay Area. Lielen de Guzman, who used to teach at the TRX Training Center and HitFit, appears to be coming home as well. I’ve taken classes with all four of these trainers—including Holden’s Rumble class in NYC—and they consistently bring the fire.
In the photo to the left, you'll also spot CJ Blackman, a longtime San Francisco CrossFit coach. Blackman hasn't added "Rumble" to any of his profiles, so we can only speculate as to whether he will also be joining the San Francisco team, but he's been singing the company's praises. Plus, as a pro-MMA fighter, Blackman is a natural to teach a boxing-based workout.
If you’ve spent any time on the boutique fitness scene, you know it’s a scene; sometimes the exercise part takes a backseat to branded swag and humble brag photos. But let’s be real: whatever motivates you to move is awesome. And if you want rad photos before and after your weekend workout, you’re going to love Rumble.
In the fitness world, Rumble is most commonly linked to its co-founder and trainer Noah Neiman, formerly a master trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp in New York and a cast member on Bravo’s Work Out New York, but two of the four co-founders—Eugene Remm and Andy Stenzler—come from the hospitality industry. Their experience shines through the studios.
Everywhere you look in Rumble, there’s something to catch your eye. Custom boxing-themed street-style art. Funky renderings of the Rumble bag logo. Whimsical sculptures. The studios are joyful. You can imagine the design team having a blast creating a unique experience within each one.
You can’t have a premium fitness experience without having a premium beauty product partner. Equinox has Kiehl’s. Barry’s has Oribe. Soul has Le Labo. Flywheel has Bliss. At Rumble, it’s Beekman 1802, a beauty line produced on a goat farm in upstate New York. (If that sounds like the most San Francisco thing you’ve read all day, you need to check out the story behind the farm.)
In addition to the Beekman’s lineup, I was impressed that Rumble stocks Nubian Heritage products in the locker room. People of color have been vocal that they have different skin and haircare needs than white people, and it’s refreshing to see a gym that’s listening and catering to diverse clientele.
Beyond the products, locker rooms at Rumble are well-designed. First, every locker has a different image posted inside, so you get a surprise when you pick a storage spot. Second, the layout includes several inset benches—think: window seat without the window—within the walls of lockers, creating more space for pulling on shoes, strewing your gear, etc. Functionally, those are helpful when the locker rooms get crowded during peak hours.
Rumble launched in 2016, and the company is still toying with different concepts as new studios roll out. The newest NYC studio, which opened July 31, has infrared saunas and a Drybar on site, so who knows what the Bay Area will get? So far, none of the locations have juice bars, but the incoming Marina location is set to open next to the San Francisco’s first Shake Shack. (Boxing and burgers, FTW, amirite?)
Did you actually do a workout if you can’t buy a branded tank top to prove it? It’s one of the great existential questions of our generation, but one you need not tackle at Rumble. The merch wall is flush with cute options ranging from boxing gloves and wraps to apparel to accessories. Granted, no one needs a zillion Rumble sports bras and mesh tanks, but their apparel game is super solid. So far, the collection is only available in the studios.
In NYC, a Rumble drop-in class is $36. (Pricing increased from $34 in July.) In LA, it’s $32. Based on the going rate for premium fitness in SF, the Bay Area will probably be $32 per class as well. First timers get two classes for the price of one, and have 30 days (from the date of purchase) to use both classes.
Clients have to wear both wraps and gloves for class, though you are welcome to bring your own. Rumble sells branded slip-on speed wraps—yours to keep—for $8. (Personally, I prefer Mexican-style wraps, but speed wraps are less work.) Glove rental is $3 per class. That’s fine if you want to try out the workout or you forget gloves at home, but a silly expenditure if you want to Rumble on the regular: you can purchase a decent pair of Everlast gloves on Amazon for less than $30.
Private training in LA is $160 per session, (add $65 if you want to add a second client), or you can buy a ten-pack of private sessions for $1450. Private training in NYC is $175 per session, (plus $75 to add a friend) or $1500 for a 10-pack. Given that SF pricing tends to mirror LA pricing in fitness, my guess is private sessions in SF will be $160.
Rumble has beautiful studios staffed by attractive people teaching fun, challenging classes. For boxing traditionalists, it may not replace a round in the ring, but it’s certainly a contender for a supplemental workout. For folks who just crave a good sweat sesh, this will be your new addiction. Start saving your pennies, because you’ll be stocking up on Rumble classes when the studios finally open in San Francisco.