9Round Fitness Review: The Ultimate Boxing Workout

Punch and Kick Your Way Fit in Just 30 Minutes

woman kickboxing
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After hitting up a 9Round Fitness in Cedar Park, Texas, I was left with no doubt: the 30-minute boxing workout is tough and programmatically genius, combining heavy bag boxing and kickboxing work with conditioning and core drills set to a three-minute round system that keeps you moving. The best part? There's no waiting around for a class to start. You show up whenever you want and dive straight into the day's pre-planned workout put together by the on-site coach.

9Round's Genius Programming

9Round isn't a Tae Bo-style cardio kickboxing workout; rather, it's a serious boxing/kickboxing circuit that incorporates heavy bags, speed bags, gloves, and wrist wraps. Coaches put together daily workouts for members to follow, and they're there to instruct you as you go, walking you through the program so there's no wasted time between exercises.

The truly genius part of 9Round is its round-based schedule. Similar to a real boxing match, 9Round features nine, three-minute rounds. Because a new round literally starts every three minutes, you can show up whenever you want and start your workout on the sound of the next buzzer.

Also, because the rounds are set up in a circuit, you can start at any station and progress through your workout from that point forward. This is nice when it gets busy—you don't have to wait for the first station to free up—you can hop in on station five, cycling through to station nine before starting over at station one, continuing your workout until you get through station four, which completes your full nine rounds.

General Workout Structure

As a franchise, every gym is set up the same way, so regardless of the facility you visit, there shouldn't be any surprises about what to expect. For instance, all nine of the stations are programmed the same way:

  • Round 1 and Round 2: Rounds one and two are focused on conditioning work, such as jump rope, jogging, and cardio-based exercises
  • Round 3 through Round 8: Rounds three through eight are boxing rounds—you don your wraps and gloves and beat your way through the bulk of the workout.
  • Round 9: The ninth and final round is the core strength round. During this round, you perform exercises to strengthen your hips, abs, and low back.

9Round Pros:

I absolutely loved this workout. In a nutshell, here's why:

  • Workouts are planned and delivered by a trainer. There's no guesswork for the participant, and you have someone there to help you master your form during each workout.
  • Workouts are only 30 minutes long. Who doesn't love a short, effective workout?
  • You can show up and start whenever you want. You don't have to wait for a particular class time, so you can always fit a workout into your schedule.
  • Workouts are tough, but appropriate for all levels. I'm all about working hard and pushing limits, but workouts need to be scalable for a varied population. 9Round routines are based on time, and are largely focused on body weight exercises—this means you can easily adjust the workout by slowing down or speeding up your pace or incorporating modifications to make it appropriate to your fitness level.

9Round Considerations:

As with all routines, though, there's no such thing as a perfect workout, or a workout that's perfect for for all people.

Before you sign up, consider the following:

  • Possible differences between franchises. The main thing to keep in mind is that 9Round is a franchise, so while the system is developed by corporate headquarters, there may be differences between owners and trainers that could effect your personal experience. It's always a good idea to ask about your trainer's qualifications and certifications before you put your health in his or her hands. You may also want to check the facility for things like cleanliness, overcrowding during busy hours, and the availability and helpfulness of its staff. 
  • Small facilities and limited hours. 9Round facilities are small and typically managed by only one or two trainers. This means the facility may not be open during times that are most convenient for you. For instance, the facility I attended is open from 5:00 am to 1:00 pm some days, 8:00 am to 1:00 pm other days, then reopens from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm Monday through Friday. If I were an early morning or late night exerciser, this schedule might not work for me. That said, hours vary from facility-to-facility, so your local gym might be more accommodating.
  • Less personal attention when the facility is busy. I was lucky to attend a class at a time when I was the only person in the gym. This meant I had individual, one-on-one instruction from the trainer who gave me pointers and form corrections throughout the routine. During peak hours, if there are two or three participants at each station, it's unlikely that a single trainer will be able to effectively provide individual tips or pointers. If you're familiar with the exercises and already have stellar form, this isn't a problem, but if you're new to the workout it could leave you open to potential injuries. Make sure you communicate with the trainer and ask for extra assistance if you're unsure about your form. 

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