Classes We Love: Fighter Conditioning at Peter Welch’s Gym
Sometimes a boxing class at the gym can seem more like housewives hip-hop than a real boxing class. That’s why if you want real fighter training, you have to go where the pros go, and that’s Peter Welch’s Gym in Southie. It’s an old-school boxing gym with real rings, real equipment, and real fighters leading the class.
What it is:
The group classes are based on real fighter conditioning and everything is timed into rounds. The class begins with a few minutes of jump roping to get the heart rate up. Then comes the different rounds of varied exercises like punching a heavy bag and shadowboxing. But in the middle of it all the trainer will yell out, “Squat thrusts!” which means you stop, drop, do an exercise similar to a burpee, and then go right back to the bag. Next comes sprints around the ring, suicides, and then more punching. Just when you think your arms are going to fall off, it’s time for push-ups and medicine ball work. Then, of course, back to the bags. You will work the arms, abs, butt, thighs, and more. Boxing is all about having a strong core and center of gravity.
This is an old-school boxing gym in the heart of Southie, so what you’re currently envisioning is exactly what it looks like. If you prefer your gyms to look like spas, this is not the place for you. That said, you may recognize this place before you walk in the door. It was featured on Anthony Bourdain’s old Travel Channel show “No Reservations”, and the Dropkick Murphy’s video for “The Boys Are Back” was filmed in one of their rings. Don’t be surprised if you see professional boxers walking around or hitting the speed bags while you are jabbing and punching the heavy bag next to them. Also, you may see kids training, too. Peter Welch’s has a boxing program for children ages eight to 15 that runs throughout the year. In addition, there’s a full gym upstairs with a weight room.
Training like this is not cheap (prices range from $25 for a drop-in, $99 a month for unlimited classes and gym use with year contract, $100 for 10 classes for first timers, or $200 for 10 classes). There are also summer specials for students. But we went with a Groupon. It was a fantastic deal ($40 for five classes) and the best part is that unlike other places that issue Groupons, you don’t have to be a new member to use it. So if you ever see one offered, it is well worth it.
What to bring:
Water! Lots of it. And gloves and wraps if you have them. You will need them for the class and can purchase them there, or you can borrow a pair if you are new (but honestly, that’s pretty gross). Unless you want your hands covered in other people’s sweat, buy your own. It is well worth the investment.
Know before you go:
The gym is in the back of warehouses off of a main street. It is easy to find when you are looking for it, but because it’s in the back, it’s easy to miss. I must have driven by this place 20 times without knowing it was there. There is ample parking if you have a car. If not, it’s just a half mile from the Broadway T station. Also, you may want to go with a friend. There’s a lot of partner work (one person punches, the other holds the bag). But don’t worry if you’re alone—there will be plenty of people to partner up with and it’s a good chance to meet new people.
The bottom line:
If you want to get in tip top shape, boxing is the way to go. Plus, hitting the bag is great stress relief. I took the class two nights ago, and I’m still sore.
Peter Welch’s Gym, 371 Dorchester Avenue (South Boston Commerce Center), 617-269-4641; peterwelchsgym.com.