Soho Strength Lab Class Review: SoHo Swoll

On Tuesday I had the chance to check out SoHo Strength Lab in NYC.

Guess where it was…SOHO!

I found it through Classtivity (have I mentioned I’m obsessed?) and was immediately excited upon reading the studio’s information. To back up a bit…I’m sick of the classes at my gym – everytime I try a new class that I think will be strictly strength training (like when the class is called STRICTLY STRENGTH), it’s more cardio than anything else. I get enough cardio with running and cycling. I want to get stronger. (Remember? 2014 goal?) So, I signed up for a class called “Soho Swoll”.

From their website:

SoHo Strength Lab specializes in the highest quality personal training and group fitness instruction. We combine traditional strength training techniques with innovative athletic movement and metabolic conditioning.

As former athletes, our training philosophy is built upon multi-planar athletic movements and strength training. We designed our facility to create a true athletic training environment.

Source: SOHO Strength Lab

Source: SoHo Strength Lab

The teacher was Andy (who I think is also one of the owners) and he welcomed everyone individually right away. He mentioned that I could use a foam roller while waiting  if I wanted, so I decided to spend my time wisely and foam roll. Well, sort of…just my IT bands. So productive, I know. WATCH OUT 2014. Anyway, I liked that they had that option.

There were about 10 people in the class which was perfect. We started out right on time with a dynamic warmup using resistance bands, along with squats, planks, and a few other movements I already can’t remember. We then moved onto some timed strength circuits with dumbbells and kettlebells. To finish, we did another timed strength circuit that included med balls, kettlebells, and best of all, sled pushes, which I LOVE. (Not familiar? Basically you push a weighted sled while running as fast as you can.) This exercise really gets your heart pumping while simultaneously exhausting your muscles. And you feel pretty badass. (Just make sure to tie your shoes tight. Mine started slipping off toward the end.)

Andy was motivational without being annoying and obviously knew his stuff. It was definitely a full body class and I enjoyed it because it was exactly what they said it would be: pure strength training. No frills. No 70s-style aerobics dance moves. If you’re looking for a crazy, heart-pounding cardio class, this isn’t your type of class…but I think they do offer something like that. (Although, my heart was definitely pounding during those sled pushes!) If you’re looking for guided strength training – thinking more along the lines of “small group personal training” – then this is right up your alley. (Come with me next time!)

My only complaint is that I didn’t grab heavy-enough weights. I’m always worried that I won’t be able to complete a set and people will be all “ohh look at that over-zealous girl, so silly.” So, I tend to opt for a little bit lighter, but COME ON, KARA. I seriously need to get over that and stop being such a wimp.

The subway was only slightly inconvenient (I have to transfer – THE HORROR) and naturally I got lost trying to find the place, but now that I’m more on top of my game it should only take me 15-20 minutes to get there from work. I already scheduled another class for next week and am excited to try out “Soho Speed”. SoHo Strength Lab was actually very similar to the sports performance center I worked at a couple summers ago. I’ve been looking for something comparable and affordable ever since, and this is the closest I’ve gotten!

My Vote: A

Read more class reviews!

I’m a writer currently living in New Jersey and blogging about running, fitness, wellness, and motivation. I want every reader to laugh and feel empowered, balanced, and motivated! Subscribe by email to get 1-2 newsletters a month with post updates, my favorite articles, running playlists and more!


  1. January 13, 2014 / 3:59 am

    Ha ha ha. I love that gym name!!! It sounds like functional type training -similar to my love, CrossFit. Haha.

    • January 14, 2014 / 2:44 pm

      Exactly! Not as intense, but very similar. Love it!

  2. GB
    January 13, 2014 / 3:47 pm

    Great review! Someone was just asking me if I have been. I passed on your review to him #ironkara since you are the expert!

    • January 14, 2014 / 2:45 pm

      I think “expert” might be a bit of a stretch, haha! But thank you for passing it along! Hope it was helpful.

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