Fitwall’s stations look sort of like a 7-foot-tall, metal bookshelf, where the racks act as handles and foot rests. And, we had to try it to believe it. The company's motto is “Train Smarter,” which it backs up with some serious gaming technology. Each station comes equipped with an iPad and a heart monitor, which members strap on to see their individual data display.
“We accumulate all of the metrics — which we call the ‘F Factor’ — exertion, recovery and movement,” says Clif Harski, Fitwall's director of training and national head coach. A larger screen in the back of the room displays the metrics for everyone in the class. “It’s by percentage so that members can compete in a positive way,” he says. "It’s really more of a tool for the instructors so that we can keep an eye on everyone in the class.”
In total, over 900 different exercises can be performed on the wall — which means it has full-body cred. Our workout incorporated cardio, flexibility and strength training; For 40 minutes, we climbed up the wall like tree frogs trying to escape from a giant lizard.
First up: The perfect pull-up. Hanging onto one of the top shelves for dear life, we used our arms to lift our body weight. Then, “Cowboy Squats.” With thighs rotated outward and legs perched on a mid-level shelf, you drop your butt down and then bounce back up. We did three sets of ten very quickly. It got our hearts racing and glutes burning while making us look like Madonna's backup dancers (so we thought, at least).
Next up were some ab-burning hops. Hopping from shelf to shelf and alternating foot placement seems like it would target your leg muscles. But, this actually strengthens the core which — we can attest — is engaged nonstop in order to maintain stability and balance. And, the exercises kept on coming. Let’s just put it this way: There wasn’t one part of our body that wasn’t shaky and spent when we left.
Currently, Fitwall has two California locations – one in La Jolla and the other in Solana Beach. A New York studio is expected to open by the end of this year. Classes will cost about $20 with monthly membership going for around $175.
Maybe we’re off the wall — but we can’t wait to climb back on.