Ever since dealing with runners knee and realizing how much strength training can benefit my running, I starting doing more and more weightlifting … and really enjoying it. It can seem really intimidating at first to take a weightlifting class – What if I can’t keep up? What if I don’t know the moves? What if I don’t have proper form?
Luckily, there are lots of options for taking weightlifting classes in Chicago, where not only can you learn the proper moves and the proper form, but you always pick your own weights so you can work at your level. These are some of my favorite places for weightlifting classes in Chicago – all of them are on ClassPass.
CrossTown Fitness has two formats – Total Body and Total Strength. Both are circuit classes, you usually move through stations at various timed intervals, doing strength moves (Total Strength), or strength and cardio (Total Body). The strength moves use dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, barbells, plates, TRX, ropes, pull-up bars and body weight. The moves are usually pretty basic and the instructors demo the circuit before class gets underway, and they are always willing to answer questions, so it’s a great option for beginners. The classes sizes are also usually pretty big (30 people), so it’s also easy to just put your head down and workout. CrossTown Fitness has locations in the West Loop (near Madison & Morgan), Lakeview (near Addison & Halsted) and their newest location in Roscoe Village (near the Paulina Brown Line station).
On Your Mark Coaching & Training
On Your Mark offers a variety of classes and personal training. They usually have two group classes going on at the same time, at opposite ends of the gym. I love their Absolute Strength class. It’s also a timed circuit format, using mostly using dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, TRX, body weight and resistance bands. Similar to CrossTown, the instructor will demo the entire circuit before the workout gets underway. The class size is usually a little smaller (6-10 people), so you can get a lot of attention when it comes to correcting your form or making modifications, but it’s also great for anyone new to weightlifting because the instructor can spend a little bit more time with you. Or the instructor will call you out if they think you can lift heavier. I appreciate the encouragement and vote of confidence, and I usually leave class feeling pretty badass. On Your Mark has a location in the West Loop (Monroe & Aberdeen) and Bucktown (Damen & the Bloomingdale Trail).
Personally, I think the Strength Training class at Fit Results in the South Loop is for a slightly more experienced lifter. The format reminded me of CrossFit (at least, the little bit of CrossFit I’ve been exposed to). The workout is written on the board and you work through it at your own pace. The instructor is available to answer questions and provide modifications, but when I attended class, I don’t recall there being a demo of the circuit before we started, so I think I tried to sneak glances at what the other attendees were doing. Also, there are multiple classes going on at the same time, plus people working out on their own or with personal trainers, so it can get a little confusing as to who is doing what and what equipment is available for the class. However, everyone was really friendly and encouraging, and the class was a great workout. Fit Results has one location in the South Loop on State & 9th.
The format at SWEAT is really similar to CrossTown Fitness – circuit classes made up of timed intervals using a variety of equipment, sometimes cardio + strength, sometimes strength only. Also like CrossTown Fitness, there is only one class going on at a time. This is another spot that is good for a beginner – the instructor demos the entire workout before you start, the workout is posted on screens around the studio, and the instructor is there to answer questions or correct form or offer modifications during class. Additionally, the class size is big (around 30 people), so you can also put your head down and workout. The workout room is pretty big, so it never feels crowded. SWEAT has locations in the Gold Coast (State & Division) and Lincoln Park (Clybourn & Sheffield).
Do you like weightlifting? Where do you take classes? Or do you do circuits on your own?