I worked out at the Dogpound, the hot LA gym that has clients like TikTok star Addison Rae, a sneaker collab with Balmain, and an NFT with Deepak Chopra

2 months ago 14
Medicine ball slams at Dogpound LAMedicine ball slams at the Dogpound.

JP Mangalindan/Insider

Dogpound LA opened in 2019 after the exclusive gym earned a celebrity following in New York. The gym's impressive clientele includes Justin Bieber, Addison Rae, Josh Richards, and Bryce Hall. I tried a 60-minute personal training session at Dogpound LA to learn what all the fuss was about. See more stories on Insider's business page.

For certain fitness-obsessed New Yorkers and Angelenos, the Dogpound is synonymous with grueling workouts leavened only by the regular star sightings.   

The private gym's West Hollywood location, which physical trainer Kirk Myers opened in 2019, caters to an impressive clientele, including Justin Bieber and TikTok stars Addison Rae, Josh Richards, and Bryce Hall (the New York branch, launched in 2016, sees the likes of Taylor Swift, Hugh Jackman, Ryan Seacrest, and Marc Jacobs sweat it out). 

This November, Dogpound partnered with Deepak Chopra and Poonacha Machaiah's NFT venture SEVA.LOVE to release a series of canine-themed NFTs; the gym plans on releasing a $1,095 workout sneaker on December 8 designed by Balmain. 

But does the Dogpound, which usually charges $150 to $200 per personal training session, warrant the price of entry?

Dogpound LADogpound LA


There was only one way to find out: try the Dogpound for myself. Insider paid $150 for my 60-minute session.

Upon checking into the 5,500-square-foot space, I was greeted by Ryan Rosenthal, an aspiring actor from the East Coast who, based on his physique, likely hasn't touched a carb since college. (Don't believe me? Check out his Instagram.)

Dogpound LA personal trainer Ryan RosenthalDogpound LA personal trainer Ryan Rosenthal

Source: JP Mangalindan/Insider

Workouts at the Dogpound are personalized to the individual based on fitness level and goals. Many models who come to the gym, for instance, request a program focused on their abs and butts, according to Rosenthal. 

I told Rosenthal about my usual workout routine — a weekly mix of runs through West Hollywood and Peloton rides — as I warmed up for two minutes on an Assault AirBike, one of those heavy-duty stationary bikes with a large fan that creates resistance as you pedal.

"This [the Dogpound] is harder than Peloton," Rosenthal said to me, as former Republican Rep. Aaron Schock, shirtless and grinning ear to ear, lifted weights several yards away, proudly displaying muscle groups I didn't know existed.   

Rosenthal was right, as I would quickly discover. Halfway through a series of weight-lifting repetitions — "reverse lunges to rows" (eight per leg), "half-kneeling low-to-high chop" (eight per side), and "step up to overhead presses with weights" (eight per leg) — I felt lightheaded and chugged my bottled water.

Reverse lunges to rows at Dogpound LAPerforming reverse lunges to rows.

JP Mangalindan/Insider

Next up: slamming a weighted medicine ball up and down (20 times) alternated with "step up to press" with weights (eight per side). Picking up and tossing the ball, it turns out, does a number on your core, and I felt my abs tighten during this part of the routine.

The highlight? Battle ropes for several minutes. Unconventional as the practice is, rapidly swinging these 50-foot ropes, which can weigh up to 50 pounds, is a highly effective and intense way to activate muscles all over your body — it's also incredibly fun.

We broke up the battle ropes sets with walking lunges while carrying weights.

Swinging battle ropes at Dogpound LASwinging battle ropes proved a highly effective part of the workout.

JP Mangalindan/Insider

Rosenthal chose to wind down the active part of our session with two rounds of me performing an elevated plank with my arms propped atop a medicine ball. He kept me on my toes by poking at the ball while I fought to maintain my balance.

"Stay on it! Stay on it!" he cheered.

I toppled over at least once.

During the last 10 minutes, Rosenthal stretched out my legs and hamstrings, then used a Theragun on my shoulders and back. The sweet relief of the Theragun battering my body helped me briefly forget some of more the painful and embarrassing moments from this intense workout. 

Our session ended, I felt slightly winded yet energized. I couldn't shake the feeling that Rosenthal had gone easy on me: We hadn't set foot in the boxing ring or lifted a single barbell.

But Rosenthal had done his job: I was sold on the concept of this exclusive, upscale gym and its ridiculously fit clients. 

Since that first workout in September, I've been back for a few more gold-plated sessions on my own dime. And with the new year around the corner, I'll be headed back to the Dogpound for more regular punishment.

This article first appeared on September 22. It was updated on November 26.

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