Kangoo is the craziest, sweatiest, and — most importantly — effective workout I have ever tried. It combines running, dance moves and jumping, all while balancing on shoes that look similar to rollerblades except they have a spring-loaded sole for maximum bounce.
My inner five-year-old was delighted: Who knew hopping around like a kangaroo could be so much fun? But don't be fooled: It's an intense workout that requires core strength, agility, and endurance. (You torch twice as many calories as running while minimizing the impact on your knees and joints by as much as 80%.)
When I arrived at New York Health & Racquet Club with my co-worker and friend, Rachel, we didn't know what to expect from this new-to-us workout. We exercise a few times a week, but we're not "married" to a fitness routine. I practice vinyasa yoga and occasionally go paddleboarding, and Rachel does T25 (a workout video series similar to Insanity) and urban rebounding (a cardio class featuring mini trampolines). But nothing could have prepared us for the heart-pounding 45 minutes that would follow.
We met Victor, our instructor, whose students have christened him with the nickname "Victor the Inflictor." Gulp. As we pulled on our high socks (so our skin wouldn't scrape the sides of the boots), he told us that students rarely ever fall flat on their faces, which was reassuring. In fact, he ran a marathon across the Brooklyn Bridge wearing his Kangoo Jumps. Grasping onto the bar, Rachel and I were forced to let go — here goes all or nothing.
I spent the first third of class concentrating and learning to maneuver but once I got the hang of it, I was able to enjoy the dance party atmosphere and fully embrace the moves. One huge benefit for brides is that the boots make you six inches taller, so you're forced to practice perfect posture to avoid falling forward, which comes in handy for the walk down the aisle.
We performed side-to-side shuffles, jumping jacks, jump rope, kickbacks, the mambo, and double taps. We also spun around 360 degrees while fist pumping and practiced running forwards and then "skiing" backward as fast as we could. After 15 minutes, our calves were burning. Although the boots are low impact, they weigh four pounds each and require that the core, leg and glutes muscles work overtime to maintain stability. (I would suggest supplementing with weight training for your arms.) The most challenging exercises were the high knee lifts and deep low squats.
At the end of class, when we put our normal shoes back on, we felt a strange sensation like when you get off a boat, and you're still rocking. Our faces were beet red from the exertion, and we were dripping with sweat. My mild headache and stomach pain from earlier in the day had vanished, with the best kind of soreness taking its place. Rachel and I high-fived Victor, and we couldn't help feeling badass thanks to our newest obsession.
You can purchase your own Kangoo Jumps shoes for $229 and up, or look for classes at gyms nationwide (where the shoes are provided gratis).
Tell us: How are you getting in shape for your wedding?
— Stefania Sainato