McBurney YMCA Opens Strength-Training Center

By Mathew Katz on September 11, 2012 3:54pm 

CHELSEA — The YMCA is bulking up.

In the face of high concept gyms with hefty membership fees, the McBurney YMCA on West 14th Street wants to help pump you up — without deflating your wallet.

The community center at 125 W. 14th St., between Sixth and Seventh avenues, unveiled a new 3,362 square-foot strength training center this week. The new spot will give members access to a dizzying array of brand new, top-of-the-line Life Fitness equipment, including weights, dumbbells and workout machines designed to create bulging muscles.

The new space has 154 new plates, 68 new dumbbells, 14 new barbells, and 42 new machines for weightlifters' bench pressing, squatting and deadlifting needs. The overhauled center cost the YMCA roughly $300,000.

Use of the state-of-the-art facility is included with a McBurney YMCA membership, which is $93 a month, not including discounts for students and seniors. The center plans to waive its joining fee for the next month.

By comparison, the nearby Equinox Gym on Greenwich Ave. is $183 a month, though with extra sign-up fees, it'll cost you over $550 to sign up. The closest Crunch Gym at Union Square runs $89.99 a month, but with extra fees, it costs over $300 to get started.

"It's serves a lot of people in the community," said John Rappaport, the center's senior executive director.

He added that the center is committed to helping locals reduce obesity and live active lifestyles, this time by investing in strength training — something that might seem outdated in a world of yoga and Pilates.

"It's still a bread-and-butter activity that people need and want to do," Rappaport said. "The new center has anybody of any fitness level to work on any of their muscles."

The center also offers a free 12-week personal fitness program that allows members without much experience exercising to work one-on-one with a personal fitness coach to figure out how to achieve their goals.

Jim Dolle, the center's Healthy Lifestyle director, said the YMCA also offers a stronger community than many of the city's commercial gyms, especially among seniors.

"Everyone talks here. People are much more amiable here," he said. "Infants to octogenarians, we've got them all."

On Tuesday, many longtime YMCA members were busy enjoying the new center, lifting weights and panting on some of the new machines.

"The weight-training room is awesome," said Amy Gould, a member of the McBurney YMCA since 2007. "It makes you feel special when they fix the whole place and my dues don't go up."

Sam Davis, 73, had just finished doing an hour of leg exercises Tuesday afternoon.

"I love it. I love the new machines," said Davis, who's been coming to the center since 1965 and works out there seven days a week.

"Without this building, I would've died a long time ago."

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