Old-timey strongmen might not have the chiseled side-abs of today's bodybuilders, but when it came down to practical tasks like bending steel bars or headbutting bears in the gut, they had it going on. Get strong like those mustachioed beasts, at Punch Gym.
The first Austin franchise of a Rhode Island chain founded by a man who survived a rare form of cancer thanks to his dense, impenetrable muscle tissue (seriously), Punch is a one-room house of pain specializing in the sort of unbalanced-weight-intensive strength training that allowed carnival strongmen to shock audiences with feats of might, even as midgets fleeced them with feats of pickpocketing.
The bullish regimen includes tasks like sledgehammering a giant tire, lifting an awkward faux-log, carrying sandbags, and the meat of the matter, the kettlebell: an irregularly distributed weight that forces a stronger grip and therefore more robust workout, it was originally used by Russian farmers to weigh their crops (those guys were all about the wheat of the moment).
Because it isn't all about brute strength, they've also got ancient, dexterity-upping Indian juggling clubs, ceiling-hanging "bandaloop" ropes for bodyweight suspension cardio, and 40ft-long undulation ropes, as seen on The Biggest Loser, by an audience of medium-sized ones.
To dip in your toe, hit Punch's grand-opening celebration tomorrow, with free food, a $50 intro workshop discount, kettlebell pressing challenges, and rope-based strongman competitions in the parking lot, a place typically used to headbutt the beers that fill your bare gut.