This Philly Trainer Invented a New Boutique-Style Workout, and It’s Totally Fun

We tried Rhythmlab. It was a sweaty, fun time.

Working on abs in a Rhythmlab class. Photograph by Caroline Cunningham.

It’s not often that you come across a totally new way to workout. Spin, barre, Pilates — these are all workout styles we know and love. But Philly trainer Jackie Dragone — who also works as Flywheel’s lead instructor for the area — has come up with her own new concept, which combines a bunch of our fave mat concepts into one body-pumping sweat session.

Her concept is called Rhythmlab, and she’s been premiering it in pop-ups around the city for several months. A former dancer, Dragone brings her love of music-driven exercise into the workout, so every move is set to the beat of the music.

On Saturday, Dragone hosted a pop-up class at the Headlong studio space on Broad Street. Everyone was asked to bring mats, while Dragone provided the rubber resistance bands — the only piece of equipment we’d need for the full-body toning session. While Rhythmlab is its own thing and doesn’t really fit into any category — it’s not barre and it’s not Pilates, even if it plays off of both those styles of exercise — the basic premise is it’s designed to be easy to follow. The workout uses functional movements — things like planks, walk-outs, squats — that everyone already knows how to do. Then, the entire 50-minute class is timed to the music, so you know exactly how fast to move and you can easily follow the person next to you if you get off the beat.

The workout moves through different target zones — legs, butt, arms, abs — so that by the end, you’ve worked every muscle group. For legs, you might move from side lunges to runner’s lunges. Butt exercises involve kneeling and kicking your foot up behind you. Arms get the resistance bands involved — the middle of it loops under your feet, and you pull on either end — and you can plan on doing a lot of variations of crunches for the abs segment.

Because you’re moving with Dragone’s blood-pumping playlist throughout the workout — including kicking things into high gear when the beat drops — the 50-minute class flies by fast. Even better, it makes the workout — dare we say it — fun. 

Rhythmlab doesn’t currently have a permanent home, so for now, the classes will continue to run pop-up style. Dragone says she’s hoping to host two of the workouts a month going forward, so keep an eye on Rhythmlab’s Instagram handle for the next one.

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