SWEAT TEST: The Russian Kettlebell Class at Maxercise

Should you do it or ditch it? We try out area classes so you don’t have to waste time — or money — on workouts that don’t make the grade

What we want: A tried-and-true workout that’ll build lean muscle, including our less-than-toned midsection.

What we tried: The 11:30 a.m. kettlebell class at Maxercise — the Center City sweathouse that owns bragging rights as the first kettlebell gym in the nation — on Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Who was teaching: Alma Qualli

Student/teacher ratio when we dropped by: 3:1

What we loved: The step-by-step instruction and demonstration from Alma that allowed first-time kettlebell-ers to pick up the movements. Her hands-on approach ensures you are kettlebelling properly so you’ll score the all-over tone you’re after.

Did we sweat?: Absolutely. Unlike free weights, which focus on a single muscle group, the variety of grips the kettlebells offer — along with the swinging motion — works every muscle in your body. It’s a true sweat-a-thon.

Lockers/Showers: Yep. There’s ample room to stash your stuff and roomy clean shower facilities to cool off and clean up — which means you can get back to work, without looking like hell, from your lunchtime workout.

Do it or Ditch it: Depends on your commitment level. Working with the kettlebells takes practice. Two one-on-one sessions with a trainer are required before popping in a class for a lunch break sweat-session. But, for those who stick with it, it is undeniably an amazing class.

Weigh In: Have you tried this class? Tell us what you thought! And if you have a class you loved or hated, let us know. We could run your Sweat Test in an upcoming newsletter.

2 PT sessions $50 each. $20 drop-in, $50 monthly gym access $10 per class; Maxercise Philadelphia, 707 Chestnut, 2nd floor, 215-928-1374, maxercise.net