By: Eric Sandbulte, The Brookings Register

Just in time for everyone’s New Year’s resolutions, husband and wife Aaron and Kari Krogman are ready to start the new year kicking when they open their new kickboxing-themed gym, 9Round, in the first week of January.

“It’s a fitness gym, a place to get fit, not to earn your black belt,” Aaron explained, with a fun, upbeat approach to getting in shape.

9Round is an international chain of gyms with more than 600 locations across the globe. As a company, they’ve worked to make exercise quick, efficient and fun, with 30-minute workouts and no class times to try to meet. Another bonus of the gym will be that a trainer will always be present to help when needed, helping a newcomer apply protective hand wraps, for example.

What truly makes it stand out, though, is the kickboxing. Some people might worry that that means there’s an emphasis on sparring, but that’s not the case. It utilizes a lot of the same exercises found in kickboxing to get people in shape without the need to enter a ring.

“One thing that appealed to me was it combines the three components of exercise at the same time: anaerobic, aerobic and strength training,” Rob Hirrschoff, the general manager at 9Round, said.

Doing those things at once also has the benefit of a more efficient and effective workout, he added.

Located at the Brickwood Plaza (1738 Sixth St.), 9Round breaks up its 30-minute workout sessions into nine three-minute stations, called rounds. These stations are the same every day, but the exercises done at each one change every day, keeping workouts a fresh and new experience every time.

At most of the stations is a different type of punching bag that’s conducive to different punches and kicks. One of the larger ones is the wrecking ball, an elevated ball-like bag that’s useful for working on such things as uppercuts. They also have speed bags, one of the more iconic boxing bags. Elevated and about the size of a head, these help develop hand-eye coordination and a sense of timing and speed.

“Every round is pointing to the wall, so you never have an audience and nobody’s watching you,” Hirrschoff said.

Besides working against bags, there’s also a weightlifting round and a round to work on abs and core strength.

In between each round are 30 seconds of active rest.

“Active rest is another way we can really manipulate the workout based on the level of conditioning. It could be something as simple as 30 seconds of rest if you feel that’s needed,” Hirrschoff said, or it could be 30 seconds of high knee kicks, push-ups or other simple exercises.

The Krogmans said that 9Round appeals to about every age group and can be done by about any age group, too, from 10-year-olds to a 60-year-old woman they met while visiting a South Carolina 9Round.

But they hope that this brings in people who haven’t been in a gym before.

“We realize that there are so many people out there who know they need to work out and just aren’t doing it for some reason. I hope we get those people,” Aaron said. “I’d love to see some people in here that don’t have an athletic background and want to start working out and they finally find something they’re intrigued by.”

People with previous injuries are welcome, too. The trainers can adjust the workouts of the day to safely account for such things as knee or back injuries.

It’s the fun atmosphere that will keep people coming back, the Krogmans said. The gym has a (bell/gong) that can be rung if you have a good workout, and gym-goers can come up with their own fighter nickname.

“I think a lot of fitness gets kind of tangled up in misery and pain,” Aaron said. “Any time you’re exerting yourself, you’re going to feel some physical pain, but at the same time, if there is that warm, welcoming atmosphere, that increases their chances of coming back.”

It’s what kept Aaron and Kari involved when they lived in Sioux Falls, before moving to Brookings about a year ago. Although they had been going to another kickboxing gym in town, when Aaron drove past 9Round, he was intrigued.

Kickboxing in general was a great way for them to do something together while taking a quick break from raising a family of four children.

Soon after moving to Brookings, they built themselves a gym in their home’s basement, Kari said, and they did their workouts there together. When she would talk with coworkers – she’s a behavior specialist for the Brookings School District – about their kickboxing, they would remark about how fun it sounded. But there’s not enough room in their basement for hosting group workouts.

“It was a no-brainier, I think. There a lot of gyms in Brookings, but this is something completely different,” Kari said.

“So, we thought we might as well see if we could make a run of it here,” Aaron added.

The regular rate is $79 per month, but there will be sales at times.

“Right now, … we have a presale rate of $59 per month, no contract, cancel at any time,” Aaron said.

For more information, they recommended checking out their Facebook page, 9Rounds Brookings, or calling the gym at 605-692-5595.

Contact Eric Sandbulte at

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