I’ve been in Kyiv (also known as Kiev in English, but the Ukrainians are very keen on it being called Kyiv, which is the Ukrainian and not the Russian spelling) for a few days now, and after two days of drinking beer and eating hearty food, I wanted to get back to my Gym routine.
So I googled my ass off. “day pass gym”, “gym kiev” and so on. I found a thread on reddit, but some of those gyms didn’t exist anymore and their websites (in Ukrainian only) didn’t really help me, either.
This morning, my buddy Daniel who I had met here, mentioned an outdoor gym in “Hidropark”. I had just been there the day before, but never saw a gym. After a bit of googling it turns out, this outdoor gym actually exists.
And, ladies and gentlemen, it is AWESOME. Holy crap. Here’s a few impressions:
You get to the gym by taking the red metro line to “Hidropark” and then exiting North. You walk across the bridge to the other island, and you will see what you see on this photo on your right hand side. Yes, there’s also a beach right next to it. I know gyms at the beach from Rio de Janeiro, but would not have expected that in Kyiv.
My current program contains a few calisthenic exercises, like dips and bodyweight rows, so I was happy they had a big calisthenics section. But that’s just the beginning.
Then, it gets interesting — because the weights are coming. There is everything, I couldn’t find anything that was not there (aside of maybe some machines that you know from your gym at home, but let’s be honest, who needs these when you can have barbells).
And well, there is a lot (like A LOT) of benches for bench press. As you can see above, you can’t change the weight plates, so they just have one bench for every weight. Pretty sweet, eh?
You can pretty much train anything there, and yes, it’s completely free. You just walk there. Which makes me wonder: how come no city in Germany has something like that?
I also lift a lot, and consider myself pretty well in shape, but when I saw the big Ukrainian men (Hulks? Machines?) with very non-happy (or Eastern European) facial expressions train there, I felt small. Really small. Like, smaller than I normally feel when I train with the Rugby guys from our Lacrosse club.
But I guess if you grow up in Kyiv, don’t have anything to do, you just lift your ass off. And they did put in hell of an effort.
Okay, where exactly is this magical place?
You can find the exact location here. Just take the red metro line there and follow my directions in the beginning.
I have one more good story about this: as you can see, the island is connected by two bridges to the two sides of Kyiv. Everything of importance is on the West side, and so was my Airbnb. Well, when I tried to go back, the bridge was closed. For everything. Metro, Pedestrians, Cars, everything.
Well, shit. What do you do now? It’s kind of strange to be stuck on an island, with the only real possibility of you getting back taking the metro — which isn’t running either.
Luckily, after about an hour of walking around (in which I met two Germans who spoke as little Ukrainian as I do and thus had no idea what the hell was going on, either), we figured we’ll just go to the other side and see what we can do there.
Fortunately, I found this modern looking train that then took me across the river on a different route, to a metro stop, and then I made it back home eventually. Phew.
What an experience. That’s the kind of stuff you get to do when you travel on your own to exotic places. Can highly recommend!
And if you found this article on Google, I really hope you enjoy your workout — do it. It’s awesome!
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