Lifting weights in the armpit of Vinohrady
Polská 1, Prague 2
Open 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, and holidays
Tel: 222 254 455
The Kulturistický Sportovní Klub stinks. It reeks of perspiration and body odor. It smells of armpits and crotches and that sweaty patch of skin behind the knee. The walls are lined with ‘80s-vintage fitness photographs, and the manager is a freakish female bodybuilder who barks at the patrons, asking them whether they’ve brought her any new porn. She wears tremendous glasses and has a horrifying mole on the side of her neck.
You don’t go to this fitness center for the social scene. At least I don’t. I value the anonymity of the place, making use of the utilitarian weights and machines without any inclination to form one of those strange anomalies of working out, gym friendships. Though it is sometimes rewarding (in a purely anthropological sense) to walk out of the locker room and grunt “čau” and have a pack of Neanderthals grunt it back at me, I leave it at that.
And Neanderthals are what most of these men are. If you want to know why men sometimes get a less-than-honorable reputation, go to my gym, hit the weights, and observe. The place is full of mullet-headed men pulling heavy weights incorrectly, vaingloriously, ridiculously. Some huddle between sets around the obelisk-like machines, hurling insults at each other and doing much more posturing than exercising. Others – mostly sheepish young men – gather in mute pairs, their workout wear hanging loosely off their gangly frames, looking on as their partners go through their repetitions.
This is all strangely liberating. I’m not tempted to talk to anybody here, so I can concentrate. I put on my headphones (Rage Against the Machine, Fugazi, Appetite for Destruction-era Guns N’ Roses) and push myself hard, egged on by the loud music and a sense of disgust. Each nostril-full produces an extra rep, each tonsorial outrage a mocking call to arms.
Locker rooms are lessons in humanity – the tension of mass nudity, the Darwinian urge to size up each others’ naked bodies while retaining the sense of discretion that is sometimes cited as one of the things that separates us from the animals. ... The rusty locker doors of the Kulturisticky Sportovni Klub hang off the hinges at odd angles from all the times they’ve been jarred open. There is hair permanently stuck in the grate in the barren shower room, and doubtless strains of athlete’s foot as toxic as anything Saddam’s scientists might have cooked up. I’m the only person I’ve ever seen wear sandals in there.
Occasionally a lone woman comes in to work out. She invariably has the look of the hunted in her eyes. Most are one-timers who realize their error and never return. Each stinking male (myself included, of course), dripping with atavistic urges and dizzy with testosterone and endorphins, lasciviously watches the sole woman meekly going through her routine. Other girls come with their boyfriends, big men swelled with muscle and murky anger who parade their bodies and wait – and probably hope – that a guy will look just a bit too long at his girlfriend.
You can purchase Creatine, the purportedly muscle-building powder beloved of many baseball power hitters, as well as anabolic shakes and even pivo. Also available are a range of energy and protein bars, bananas, Tatrankys, sugar sticks and fruity energy drinks. Many of the resident no-necks like to strut around drinking the neon-bright beverages, looking tough in their baggy, outrageously colored workout pants and vaguely pugilistic with their weightlifting gloves.
The Kulturistický Sportovní Klub is located in a giant monstrosity of communist-era school gym. Coming and going, you might bump into a troop of preteen ballerinas or a high school hockey team. At night the surrounding park is dark and empty, spectral figures prowling about the greens. I don my headphones and disappear into the shadows, half hoping, after so much pumping up, that some mugger will be foolish enough to take me on. And wondering how I’d look with a mullet.
Jeremy Hurewitz can barely lift his own head at firstname.lastname@example.org
A selection of Prague gyms
Fit Centrum Vagon
Národní 25, Prague 1
221 085 544
700 Kč/month for students
World Class Health Academy
V Celnici 10, Prague 1
221 033 033
3,550 Kč/month for VIP- all inclusive
3,150 Kč/month for fitness center
2,790 Kč/month for swimming pool
Na Poříčí 12, Prague 1
224 875 811
2,000 Kč/3 months
Náměstí Curieových 5, Prague 1
224 881 111 or 224 881 525
Milevská 7, Prague 4
261 164 791
5,000 Kč/month, other memberships available
Corinthia Towers Hotel
Kongresová 1, Prague 4
261 191 326
2,600 Kč/10x 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
3,500 Kč/10x anytime visits
Nádražní 32, Prague 5
221 420 800
Cost: 1,000 Kč deposit/20 percent student discount
Hospital Na Homolce
Roentgenova 2, Prague 5
257 272 016
4,000 Kč/20x, other memberships available
Fitness Center Hilton Hotel
Pobřežní 1, Prague 8
224 842 713
4,000 Kč10 visits, other memberships available
Softball is returning to Prague in the aid of charity by Ross Kennerley - Prague.TV
The time has almost arrived when softball returns to Prague for people to have fun and help an NGO raise money for local education
Czech Extraliga playoffs crank up the heat on the ice by Ross Kennerley - Prague.TV (Foto: HC Sparta Praha FB)
An exciting period of Czech sport is approaching as the ice hockey Extraliga playoffs return
Jakub Sladek – European baseball star by Ross Kennerley - Prague.TV (Foto: baseball.cz)
Prague.TV interview with Kotlářka Praha star player Jakub Sladek
When the pride of Prague football is at stake by Ross Kennerley - Prague.TV (Foto: Slavia Prague)
As the Czech capital unites in attendance of derby matches, it divides in allegiance
Roger Federer heading to Prague to promote Laver Cup by Ross Kennerley - Prague.TV (Foto: Laver Cup FB)
Recent Australian Open winner and Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer will be appearing in Prague on Monday (20.2)
Sokol turns 155 by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Slavic group is known for synchronized gymnastics
Plzen and Prague battle it out for Czech football superiority by Ross Kennerley - Prague.TV (Foto: AC Sparta Prague FB)
Plzen continue to push as Prague hosts big derby – Czech Football League preview
Sonka soars to victory in opening Red Bull Air Race in Abu Dhabi by Ross Kennerley - Prague.TV (Foto: Joerg Mitter / Red Bull Content Pool)
The 10th season of the official World Championship started with its anniversary 75th race
New ice stadium to be built near Skalka by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV (Foto: Padok Investments)
Modern training center should open at the start of 2018
EL Preview: FC Rostov vs. Sparta Prague by Ross Kennerley - Prague.TV (Foto: AC Sparta Prague FB)
Sparta Prague returns to competitive football looking to reach Europa League last-16
Prague Airport Transport: Private, Shuttle & Limo-service!
Your cheapest calls home!
Don’t miss out on historical low Czech mortgage rates!
Kids Indoor Playground in Prague 5, OC Zlicin
HUGO Bike Prague & Segwaytrip
Outdoor Adventure Minigolf
Indoor Playground in Prague 5, Zlicin
Kotlářka Praha - American Baseball