Fitness Class Review: Kangoo Jumps at Chakaboom Fitness

The dance-aerobics class takes place entirely on low-impact, bouncy boots.

Kangoo Jumps class takes place on special boots designed for low-impact exercises. Photographs by Melissa Romero.

These days, most fitness classes make a lot of bold claims: It’s the best workout of your life. You’ll be instantly hooked. You’ll shave inches off your waist. But rarely do they claim you’ll have fun doing a fourth set of pushups or holding a squat until your legs turn into Jell-O.

So it’s refreshing to know there are options out there like Kangoo Jumps, which has drawn a diverse group of moms, children, college students, even grandmas to the Franconia Fire Station each week for 45 minutes of dancing and jumping—and lots of laughing and smiling.

Roberson Magalhaes is the brains behind Kangoo Jumps, the fitness class that’s offered under his and cofounder Leo Lins’s Chakaboom Fitness program. The two young instructors, who hail from Brazil, brought Chakaboom to Northern Virginia three years ago. Chakaboom is offered in Annandale, Burke, and Franconia, but Kangoo Jumps only takes place at the Franconia Fire Station.

First-time Kangoo Jumpers are fitted with special boots prior to class and are taught how to properly stand up without falling on your face. Kangoo Jump boots resemble rollerblades, but the wheels are replaced with a rocking-chair-like piece that bounces when you jump and makes for some seriously wobbly legs when standing still.

In other words, you look slightly ridiculous wearing them. But after one class, you’ll want to jump around in them all day.

Magalhaes began Saturday’s 11:30 AM session with a warmup of high knees and grapevines that left me breathless after just one song. From there, he and spritely co-instructor Sachiko Kataoka led us through various dance sequences per song, with moves that involved a combination of jumping jacks, squat jumps, and one-legged bouncing around the room.

After just a few minutes, it was clear what attracts such large crowds to Kangoo Jumps. For one, research shows that due to the high-intensity, constant jumping one does in 45 minutes, you can burn 25 to 50 percent more calories than in a traditional dance class. Kathleen Smith, who has been a part of the Chakaboom community for the past two years, said she owes her 30-pound weight loss to the Kangoo Jumps class.

Even better: The boots make the workout low-impact. Chakaboom employee Alli Andresen said she trained for a ten-mile race while wearing the Kangoo Jump boots, which a majority of active class-goers end up buying for $250.

By the time Lins ended the class with one last all-out dance and a quick cooldown on yoga mats, I was already worrying about sore quads and glutes the next day from all of that jumping. But despite a tender lower back, I was pleased to wake up without the need to waddle around like a penguin.

Now that’s my kind of workout.

Kangoo Jumps. 6300 Beulah St., Franconia; 703-582-7754. $12.33 per class.