Three Gyms One Detroit. Part 2: Proving Grounds Strength and Konditioning

One of the coolest places I have ever been is the RIC also known as the Russell Industrial Center.  It is a 1.2 million square foot complex and home to Michael Axtell’s Proving Grounds Strength and Conditioning.  It has been the home for a few GORUCK events to include Constellation. We got the VIP tour of the building and his gym.

This gym is bad ass and raw. It is where you go to lift heavy shit and throw it around. Being at the RIC is the perfect place for an industrial workout in an industrial building. This is pure Detroit and it’s raw and real.


I am Michael Axtell I own Proving Grounds and Strength Konditioning and we are at the Russell Industrial Center in Detroit. 
How long have y’all been here?
We just recently passed the year and a half mark. 
What does your gym focus on?
It is performance based. Most of our people are strong man, power lifters, and we have a good bit of Crossitters. 
Are y’all lifelong Detroit residents?
Yes, I even did my Masters Thesis on Detroit. 
Tell me about the Russell Industrial Center?
It was built in 1925 and was used to build car bodies and chassis for the automotive Industry. 
The RIC has hosted a few GORUCK events lately.
Yes, Cadre Jesse H ran a Tough and a Light out of here. Constellation was here just recently and Cadre Rage lead an event here and never left the Russell. 
You and your wife completed Constellation?
Yes, we loved it. Now my wife Lori is ready to do a Tough. 
Who is this pup protecting us today?
Monte short for Monster. 
We have an Monster at GRHQ. Who is the other pup in the gym?
That is Lando named after the Star Wars character. 
How many businesses are here now?
At the peak there were 180, now there around 60 due to some fire code issues. But they are working on that now. It is a great spot. A lot of Superman vs. Batman was filmed here and we have food trucks that come here as well. 
Most of the tenants in here are artists and small startup businesses?

Yes, all startups. This is the best place ever to incubate a small business. Month to month rent and lots of space with protected parking and 1.2 million square feet of space.

I really enjoyed touring the Russell and seeing all the strongman equipment around the gym. It is a testimony to being a better American. It is great to see the people of Detroit saving places like this and allowing small business to thrive. Thank you Michael and Lori for making the Russell a better place. For more stories like this please check out GORUCK America 
in the GORUCK News search feature. Next stop: Detroit Body Garage.
Christopher Goad

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