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London’s best alternative fitness classes

From wrestling and circus skills to litter-picking and disco yoga, shake up your exercise regime at one of London’s best alternative fitness classes

Written by
Isabelle Aron
Kate Lloyd
Ellie Walker-Arnott

Pounding the treadmill in the gym isn't for everyone and it’s definitely not the only way to keep active. In fact, raising your heartrate and getting a sweat on doesn't have to be boring or repetitive, especially when there are so many unique ways of working out in London. Whether you fancy wrestling, hula-hooping, trampolining, kayaking, pole-dancing or disco-yoga, we’ve rounded up some of the best alternative fitness in London.

RECOMMENDED: Your guide to the best ways to get fit in London

Alternative fitness in London

Live out your ‘Glow’ dreams

1. Live out your ‘Glow’ dreams

Can you smell what The Rock is cooking? You might be able to at the London School of Lucha Libre. It’s the only one of its kind in the UK, teaching the art and science of British, Mexican, Japanese and American-style pro wrestling. As anyone who has binge-watched Netflix show ‘Glow’ will know: it’s the most showstopping, silly and hardcore way to get fit.

Resistance Gallery, 265 Poyser St, E2 9RF. Beginners’ sessions: Mondays and Wednesdays at 7.30pm. £10 per class.

Play school games

2. Play school games

Remember those games you played at school? British bulldog, capture the flag, dodgeball… They’re back – and this time they count as a workout. Rabble’s outdoor sessions feature souped-up versions of classic playground games that’ll improve your strength, agility and endurance. They’re as fun as they were when you were five, too.

Multiple locations. £14 per game. 

Make pole dancing empowering

3. Make pole dancing empowering

You’ll find London’s most badass dance class at actress, personal trainer and twerking legend Kelechi Okafor’s Kelechnekoff Studio in Peckham. Her pole dance classes don’t just teach beginners how to spin and climb, they’re lessons in becoming body confident.

Kelechnekoff Studio, 161 Sumner Rd, SE15 6JL. Peckham Rye Overground. £15.

Do good and feel good

4. Do good and feel good

Sure, jogging is a good way to work up a sweat but running in circles around your local park can feel a bit, er, pointless. Give yourself a reason to pound the pavements with GoodGym’s feel-good fitness sessions, which combine running with community projects and helping older people. You run there, do your bit, then run back. Think how great you’ll feel when you throw a good deed buzz into the mix with all those endorphins.

Multiple locations. Free or an optional £9.95 monthly donation.

Coat your yoga sesh in glitter

5. Coat your yoga sesh in glitter

Ah, yoga… It’s all plain white rooms and ultimate chillout anthems, right? Wrong. At Disco Yoga the stretching sessions feature a glitter station, confetti cannons and a banging ’70s soundtrack. There’s even a superfood cocktail (with or without booze) included in the ticket price. Hallelujah, it’s raining zen!

Monthly at Prince of Peckham on Wednesdays. (1 Clayton Rd, SE15 5JA). Weekly at Trapeze Bar on Tuesdays (87 Great Eastern St, EC2A 3HX). From £16.

Sightsee while you sweat

6. Sightsee while you sweat

Take the plunge and go on an aquatic adventure with Kayaking London. You can paddle along the Thames to see the London Eye and Houses of Parliament, before returning to Chelsea. All the money the team makes is reinvested in youth and community work, so you’ll be doing some good while you splash around.

Cremorne Riverside, Cremorne Gardens, Lots Rd, SW10 0QH. Imperial Wharf. From £49.

Join the circus

7. Join the circus

Most exercise classes don’t require you to be suspended in mid-air for the majority of the session, but this is no ordinary workout. Flying Fantastic’s Aerial Trapeze will put your flexibility and core strength to the test, where you’ll learn how to move between different positions while on the trapeze. ‘Cirque du Soleil’-style workouts involve dangling from all sorts of stuff: silks, hoops, slings and ropes.

Various locations. £26, £21 off-peak.

Jump around

8. Jump around

Make like Destiny’s Child and go jumpin’, jumpin’ in a leisure centre filled with more than 150 trampolines. Oxygen Freejumping Park in Acton was the first of its kind in London when it opened and now it has branches in south and east London too. Head there for a simple bouncing sesh or join one of the fitness classes, obstacle courses or trampolining courses.

Various locations. £8.50-£15.50.

Paddle and litter pick

9. Paddle and litter pick

Spending a few hours picking up litter might not sound like an obvious way to work your core, but your body will definitely feel the effects after a Paddle & Pick session with Active 360. You’ll paddleboard around London’s waterways, cleaning up the canals and removing plastic waste as you go. It’ll seriously test your balance and you’ll be doing David Attenborough proud. Win-win.

Multiple locations. Beginners sessions from £49 (inc training).

10. Get your vitamin D hit

Top up your vitamin D levels and get those endorphins pumping at this speedy HIIT session. Zip Fit Club offers 30-minute workouts in parks all over London, which are specifically designed to combat the effects of being slumped over your keyboard all day. You’ll work on lengthening tight hamstrings, toning up your legs and bum and strengthening your core. It’ll be over before you know it, though your muscles might be aching for a few days.

Hyde Park, SW1. Membership from £29.99 per month.

Get gloved up in London

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