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Vertical Chill 2018

London’s extreme fitness classes

Are you ready to feel the burn? These hardcore ways to stay fit in London aren’t for the faint-hearted

By Things To Do Editors
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Keen to turn yourself into a lean, mean fitness machine in 2020? Some say that the best – and most effective – way to whip yourself into shape is via an extreme fitness class. Luckily London's brimming with them – and we've done the leg (and ab) work to pick the most hardcore of the lot. 

Tried out a really tough exercise class in London? Tell us about it in the comments below. 

RECOMMENDED: The best sport and fitness in London

Extreme fitness classes you have to try

Extinction Training at Gymbox

A climate emergency-themed workout? It sounds gimmicky, but this 45-minute session at Gymbox Farringdon will probably make you think as well as sweat. Extinction Training takes places in an oppressively heated room – you'll wear a mask that restricts oxygen and only have access to limited water. Genuine awareness-raiser or greenwashing? There's only one way to find out. 

12a Leather Lane, EC1N 7SS. Farringdon. A range of membership options available

London's alternative fitness classes, british military fitness
London's alternative fitness classes, british military fitness

British Military Fitness

Get ready to stand to attention at British Military Fitness bootcamp sessions, where former and current members of the armed forces will put you through your paces with a ‘civilian-friendly’ version of the regimes used by the British army, navy and RAF. Terrified? Don’t be. The workouts are suitable for all ability levels, so you won’t get thrown in at the deep end – but you might fall over in the mud.

Multiple locations. Your first session is free – a range of membership options available 

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Roller Skiing
Roller Skiing

Roller Ski UK

Never heard of rollerskiing? It’s exactly what it sounds like – a combination of rollerblading and skiing. Roller Ski UK’s sessions take place in Hyde Park and Victoria Park, but you won’t have any trouble finding the group – they’ll be the ones wearing tiny skis on wheels. And if you’re worried about falling over, don’t panic: you’ll be well protected with knee pads, a helmet and gloves. It’s a lot of fun, but be prepared to get a few funny looks as you whizz past people.

Hyde Park and Victoria Park. £35 per session including equipment.

WakeUp Docklands
WakeUp Docklands
Andy Parsons

Wakeup Docklands

Wakeboarding in London? Yes, really. But don’t panic, you’re not likely to run into one of those Thames River cruise tours, as Wakeup Docklands’ sessions take place in the enclosed Royal Victoria Dock. You’ll ride a wakeboard while holding on to a cable, which pulls you around the dock. The cables have adjustable speeds, so you can take it slow while you learn the ropes or crank things up a notch and master some tricks.

Royal Victoria Beach, E16 1AG. Royal Victoria DLR. From £35.

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Strongman Training at The Commando Temple

Head to Deptford to learn how to flip massive tyres, haul on ropes and heave sleds around, just like the near-superhuman men and women on TV. The Commando Temple offers group sessions for all genders, and they're super friendly – smiles are guaranteed as well as serious gains. 

16 Resolution Way, SE8 4NT. Deptford. £20 per class, cheaper if bought in bulk

Vertical Chill Climbing
Vertical Chill Climbing

Vertical Chill

Experience Arctic conditions without leaving Zone 1 at Vertical Chill, an ice-climbing wall in Covent Garden where temperatures range from an icy -5C to -12C. Based at Ellis Brigham’s Tower House shop in Covent Garden, the wall is eight metres high and suitable for climbers of all levels. At the start of your session you’ll be kitted out with thermal gear, a helmet, a harness and crampons, but it wouldn’t hurt to wear a few layers to keep the chill out too.

Tower House, 10-12 Southampton St, WC2E 7HA. Covent Garden. £25, £50 with equipment hire and tuition.

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Boxit Bootcamp

You don’t have to get into the ring to throw some punches. Boxit Bootcamp’s sessions on Clapham Common combine body weight and cardio exercises with improving your boxing skills on the pads. Kit is provided, so all you have to do is show up and unleash your inner Rocky Balboa. But be warned: this isn’t for fair-weather fighters – sessions run whatever the weather.

Clapham Common. Clapham South. £12 per class (cheaper bought in bulk).

More unusual ways to stay active in London?

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