It’s time to trade in treadmill tedium for some more fulfilling workouts – and there’s no better city to do that in than London, where standard squats and burpees just aren’t cutting it anymore. Florence Derrick rounds up seven of the capital’s most weird and wonderful workouts.
The genius of axe throwing is that it builds upper body strength while helping you to let go – and then some – of those daily stresses. In aisles with wooden targets at the end, the Whistle Punks tutors teach you the perfect technique for hitting the bulls-eye, while it’s up to you who that target represents (whether that’s your boss, ex or just January in general). It’s like darts, but fun.
Vauxhall | £18.75
Downward dog getting you down? Make Madonna proud at a Voga class, which jazzes up the ancient discipline of yoga with voguing – fashion-editorial inspired dance moves from 80s New York’s drag ballroom scene. Disco pants-clad teachers cheer you on to 80s house classics while you not only do some serious upper arm and abs work, but also learn some dramatically camp shapes to throw next time you’re in the club. There’s nothing to it…
Borough, Covent Garden and Hackney | £15
A HIIT class is punishing enough as it is. But attempting sit ups and squats while floating in a swimming pool? That’s what the mavericks behind FloatFit have come up with, on custom-made inflatable boards designed to make you feel maximum burn. You’ll be so focused on keeping your balance that you won’t even notice how hard your core is working – and if you get a bit hot and sweaty you can always slip off the side into the water.
Haymarket, Kentish Town, Pimlico, Stratford and Tottenham Court Road | £8.25
Standing at a ballet barre practising your points and pliés might not sound like hard work, but Disco Barre is, deceptively, the hardest workout on this list. To a soundtrack of disco house, each small move is precise, intense and sexy, engaging muscles you didn’t know you had from your shoulders to your abs to your toes. It’ll make you sweat with minimum movement and leave you aching for days afterwards. In a good way.
Covent Garden and London Fields | Drop-in classes are £14
If your nine-to-five makes you dream of running away with the circus, do the next best thing: learn Aerial Silks with Flying Fantastic. Equipped with just two lengths of silk rope hanging from the ceiling (and a big old crash mat) you’ll learn how to climb up and wrap them around you in just the right way for tumbling back down to earth – in theory, gracefully, and stopping short of the mat. You’ll get there in the end.
Battersea, Old Street, Southwark and Wimbledon | Classes start at £16
Half dance party, half workout, Disco Yoga might be London’s most entertaining fitness class. Participants pat glitter onto their cheeks before launching into an energised routine that combines disco arm rolls and finger clicking with warrior poses and sun salutations – all to live DJ-spun bangers by Diana Ross, The Bee Gees and Chic.
Kensal Rise, Peckham and Shoreditch | £10
Don a colourful mask at the London School of Lucha Libre, which teaches beginner wrestling classes by experts in the acrobatic style of Mexican wrestling – with a British twist. Or you could try one of EVE’s beginner wrestling classes for women. Wrestling is a flamboyant and empowering way to get fit, underpinned by hardcore cardio circuits and muscle work. All you need now is that all-important wrestling persona.
Bethnal Green | Classes start at £10