Calisthenics in London

There are different ways you can practice calisthenics in London. I prefer classes because I find the environment more motivating, but you could easily work out alone. If you can have equipment such as a pull up bar at home, that’s ideal. Otherwise, you can go to the nearest park that has some (and hope that the weather is okay…).

Classes

Most of these are available on Classpass, or otherwise have various payment options. I’ve listed the single class price as a benchmark, but it’s usually the least effective way to pay for classes. When looking for classes, also search for “gymnastic strength training” or equivalent – it’s often the same thing.

If you’re interested in specific skills such as pull ups or handstands, you can sometimes find relevant workshops elsewhere. Handstands are especially popular amongst aerial and yoga studios as well.

Blok

Currently, there’s one in Shoreditch and one in Clapton. A single class at Shoreditch is £17 and £15 at Clapton.

I usually go to the Shoreditch one and like it a lot. each instructor has a slightly different style, but every class will include pull ups (or a variation) and core work. The gym puts an emphasis on design that is still rare in this industry, which makes it a pleasure to visit. They have pull up bars, monkey bars, dip bars, wall bars, paralettes, etc. As far as I know they don’t have rings.

I’ve only been to Clapton once. It’s a cool space. The studio and changing rooms were smaller and the music a bit louder. There were pull up bars, dip bars, paralettes, bands, etc. We used rings but I think it was a special case rather than part of everyday classes.

Metabolic

Located in Camden. A single class costs £20. The calisthenics classes are usually in a smaller room next to the main one. They have pull up bars, a dip bar, some rings and bands. It was a bit crowded when I went, both the class and the changing rooms.

Cali Flow

Located in South Kensington. A single class costs £22. It opened very recently. They offer calisthenics-based classes and different varieties of yoga and meditation. As far as I know they’re the only studio that has more differentiation than just a generic “Calisthenics” class – they have separate strength, stretch/mobility and skill-based classes and a relatively wide variety of instructors.

I really like this one, I just wish the location was more convenient for me. It’s on the smaller side, which typically also means smaller group sizes (which is good IMO, and it can explain higher prices – but you usually then also get more attention for your money). It has glass walls on the front so people from the street can see you work out, if that bothers you. They have of pull up bars, dip bars, rings, kettlebells, wall bars, paralettes etc. They also offer free tea (or water of course) before or after class, which has always been part of my dream studio idea but I haven’t actually seen before in reality.

Stretch

Located in East London on Ada Street (their other location doesn’t offer calisthenics). I’ve only been there a couple of times, both of which happened to be handstand focused. One of the classes was very busy and the other quite empty, so it varies. The changing room situation isn’t ideal, but apart from that it was good.

Move Hackney

Located in Hackney, as the name says. I’ve only been there once and really enjoyed it, but the location/times don’t work well for me at the moment. Classes generally seem to be small group and follow a progression over several weeks. They also have some unique touches. For example, we did weighted chin ups, which I haven’t experienced anywhere else yet. When I was there there was also free coffee, which is a big bonus at a morning class…

Parks

Here are a couple of links to lists of London parks with at least some calisthenics equipment. Both have ratings, pictures and descriptions of each location. They’re not exhaustive, but they are fairly accurate.

The best place to go is probably the Trim Trail on Primrose Hill, which is just north of Regent’s Park. It can get pretty busy in sunny weather though.

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