New fitness trend: the Urban Gym

Fitness classes in city parks are increasingly popular, but you can exercise just as effectively on the streets...

The Urban Gym is a new outdoor workout in the heart of London and Bristol (with more cities to be added soon).

Qualified fitness instructors lead small groups on hour-long runs around the city, with frequent stops to perform static exercises on ‘street furniture’. It’s a middle way between circuits in the park, where your city base is rendered largely irrelevant, and parkour, which uses the city to the max but is too challenging to have mass appeal.

It is run by the team behind the Rat Race Adventure, a multi-sport adventure challenge set in Bristol, London and Edinburgh. The Urban Gym believes that inner-city streets are the perfect setting for an exciting workout.

During the session you jog for much of the time but the key is the route: the organisers meticulously research routes around different parts of the city, avoiding main roads and opting for twisting, turning streets and hidden alleyways.

The routes also offer an opportunity to see the city in a different light. Railings around a car park are not just railings; they are pull-up bars. Benches are for dips, steps are for jumping up, and even walls are for squatting against in a thigh-burning stance. On one London route, participants use the underside of the Millennium bridge to execute chin-ups.

The London sessions start from Paternoster Square at 6pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can try a class for a fiver, with a money-back guarantee. After that, it’s £45 for a four-week training block, £108 for 12 weeks or £390 for a year. For more details visit: or call 0845 009 4365.


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