8 of Edinburgh's best alternative fitness classes if you need a mid-Festival Fringe workout

Try pole dancing, a Barbie dance party or Pickleball
Chair yoga at LilaChair yoga at Lila
Chair yoga at Lila

The summer workout fatigue has set in, after one too many late-nights and Aperol spritzes.

If you’re experiencing a bit of attention deficit, when it comes to boring routines, may we suggest switching it up, with one of Edinburgh’s many alternative fitness options.

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Any of these should provide inspiration to get you sweating, and offer a welcome respite from boring old Metafit.

CaveFit classCaveFit class
CaveFit class


Perhaps it’s just us, but we find spin classes really tough. They’re almost as hardcore as rowing machines. In city centre studio PedalHouse’s class, they combine both, half and half, for “full body endurance” so you’ll most likely leave the 50 minute session with total jelly legs and have to find your feet again like Bambi. However, they say that their killer combination, which can burn up to 800 calories in under an hour, is suitable for beginners, so off you go, no excuses.

5-6 Conference Square, www.pedalhousedinburgh.com

Chair Yoga

Musical Madness class at Dancebase Pic: Maria FalconerMusical Madness class at Dancebase Pic: Maria Falconer
Musical Madness class at Dancebase Pic: Maria Falconer

When we imagine incorporating a chair into our exercise routine, we immediately think of the musical Chicago, and start cavorting on our Ikea Poang. At the new Lila Yoga studio in Edinburgh’s Bruntsfield, they have an all-level class every Tuesday at 9.30am, in which this humble item of furniture is used as a prop.

“It’s becoming really popular with all ages. It’s a great way to feel supported in your yoga practice and can be really good fun as well as a challenge. Each week we explore possibilities of different asana either seated or using the chair as support. So many options,” says studio co-owner, Sarah McCaffer. “It allows you to access postures you might not feel comfortable doing in a regular class. It can also help people with any mobility/hyper mobility issues feel included and empowered . The chair is not just an option or prop it is a practice within itself. We really recommend giving it a go”.

37 Bruntsfield Place, www.lilayogaedinburgh.com

Pole Dancing

Pickleball paddlesPickleball paddles
Pickleball paddles

The local comedian, Jay Lafferty, has a whole Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy routine, Bahookie, at Gilded Balloon Teviot, that was inspired by taking pole dancing classes at Edinburgh’s Clan Fit. (And, yes, she has fallen on her behind more than once). If you’re self-conscious, they offer one-to-one Pole Privates sessions, as well as a four week Intro to Pole beginners and more advanced classes, with Intermediate 1 taking you into inverted moves and spins. It’s a great experience if you want to do something a bit sexier and more confidence building than sit-ups, though it’s also fitness-boosting and you can expect to develop abs and shoulders of steel.

62 Newhaven Road, www.clanfitedinburgh.co.uk


Sometimes gyms can feel a bit like they’re made purely for bros. That’s partially why CaveFit, with monthly memberships available, has just launched these hour-long classes onto its weekly timetable at the St Andrew Square branch. They provide a supportive environment for women, in a class that they say goes “beyond conventional fitness training” and dodges the one-size-fits-all approach. It looks at topics such as physiology and menstrual cycles, how they can impact training and adapting your routine to suit.

Level 1, The Edinburgh Grand, St Andrew Square, www.cave-fit.com

Dance Fitness Barbie Party

The team at Edinburgh’s Fitness Soul are always original and fun when it comes to high-energy classes. They’ve done this “empowering” sesson twice, including on Saturday August 19 at 6.30pm-7.30pm, and it has involved dancing to movie soundtracks while wearing, naturally, pink. No high-heels though, trainers only, even if flat feet make you barf. If you’re going to miss the August class, a little birdie tells us they might be thinking about one for September. They’re not planning any Oppenheimer themed workouts, sadly.

34 Tennant Street, Leith, www.fitnesssoul.co.uk

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This sport, which originated in the US, involves batting a gherkin around a court. No, not really, but it is a fun (and more importantly, dry, since it takes place indoors) and slightly less strenuous alternative to tennis. Sport and leisure facility provider, Edinburgh Leisure, offers beginners sessions in some of their sports centres, including Craiglockhart Tennis Centre. If this activity doesn’t pique your interest, other new classes, also available with this provider, include Work It Out, at Meadowbank, which is taken by Musical Theatre Fitness and includes simple and uplifting dance routines to musical numbers, and, if you like a bit of HIIT and plyometrics done to drum and bass tracks – who doesn’t? - there’s the fun Totally Shredded. They’re also rolling out more of their resistance training L1FT and SH1FT high-intensity training classes.

Musical Madness

We don’t like to think about summer ending, but Scotland’s national centre for dance, Dance Base, has launched its autumn timetable, with the new term starting on September 11 and running until December 9. For those who leap to their feet as soon as strains of The Greatest Showman soundtrack pipe up, may we recommend this Wednesday, 5.20pm, weekly or drop-in class, taken by the very talented Chris Stuart Wilson. Remember to channel Bob Fosse, though jazz hands are optional.

14-16 Grassmarket, www.dancebase.co.uk


If your life is lacking in thrills, try one of Aerial Art House’s adult classes (they also do kids’ versions). Their timetable includes Aerial Silks, otherwise known as Human Origami, which they describe as “exploration, flow and tying yourself in knots”, as well as Aerial Hoops or Aerial Trapeze, with beginners sessions for those who’re not quite confident enough to run away with the circus yet.

Unit 2, 109 Restalrig Road, www.aerialarthouse.com



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