Brighton’s Best Alternative Sports

Published On June 5, 2014 | By Scarlett Pares Landells | Best of Brighton, Things to do features

Forget the gym.
Get out and about with our pick of Brighton’s most adventurous ways to get fit and active in this wonderful city!


IAmBarFitfinalIAmBarFit runs free fitness sessions introducing you to street workout, focussing on body strength, core muscles and conditioning using calisthenics. Calisthenics, or bodyweight exercises, originated in ancient Greece and have formed a major component to fitness in athletics, gymnastics, law enforcement and the military. It is also favoured by fitness enthusiasts looking for a high-powered workout that does not require equipment or even a gym at all. The practise involves combining repetitions of a variety of strength-building exercises like pull-ups with freestyle resistance training using only your bodyweight. Meeting at Hove Park in any weather, join this group of dedicated fitness fanatics whose motto is “Imagination is your only limitation”.

You can also find the IAmBarFit team at the seafront every weekend where they will set up bars throughout the summer. Their aim is to introduce calisthenics to new people, get the public involved and trying things out, and doing demonstrations of what can be achieved in terms of fitness and strength using your bodyweight alone.

Various classes at Hove Park in all seasons, see website.


BoulderBrightonfinalBoulder Brighton is set in a converted 1,000 square metre warehouse, featuring 150 boulder problems and offering a wide range of rock climbing sessions and workshops.

Bouldering is rock climbing stripped down to its raw essentials. No ropes or harnesses, just climbing shoes and a bag of chalk over safety mats, your challenge is to climb short but tricky bouldering sequences using balance, technique, strength, and your brain. You don’t need experience or lots of expensive kit to have a go so it’s really easy to get into.

Whether you are a complete beginner or just want to dust off your skills, there are a whole range of courses to sign up for, or just come along, rent some equipment and freestyle. Friday Night Boulder Beats happens at the end of every month with live DJs and free technique tips from 7pm. Get stronger, more fearless and active with the most social form of climbing!

Normal opening hours: 14:00-22:00 Monday, Wednesday & Friday, 10:00-22:00 Tuesday & Thursday, 10:00- 18:00 weekends. Prices start at £6.80/£8 for off-peak day pass, memberships available.

Hula Hooping

HulahoopingfinalLive Love Hoop is Brighton and Hove’s premier hoop dance company offering hoop dance and fitness classes. Founder Jo Mondy is a certified hoop dance teacher with years of experience teaching and inspiring people to get into the spin. Hoop classes are a fun and exciting way to get fit, learn a new skill and meet lovely people.

Did you know that hula hooping burns up to 100 calories in ten minutes? Build core strength and cardio fitness as you learn how to spin a hula hoop on your body and in your hands. Whether you are after a fun workout, a new circus skill to show off at festivals, a way to de-stress, or something extra to add to your dance routine, hooping has got something for everyone. Suitable for all ages, no experience necessary and hoops are brought to class each week. With a range of different classes including HulaFit, beginners and intermediate level and also a range of times and venues, the whole of Brighton should get spinning this summer!

Beginners and Hoop Fit courses available year round at Brighton Natural Health Centre.  £42.50 for 5 weeks.


PaddbfinalIf you fancy venturing out on the sea this summer, Brighton Watersports offers everything you need to get into Paddleboarding. Stand Up Paddleboarding or ‘SUP’ is originally from Hawaii, where local surfers would paddle out on a board to photograph tourists surfing. It’s great for fitness and balance, exercising upper body strength to steer using a long paddle. It’s also a more laidback alternative to surfing and great if you want to enjoy a Brighton sunset.

Brighton was one of the first places to get the sport to take off in the UK, and there are courses for paddle boarding all year round, covering equipment, safety and self rescue, weather conditions and technique.

All staff at Brighton Watersports are keen paddlers – their knowledge is from from many years experience and love for the sport. They do regular sunset paddles for when you finish work in the summer, plus the occasional barbecue so it is the perfect opportunity to meet new people.

SUP lessons are £40 per person for 2.5 hours, paddleboard hire is £10 per person per hour. Call Brighton Watersports or see the Facebook page for more information.

Synchronised Swimming

SynchroFitnessfinalSynchroFit is the latest sports and exercise class to hit our city, bringing you a unique combination of basic synchronised swimming skills in a high intensity workout to create figures, formations and mini routines in a fun and social atmosphere.

60 minutes of a SynchroFit class can burn up to 800 calories. Not bad for a class where you don’t even feel like you are exercising! The class has 3 sections, each offering a different benefit: cardio vascular fitness; strengthening, toning and improving motor skills; and creative mini routines to keep it fun and interesting. As with most classes, SynchroFit caters for different skill levels, and it is perfect for someone recovering from a sports injury or taking a break from high impact sports.

Thursdays 8-9pm at Surrenden Pool, Stringer Way, Brighton. After a several classes you’ll be swimming in mini routines and getting a really good workout.

Drop in classes are £8 and you can get 4 classes for the price of 3, see website for more details.

bellyTribal Belly Dance

An eclectic combination of elements from a range of styles including street dance, flamenco and American Cabaret belly dance. A community of belly dancers is growing around weekly classes in Brighton and Hove, covering two different styles. Classes are open to all ages, genders and body types and no previous dance experience is necessary!

Belly dancing can improve muscle tone, posture and body confidence, and is an enjoyable way to put rhythm back into your life.  In Tribal Fusion focus is on using muscle isolations to embody musical layers, contrasting dynamic movements from liquid undulations to sharp hip drops. Working a great deal with cross training, teacher Hilde Cannoodt uses multiple dance and fitness disciplines in order to get the best results for her students. Want to get right into those abdominals and obliques? Come to class and get your shimmy on!

Charlotte Wassell is a certified teacher in American Tribal Style®, a group dance format improvised on a set vocabulary of steps. American Tribal Style® (ATS®) is a fusion of Middle-Eastern and North African dance with other folk styles, such as Flamenco and Indian dance. In each class you will practise strong and juicy slow steps as well as energetic and elegant fast steps.

Drop in classes from £10, or book for a five to seven week term. Classes are at various locations, see website for more info.

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About The Writer

Scarlett is a trainee journalist and Archaeology graduate. Having recently moved from Manchester she is exploring all that Brighton has to offer and writing about it! Arts' music,food, archaeology, reviews and musings coming soon, watch this space. (Blog coming soon!)