As a personal trainer in London, I’ve used a lot of London gyms. Here’s a list of the best gym equipment and the gyms which boast the best cross-trainers, treadmills, rowing machines, barbells, dumbbells, and resistance machines.
This world-class brand is used by Equinox Gym in Kensington, London W8, which has PreCor cross-trainers, treadmills, bikes, and resistance machines such as the seated cable chest press.
Arguably the world-leader in resistance and cardio machines, LifeFitness equipment is used by Chelsea Harbour Club. And the LifeFitness ‘Hammer Strength’ range of equipment (adjustable benches, kettle-bells, resistance machines) is used by Reebok Sports Club, Canary Wharf, London E14.
This brand is the favourite of top London gyms. The CityPoint Club (London EC2) has the Technogym Kinesis cable workout machine. The Riverside Health Club in Chiswick boasts the Technogym Artis range of strength machines with their innovative Direct Drive technology for fluid movement.
The luxurious Virgin Active 200 Aldersgate gym uses Technogym barbells. Equinox Kensington has Technogym resistance machines. The highly exclusive SP Health at 3 Jubilee Place, Chelsea (created by Stephen Price) also sports Technogym equipment.
Technogym rivals LifeFitness for the latest in cardio machines. The Hogarth Health Club in Chiswick W4 has cardio machines with Artis technology – a digital screen with internet access so you can browse Facebook, emails, as well as watch TV, and make use of a Virtual Trainer which shows you sample workouts and good technique. The Park Club, Acton, uses Technogym Excite cardio equipment with its UNITY console (a high-tech Android-based user interface with touch-screen technology, personalised content and entertainment).
The Park Club also boasts Technogym’s OMNIA multigym, a multi-purpose exercise station which up to 8 people can use at the same time, for functional/strength training. OMNIA is derived from the Latin for “all things”.
This new concept in exercise is the creation of Michol Dalcourt. In his own words, it “blends strength training with functional training, a blend of lifting, shifting and twisting.” In short, it’s a series of log-shaped moulded weights with hand-grips for loaded movement. The Broadgate Club, London EC2, one of Virgin Active’s flagship clubs, has a range of ViPR weights, as does Fitness First Liverpool Street Station EC2, which is currently undergoing refurbishment.
Woodway is arguably the best treadmill manufacturer in the world. Woodway Curve treadmills are used by the Broadgate Club EC2, and Equinox Gym in Kensington. They look amazing and their performance is superior to the competition.
Woodway also boasts the 4Front treadmill, with its 19 inch NetPulse multimedia platform.
Virtual Active cardio machines by Matrix transport you into a virtual world of escapism with digital videos of Hawaiian forests, the Grand Canyon, and a range of other terrains. The Third Space in Marylebone, and the CityPoint Club in London EC2 have Matrix cardio machines, to give your workouts a futuristic flavour.
Cybex specialise in plate-loaded strength machines, found in the Third Space Marylebone, and The Laboratory in Muswell Hill. Cybex also manufacture free-weights.
This brand was made famous by the novel American Psycho, in which the anti-hero Patrick Bateman uses Nautilus machines at his gym. The Third Space Marylebone has a range of Nautilus cardio and strength equipment.
A British company based in Nottingham, Concept 2 is a world-leader in rowing machines. Most of London’s gyms, from Chelsea Harbour Club, Virgin Active 200 Aldersgate, to Fitness First, all favour the Concept 2 rower for its durability and smooth performance.
Another British company, York Barbell (UK) Ltd is based in Daventry, Northamptonshire. York specialises in dumbbells and barbells, and you’ll find York’s free-weights in Reebok Sports Club, Canary Wharf, London E14.
Dominic Londesborough is a freelance personal trainer in London who trains clients in central London zones 1-3.