Your guide to gyms and fitness centres in Shanghai

From bells-and-whistles boutiques to bang-for-your-buck budget gyms, here's where to work out in the city

Photograph: courtesy Prime Fitness
Both high- and low-end gym chains are everywhere in this city, offering a little something for everyone in terms of proximity to home or budget. For others, community vibes or cleanliness is king – which doesn’t always come cheap in Shanghai, but that doesn't mean it can't be found. Whether you're looking for a big-name brand, somewhere open real early or real late, or a quiet workout space to exercise in peace, here are Shanghai's top gyms and fitness centres.

Ps. On the pricing front, a good rule of thumb is that the more inexpensive or commercial the gym, the more money you can probably negotiate off membership fees.

The big names

Mr & Mrs Fitness

With 14 locations across the city, you can't fault Mr & Mrs Fitness for convenience. Its track record for cleanliness, on the other hand, can be a bit spotty. The company's flagship, located on the sixth floor of City Hotel, close to the Shanghai Exhibition Centre, is a quiet space hidden from the maddening crowds. 

The perks The gym's City Hotel location has an indoor pool and yoga studio, both with great views. 

The price Memberships at Mr & Mrs Fitness' flagship location cost 8,000RMB per year, or about 3,600RMB per year at older locations. Haggle hard. 

Read more
5-7 Shannxi Nan Lu

Will's and Will's VIP

With more than 35 branches across the city, Will’s is a fitness empire. Some of its older locations admittedly have awful reputations, but newer branches, along with the three locations of upmarket Will's VIP (at Shaanxi Nan Lu, Lujiazui and Xintiandi) are some of the better options. They're all full of buff young things getting toned, and well-equipped with everything from fitness machines to weights.

The perks The nicer (newer and VIP) locations have perks like outdoor basketball and tennis courts, heated swimming pools and plush post-workout chill out spaces.

The price About 3,788RMB for an annual membership, or 4,988RMB for a multi-club annual membership. Will's VIP membership 12,000RMB per year.

Read more
108 Xiangyang Bei Lu, near Xinle Lu.

Pure Fitness

The high-end Hong Kong gym brand’s first Shanghai outlet inside iAPM is sprawling and sunny. Inside find dedicated HIIT and boxing areas, a spin studio with a 270-degree screen that shows trippy light shows during class, and a juice bar with an outdoor terrace.

The perks Pure offers gym clothes to exercise in, so forgetting your gym bag is no longer an excuse. Plus, get discounts when you pair a membership with Pure Yoga, also located inside iAPM.

The price Annual memberships hover around 13,000RMB. The first three visits are free with referral by a friend.

Read more
999 Huaihai Lu, near Shaanxi Nan Lu.

Tera Wellness

Tera Wellness gyms are ten-a-penny around Shanghai: no matter where you live or work, it's likely you'll be able to find a branch close to your most frequented metro stop/mall/happy hour spot. The Raffles City Changning branch is newly renovated with everything you'd technically need to stay in shape, but is overall basic. Find standard equipment like cardio machines, along with kettlebells and ropes, a boxing ring and a group fitness studio. Here, changing rooms have with mini saunas, and that’s pretty much your lot extras-wise.

The perks At the Changning branch, a small spin studio has daily classes. Opt for a multi-gym pass to use the swimming pools at other Tera locations.

The price 5,300RMB per year, or 6,800RMB for two years. Negotiate hard as prices can initially start higher.

Read more
1191 Changning Lu

Boutique gyms

Z&B Fitness

Z&B's two Shanghai gyms are new and kitted out with high-end Technogym equipment, but group fitness classes are this boutique brand's bread and butter. Find more than 120 classes per week including Pilates, MYbarre, Body Pump, spin and boot camp. Two locations are currently open in Shanghai, on Changle Lu and Shaanxi Bei Lu, and one is set to open soon in Xintiandi. 

The perks Class instructors are certified from abroad and are many are multilingual, speaking Mandarin, French, Danish, English and German.

The price 100RMB per drop-in gym session or 150RMB per drop-in class; six-month gym membership (including 60 classes) 7,739RMB; 12-month gym membership (inlcuding 100 classes) 11,969RMB. Contact the gym for more gym membership and class packages, or sign-up via the official WeChat account 'ZnBfitness'. 

Read more
1219 Changle Lu

Prime Fitness

Opened in 2012, Prime Fitness was doing functional training before it got trendy. You won't find any treadmills here. Instead, the idea inside this personal training studio is that doing workouts with natural movement patterns (pushing, pulling, throwing, jumping) during one-on-one session and group classes like HIIT and Boot Camp will lead to the best results. You may not see any machines when you walk in but don't be fooled, you're about to sweat heavy regardless. 

The perks Small class sizes mean you get more personalised attention from coaches.  

The price A 30-minute solo personal training sessions starts at 350RMB. Add WeChat ID 'PrimeBeYourBest' for more info. 

Read more
3 Fenyang Lu


Somehow both at once incredibly gruelling and impossibly fun, workouts at the Australian cult-favourite gym have you rotating between stations that combine different elements from High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Circuit Training and Functional Training to target multiple muscle groups at all times. And every single workout is different, involving equipment like battle ropes, sleds, free weights, kettle-bells, spinning bikes, box jumps and more.

The perks Your first two weeks are free. But actually... (add 'F45shanghai' on WeChat for more). 

The price 200RMB per drop-in class; 1,688RMB per month; 14,000RMB per year.

Read more
No 25, Lane 550 Shaanxi Nan Lu

Body Blacksmith

Prepare to train hard at this Xuhui HIIT studio helmed by founder and lead trainer Mo Tcherouka. Classes with intense names like Booty Blacksmith and Core Blaster combine multiple exercise techniques and here, the training style is fun and friendly but in-your-face, which means you won't get away with any slacking during class.

The perks Small classes focus on team support and community, a benefit for those seeking hardcore gym buddies to train with. 

The price 200RMB per drop-in class; 1,700RMB per ten-class pass; 16,000RMB per annual membership.

Read more
41 Yongjia Lu

Budget options

Jingan Community Centre

Find a spot for some of the cheapest gym sessions in town at the enormous Jingan Community Centre. The gym equipment is limited – the room has eight machines total (two treadmills, a stationary bike, plus various weight machines and dumbells) – but the space is clean. Note: there are no locker rooms to speak of – get changed quickly in the bathrooms before your workout.

The price 10RMB per hour with the purchase of a 100RMB membership card.

Read more
1855 Xinzha Lu
Park Box

Park Box

In a city where we share everything from umbrellas to bikes, it isn’t surprising that there are also shared gyms. Smartphone app Park Box has 24-hour gyms set up in refurbed shipping containers spread throughout the city, each 'branch' varying slightly in terms of equipment. The one we visited, on Ningchuan Lu, had the bare minimum with three treadmills, free weights and a bench press. Equipment is new and is much nicer than what we expected to find, however the bad news is that there are no bathrooms or changing rooms available. 

The price 10RMB an hour. Add WeChat ID 'iloveparkbox' for more info and download the app before hitting the (share) gym.


Students, this one's for you: another big name brand with dozens of locations across the city, Physical is your best bet for those who care less about mod cons or cleanliness and simply want to work out on the cheap. Locations can get crowded, especially during after-work hours so be ready to wait for a treadmill or piece of equipment, however membership at most locations includes group fitness classes.  

The perks For a well-equipped gym with both fitness classes and locker rooms, Physical is about a cheap as they come. 

The price 1,800RMB per year; 3,000RMB for two years (both negotiable).

Read more
283 Huaihai Zhong Lu

Hotel gyms

The Peninsula Spa by ESPA

Inside The Peninsula's fitness centre, which overlooks Hongkou, the equipment here is basic and could probably do with an update. But, the real draw to a membership is access to the massive swimming pool, which puts pretty much every other indoor pool in the city to shame. Framed by a gorgeous Art Deco fireplace and doors leading to the outdoor terrace, The Peninsula swimming pool looks as if it was taken directly from Mount Olympus and given to the city of Shanghai as a gift.  

The perks 15 percent off spa services for members.

The price 40,000RMB per year.

Read more
32 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu

LAB Wellness at The Middle House

The recently opened gym and spa inside The Middle House marries minimalism with drama: the underground space is cool and dark, kind of like how Bruce Wayne must feel when he’s working out inside the Batcave. The space is kitted out with brand new Technogym equipment, a 33-metre indoor pool and yoga classes in partnership with Lululemon.  

The perks This is one of the few places in town that offer HYPOXI – slip into the programme's wetsuit with tentacle-like suckers to target hard-to-tone areas. 

The price 30,000RMB per year.

Read more
366 Shimen Yi Lu, near Nanjing Xi Lu, Jingan District.

Fitness & Wellness Center at the Mandarin Oriental Pudong

The swanky hotel’s 24-hour fitness centre offers an extensive range of cardio and weights, along with regular classes in yoga, dance, martial arts and boxing. Our main regret, however, is that the pool remains for hotel guests only, meaning we can only gaze longingly at the impressive swimming space (or book a room for the night).

The perks Members get access to InBody testing, a fancy scale that maps out your body in terms of overall fitness, allowing you to accurately draw up a suitable workout plan. Human fitness experts, aka trainers, are available too.

How much? 12,000RMB quarterly; 30,000RMB per year.

Read more
111 Pudong Nan Lu, near Yincheng Lu, Pudong.

More ways to stay fit and healthy