10 NYC Training Facilities To Help Inspire Your Inner Olympian

We've been feeling super sporty lately thanks to the swanky sneaks being shelled out by our favorite boutiques, mesh tanks that are oh-so-perfect for layering and, oh, right, the 2012 London Olympic Games!
To celebrate the rapidly approaching games, we looked into ways to try out some of the coolest and craziest Olympic events for ourselves. Not surprisingly, our humble city has facilities that offer lessons in almost every sport in the games! From synchronized swimming to trampolining, our list of wacky sports is our double-dog-dare to you. Start training for the 2016 games now, and if you manage to make it to Rio, be sure to give us a shout-out during your press conferences.
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Archery

You don’t need to be hiding out in the woods behind District 12 to develop a knack for shooting with a bow and arrow. Pro Line Archery Lanes in Queens will make you Hunger Games-ready in no time, so you can volunteer to take the place of another tribute with confidence. Okay, the Olympics aren’t actually the Hunger Games, but the spirit surrounding both is still the same. Prepare for London with target leagues, private lessons, and youth programs to embrace your inner Katniss, Gale, or Robin Hood by hitting bullseye after bullseye.

Pro Line Archery Lanes, 95-11 101 Avenue (between 95th Street and Woodhaven Boulevard); Queens; 718-845-9280.

Photo: Via Pro Line Archery.
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Trampoline

We’re always blown away by how effortlessly gymnasts are able to contort their bodies while spinning through the air, and while we can’t do backflips on a balance beam, we can bounce on a trampoline and maybe do a flip (perfect landing not included). Trampoline classes at the New York Trapeze School sound like more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Spending an hour flipping, spinning, and jumping around was essentially our childhood dream (and kind of still is), ergo we’ve already signed ourselves up for a lesson.

Trapeze School New York, 353 West Street (near West Houston Street); 212-242-8769.

Photo: Via New York Trapeze School.
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Judo

If, for whatever reason, you want to test the waters of martial arts but are turned off by the kicks and punches that come along with Taekwondo, Judo might be the thing for you. Placing emphasis on grappling, joint locking, and chokeholds (read: that self-defense your parents always told you to learn), judo is a great stress reliever and body-busting workout. As one of the oldest Judo clubs in the city, Oishi Judo should be your go-to studio for group workshops and private lessons alike.

Oishi Judo, 547 Greenwich Street (at Charlton Street); 212-966-6850.

Photo: Via Oishi Judo.
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Badminton

We have fond memories of the days back in high school gym class when the badminton nets were rolled out, propagating our unwillingness to participate by spending half the class retrieving the birdie (admit it, everyone did it). Step up your birdie-spiking game and be prepared to leave the competition behind come lawn-game season at the New York Badminton Center. Founded by former Chinese National Badminton Team member Chibing Wu, the primary NYBC facility boasts six professional courts and offers private or group lessons, an after school program, and a summer camp.

New York Badminton Center, 132-63 34th Avenue; Flushing; 646-271-3228.

Photo: Via New York Badminton Center.
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Table Tennis

Ping pong is one of those left-field Olympic sports. You know, the ones that make you roll your eyes when you see that it’s a real Olympic sport, but leaves you with your peepers glued to the television screen when competition is underway. While you probably won’t be able to rally as rapidly as the pros, you can certainly try. SPiN Galactic calls itself a ping pong social club and has a built-in bar and restaurant, AND offers private lessons. This screams casual mid-week night out, if you ask us!

SPiN Galactic, 48 East 23rd Street (between Madison and Park avenues); 212-982-8802.

Photo: Courtesy SPiN New York
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Kayaking

Olympic sprint kayakers move at breakneck speeds, and lessons or rentals with the Manhattan Kayak Company will teach you everything you need to know to use the Hudson River’s quick currents to move as fast as you possibly can (but still not nearly as fast as an Olympian). Half-day group outings, sunset tours, and private lessons are all available, so if you’re looking to soak up the sun but want to avoid overcrowded beaches, Manhattan Kayak has you covered.

Manhattan Kayak Company, 12th Avenue (between West 26th and West 27th streets); 212-924-1788.

Photo: Via Manhattan Kayak Company.
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Fencing

Embrace your inner pirate and learn the age-old art of sword fighting (in a 100% safe way, of course) through fencing. Olympic fencers appear to be gliding, moving at superhuman speeds and blocking jabs left and right, and at the Brooklyn Bridge Fencing Club you can get in on the action. Membership opportunities and a plethora of lesson types will leave you feeling like a gold medal winner and nothing less. En garde!

Brooklyn Bridge Fencing Club, 68 Jay Street (between Water and Front streets); Brooklyn; 646-823-2529.

Photo: Courtesy Brooklyn Bridge Fencing Club.
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Synchronized Swimming

Few things look as cool and simultaneously ridiculous as synchronized swimming. Want to get in on the action? Look no further than Gotham Synchro, offering lessons and fielding competitive teams to swimmers of all ages. Come with basic swim skills (front crawl, breaststroke, backstroke and the ability to swim 15 yards in deep water is a must) and leave with the magical ability to flip, spin, and glide through the water, all while donning crazy makeup and an overzealous smile.

Gotham Synchro, 917-533-4811.

Photo: Courtesy Gotham Synchro.
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Mountain Biking

Mountain biking in a city as flat as New York might seem like an impossibility, but the New York City Mountain Bike Association has us thinking otherwise. They’ve outlined three trails within the five boroughs (and even more upstate!) that have us itching to ride. Don’t knock mountain biking off your summer to-do list just because you don’t own the gear — there are plenty of specialty shops in the Big Apple (like the Pedal Pusher Bike Shop) that offer hourly and daily rentals. Don’t forget your helmet!

Pedal Pusher Bike Shop, 1306 Second Avenue (at East 69th Street); 212-288-5592.

Photo: Via New York City Mountain Bike Association
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Riflery

With all their lenses and gadgetry, Olympic rifle shooters look more like robots than people, and with near-perfect aim they sure act like one! You, too, can take aim at the Westside Pistol Range, where you’ll be given a semi-automatic rifle, 50 rounds of ammunition, targets to test your accuracy, and safety instructions from an NRA-registered officer (so you know you’re in good hands). Private lessons are available for those looking to improve their technique and aim. Don't point that thing at us!

Westside Pistol Range, 20 West 20th Street (between 5th and 6th avenues); 212-929-7287.

Photo: Via crlygrl1 Flickr
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