plural noun: calisthenics
Gymnastic exercises to achieve bodily fitness and grace of movement.
Calisthenics is no newbie to the world of fitness. Hailing from the Greek “Kalos” meaning beauty and “Thenos” strength, it’s about getting our fitness kicks using the body’s own weight as resistance.
Calisthenics is the latest buzzword on the lips of fitness influencers across the globe, thanks to its variety, and no-limits approach to fitness ability, age or performance goals.
We sat down for a chat with Dave Barratt, Fitness Instructor at Dave Barratt Calisthenics, to find out why this functional for of fitness is proving popular for the year ahead…
Where did it all begin?
“It’s been popular throughout the world for some time now, some say the modern day cali boom originated in New York in the late 90’s focusing on reps and sets training in the parks around the city to build strength and aesthetics. This soon evolved bringing gymnastic elements into it including handstands, static holds like L sits and levers and acrobatic elements of the high bar.”
The sport has been building ever since, with Calisthenics parks opening up in cities across the world, including competitions from governing bodies such as WCO (World Calisthenics Organisation) and WSWCF (world street workout and Calisthenics federation).
Hull already has a huge Calisthenics specific gym (Calisthenics Parks Gym) which Men’s Health magazine has just voted the 2017 Best Gym in The World and there are various teams and athletes throughout the UK competing in competitions such as BarSparta, BristolBarCrew and AllcoreCalisthenics to name a few. Dave tells us there’s even a program working to lower crime and promote bodyweight fitness by using knives confiscated by the police to build Calisthenics parks. The first, Steel Warriors was opened in London a few weeks ago by Lee Wade Turner, another huge name in the UK cali game.
The sport is now taking off throughout the UK and it’s big business for Personal Trainers.
“The best part of Calisthenics is it can be done absolutely anywhere… at home, in the gym, in the park, on the streets, basically all you need is the floor and if you’re lucky something to hang off!”
Qualified Personal Trainers can easily incorporate Calisthenics into their training sessions as the majority of exercises require no equipment whatsoever.
“It’s probably a good idea however to be specifically trained in this area as, speaking from experience, general fitness instructors and PT’s don’t understand the individual elements to mastering a perfect push-up or pull-up or how they can be broken down to the most basic regression. There are also so many different ways to approach these exercises depending on the person being taught and their own strengths and weaknesses. I see videos of people hitting 5, 6 or even 7 minute “planks” but when done correctly according to Calisthenics standards people would struggle to get half that!”
Dave tells us the best part of Calisthenics is that it is open to absolutely everyone. There are no entry level requirements or minimum participant numbers. There are regressions and progressions for every type of exercise so you can teach a class with a complete beginner and a top level athlete having them both perform variations of the same exercise to meet their own current level.
“The Calisthenics community not just in the UK but worldwide is like a family with everybody supporting each other and giving tips and advice, that is what I love the most!”
The fitness arena is constantly evolving, thanks to new trends and a shift in mindset. It’s our fitness ambitions and perceptions that are changing our tastes when it comes to trends.
“I think over the past few years the general public’s outlook on fitness and the industry has been opened up to be more accessible with things like 24 hour gyms and especially CrossFit. The stereotype of typical gym goers being steroid driven bodybuilders is fading away and being replaced by slimmer, toned all round athletes partially thanks to programmes like Ninja Warrior UK and it’s presenter Ben Shephard who himself trains Calisthenics regularly posting workout clips on social media.”
Certainly one to watch along with the latest fitness trends on the horizon for the year ahead.
For more information or a little fitspiration, take a look at Dave Barratt Calisthenics.
Thanks to Dave for taking the time to chat with us.