Calisthenics: No Gym, No Excuses

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Completely present in the moment, I let out a deep exhale as I coat both palms of my hands in chalk. As I look up, I watch my opponent swing off the pull-up bar into a backflip and land on his feet. I turn around and see the Just Go Lift Gym in San Diego packed with people, now anxiously waiting for me to respond with my combo, my combination of calisthenics moves. I look at them with a fire in my eyes as I threw my hands up and out into the air. All of my training the past couple of months has led up to this moment. I take another breath, turn around, and grab the bar. I use my body weight to generate a high swing and do a 360 spin, and re-catch on the bar immediately followed up with a 540 to re-catch.

Calisthenics is one of the fastest growing international sports around the globe, it combines bodyweight strength with acrobatic tricks. While the sport itself is gaining popularity, more so the belief that you don’t need commercial gyms with numerous machines to get a good workout in. All you need is a body and space for it to move! The concept of calisthenics progression is the same as weightlifting, but instead of adding weight, you decrease body leverage. At the very highest level of difficulty, calisthenics athletes train their body to hold gravity-defying poses with ease. But for the average person, it’s about getting better at pulling and pushing your body through space. Because calisthenics utilizes your whole body, that means you are activating muscles that may not have been activated with other types of workouts. Additionally, calisthenics will challenge you mentally, doing bodyweight workouts means you can do them anywhere, so not having a gym membership isn’t a valid excuse anymore!

One of the greatest benefits with this type of workout, in my opinion, is the mental benefit. By learning to overcome barriers within your physical body, you also learn how anything you want in life is achievable. When someone learns to master a movement like a pull-up or muscle up, which at first seem impossible, they can apply similar methods of learning to anything else in life. This type of workout isn’t just for strong guys, everyone can benefit from this type of training! Imagine an adolescent girl doing her first set of ‘regular’ push-ups, or the overweight person who learns to hang from a pull-up bar for the first time since they were kids. Despite their past, the individual's ability to overcome physical and mental stigma is very real and powerful. It’s this sort of power that people have within themselves that can have huge benefits for themselves and other people in their life.


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Gavin is a calisthenics athlete, social media influencer, personal trainer, and university student. He teaches fitness classes at the University of Oregon as a personal trainer while studying developmental economics and sports business. He is working to establish his brand within the fitness industry and push the sport of calisthenics to mainstream audiences.