17.05.2017 10:23


Street Workout: questioning laws of gravity with elegance

Autor: Jana Matúšová | Kurz: English section | Kategorie: Features and other

If you have ever seen adults running around children’s playground swinging on climbing frames, you probably caught them in the middle of their Street Workout routine. But do not get confused! This sport is much more sophisticated and difficult to perform than it may seem in the eye of passerby.

If you look closer at those people as they exercise, you may see them performing various handstands, slowly moving their bodies from the ground, almost as if they were breaking the rules of gravity. These moves often seem so easy and elegant, but try them yourself and I guarantee you experiencing difficulties, even with such basics as the starting position. After a few tries you may even wonder how it is humanly possible to lift your body so slowly and elegantly into such a difficult angle. Benjamin is about to explain. 

Benjamin is a Street Workout artist, who lives in a small town in the south of Slovakia called Levice. He is the founder of a Street Workout community named Lion Performance. “I, as well as many other men, wanted to be bigger and more muscular, so I started going to the gym, lifting weights and performing isolated movements. Just when I bought a pull-up bar, hung it on the door frame and started lifting myself against the gravity I was truly fascinated by the strength of the human body.” Benjamin smiles as he explains his first touch with body-lifting exercises called Calisthenics. This sport involves very precise and controlled movements of human body, when the only source of resistance is your own weight. Street Workout combines muscle-building power of Calisthenics with the endurance of athletes, and since the only equipment you need is your own body, you can exercise anywhere, even in the street. 

 

Street Workout has its history in Ancient Greece, but more visibly emerged in the 21st century in Eastern Europe, Russia, and the U.S. More specifically, the sport began to develop in New York City in poverty-stricken areas, where people wanted to exercise, but could not afford a gym membership. Instead, they used the environment around them, which included playgrounds and benches, and invented their own workout routine. As some of these people became more skilled they started to film themselves, sharing their new-born passion with the world. Simplicity and ease of the body weight training caught the attention of many, which led to the popularity of Street Workout as we know it today. All these efforts resulted in founding the World Street Workout and Calisthenics Federation in Latvia in April 2011.

 

There is a huge difference between traditional bodybuilding and Street Workout. Imagine a young, good looking man in a gym, who is lifting admirable weights, doing biceps curls, dumbbell presses, lateral pulls and many other typical gym exercises. Since this man is doing mostly isolated exercises targeting small muscle groups, he may look strong and well, but he is not able to function his body as a whole. He does not have a very strong core, so he struggles with more complex exercises. Since doing a handstand or a human flag is probably not his main goal, his bigger problems might involve different strength balance in individual body parts, or he simply may not estimate an appropriate amount of weight he should be lifting. Body weight exercises target body equally, but it is not so easy. 

Anyone who wants to succeed in Calisthenics should be able to perform basics, such as push-ups, pull-ups, dips, squats, hanging leg raises or bridges. The key idea is to target your body as  a whole. “Beginners should start with these basic exercises and try to work on their body core. Only after patiently mastering easier movements and gaining some strength, only then they shall proceed to more difficult positions, such as handstands or levers.“ Benjamin explains. 

The most important exercise one should be able to perform perfectly is plank. It is, as it sounds, indeed a plank created by human body. This position is crucial to build a strong core, which is a base for all Calisthenics movements. Benjamin also explains that it is very important to work on firming your handgrip, forearm, shoulder opening, flexibility, and to not forget to warm up first. 

Once someone is compelled and determined to start with Street Workout, they start to see their body in a much different way. Performing slow and static isometric movements requires patience and discipline, and one can notice their muscles, bones, joints and tendons working together as a Swiss watch. Calisthenics movements are natural for human body which allows and helps it function better as a whole. That is one of the biggest benefits of Street Workout, as well as the ability to complete a quality workout routine anytime and anywhere. “That is the beauty of it,” Benjamin smiles, “you can have a perfect workout in 10 minutes at home or in a park. You don’t have to buy an expensive gym membership. The best barbell is the one we have always with us – our own body.” 

As I speak with Benjamin, I am in the middle of a regular Friday workout session of Lion Performance. When I look around I see a group of strong people sharing their passion and helping each other. I don’t see strangers that would go home and watch TV afterwards. I see a community working together on not just gaining individual goals. “Main goal of this community is to connect people interested in sport and exercising and to motivate them. We are trying to share awareness of this sport in this region and in the future, who knows, maybe we will move even further. Now, Lion Performance is an unofficial group, but we are hoping to form an official civic association later this year. In our workout sessions, we often help each other, give each other advice and learn new things from each other.” 

 

Street Workout offers you many benefits, but if you care just about the way you look, it is probably not for you. This type of exercising fulfills higher purposes of being stronger and healthier, when looking ripped is just an added benefit. It is all about discipline, patience, and ability to persist and see your body as a perfectly functioning system. It is a connection of mind and body.

 

There is a huge difference between traditional bodybuilding and Street Workout. Imagine a young, good looking man in a gym, who is lifting admirable weights, doing biceps curls, dumbbell presses, lateral pulls and many other typical gym exercises. Since this man is doing mostly isolated exercises targeting small muscle groups, he may look strong and well, but he is not able to function his body as a whole. He does not have a very strong core, so he struggles with more complex exercises. Since doing a handstand or a human flag is probably not his main goal, his bigger problems might involve different strength balance in individual body parts, or he simply may not estimate an appropriate amount of weight he should be lifting. Body weight exercises target body equally, but it is not so easy.

 

Anyone who wants to succeed in Calisthenics should be able to perform basics, such as push-ups, pull-ups, dips, squats, hanging leg raises or bridges. The key idea is to target your body as  a whole. “Beginners should start with these basic exercises and try to work on their body core. Only after patiently mastering easier movements and gaining some strength, only then they shall proceed to more difficult positions, such as handstands or levers.“ Benjamin explains.

 

The most important exercise one should be able to perform perfectly is plank. It is, as it sounds, indeed a plank created by human body. This position is crucial to build a strong core, which is a base for all Calisthenics movements. Benjamin also explains that it is very important to work on firming your handgrip, forearm, shoulder opening, flexibility, and to not forget to warm up first.

 

Once someone is compelled and determined to start with Street Workout, they start to see their body in a much different way. Performing slow and static isometric movements requires patience and discipline, and one can notice their muscles, bones, joints and tendons working together as a Swiss watch. Calisthenics movements are natural for human body which allows and helps it function better as a whole. That is one of the biggest benefits of Street Workout, as well as the ability to complete a quality workout routine anytime and anywhere. “That is the beauty of it,” Benjamin smiles, “you can have a perfect workout in 10 minutes at home or in a park. You don’t have to buy an expensive gym membership. The best barbell is the one we have always with us – our own body.”

 

As I speak with Benjamin, I am in the middle of a regular Friday workout session of Lion Performance. When I look around I see a group of strong people sharing their passion and helping each other. I don’t see strangers that would go home and watch TV afterwards. I see a community working together on not just gaining individual goals. “Main goal of this community is to connect people interested in sport and exercising and to motivate them. We are trying to share awareness of this sport in this region and in the future, who knows, maybe we will move even further. Now, Lion Performance is an unofficial group, but we are hoping to form an official civic association later this year. In our workout sessions, we often help each other, give each other advice and learn new things from each other.”

 

Street Workout offers you many benefits, but if you care just about the way you look, it is probably not for you. This type of exercising fulfills higher purposes of being stronger and healthier, when looking ripped is just an added benefit. It is all about discipline, patience, and ability to persist and see your body as a perfectly functioning system. It is a connection of mind and body.

Klíčová slova: street workout, sport, exercise, calisthenics, feature story

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