Top 5 Reasons You Should Consider Training At A Calisthenics Gym

Street Workout St Kilda HQ

Posted On May 13, 2020

 When you type ‘gym near me’ into Google Search, what are you looking for? Most people don’t really have anything specific in mind. A gym is a gym after all.

There are many types of gyms, but unless you’re drawn by loyalty to a particular brand or have heard good things through word of mouth, it’s likely you will do some soul-searching before you settle on a membership.

Calisthenics, otherwise known as street workout, has traditionally been practiced in calisthenics parks, outside. However, in recent trends, calisthenics gyms have been gaining a ton of popularity. There are many advantages to training inside, the most obvious being shelter from the weather.

Here are some reasons you should consider looking into a calisthenics gym over other types of gyms.

Calisthenics equipment for home gym

1. Equipment

Yes, calisthenics gyms probably don’t have your chest press machine or a treadmill, but why the heck do you need those? Calisthenics training is all about body-weight training. Therefore, the equipment is also designed to enhance body-weight training.

The sheer diversity of what you can achieve on the high bar more than compensates for the plethora of limited movement patterns you can achieve with all of the gym machines combined. This theme extends to other pieces of equipment in the calisthenics gym such as resistance bands and parallettes.

In almost all cases the body-weight versions of exercises you can do bars and other minimalistic equipment is much more effective than what can done with machines. This is because minimalistic calisthenics equipment forces you to engage postural muscles and stabilisers rather than relying on the rigid support of a back rest.

Yes, calisthenics gyms probably don’t have your chest press machine, treadmill or other home gym equipment, but why the heck do you need those? Calisthenics training is all about body-weight training. Therefore, the equipment is also designed to enhance body-weight training

calisthenics group melbourne

2. Community

Calisthenics gyms have a better community aspect than other types of gyms. People don’t come into the gym with headphones on and blank expressions. Calisthenics gyms are hugely positive, social environments where people feed off each other’s energy.

Unlike large commercial gyms where there is a huge disparity in interests, the specificity of calisthenics training allows for a closer community. Everyone has a different skillset, and so there is a ton of learning to be done.

The sharing of ideas of collective learning fosters interactions and creative thought. These gyms aren’t just about the gym ‘pump’. Calisthenics is a creative practice, and there’s a kind of crazy hype when as a group you start to unlock new skills by sharing knowledge and experience.


3. Freedom

Calisthenics gyms are much less restricted than your typical commercial gym. In your average gym you’re frowned upon when you do anything out of the ordinary. Machines are only supposed to be used in a certain way, with a specific purpose, etc, etc.

In the end, people that go to commercial gyms resemble a herd of sheep that mindlessly drove around the gym, completing the same boring exercises they’ve been doing for the past 20 years without really achieving any progress.

You simply don’t feel the same pressure at a calisthenics gym. No one is judging you. It’s not Kate Perry playing in the background, but some mad hip hop or rock. It’s not the rigid up and down of hammer curls being busted out by an army of juiced want to-be bodybuilders, but dynamic freestyle combinations as far as the eye can see.

If you hate rules and the mainstream bureaucratic garbage that is slowly creeping into commercial gyms, then calisthenics gyms are the way to go.

4. Fun

Calisthenics gyms are genuinely fun. There is nothing worse than forcing yourself to go to the gym at 6am in the bitter cold just to do a chore workout before work. And for many people that’s exactly what the gym has become: a chore.

Calisthenics training is a ton of fun and can be extremely rewarding. A large contributing factor in this is the disparity in goals. Most people that sign up for the gym want to build muscle or lose weight. Of course, these are noble goals, but they are the end result.

You don’t choose a career based on how much money you can earn (okay, perhaps some people do), but that is a poor motivation and will likely result in failure. Just the same, you don’t start exercising to lose weight. It’s not about weight loss or gaining muscle.

It’s about becoming active and learning to control your body and pushing your limitations. The weight loss and muscle gain are simply adaptations to the new demands you are placing on your body. They are by-products from something much more significant.

In calisthenics the goals surrounding training are usually skill orientated. Yes there is some strength training involved, but more so, you are training the skills themselves are precursor versions that suit your level.

This kind of active skill play is not only more fun, but often leads to better results – because you get so caught up in getting the skill that you don’t realise everything that goes into it – the strength you gain, the calories you burn.

Before you know it, you’re leaner, stronger and healthier – and all from having some fun on the bar. I think there is some analogy to take from our childhoods – in that as kids – we never thought about fitness. We thought about play, and through play we were able to keep our fitness and health intact. Calisthenics is active play for adults!

bar brothers 6pack

5. Functional training

One of the main advantages of calisthenics style training is that it’s functional. What does that mean? Functional training is essentially made up of movements that you can expect to do in everyday life. For instance, every time you need to stand up from sitting you are effectively doing a squat, if you need to climb you are using the same muscles involved in pull ups.

Functional training mimics how the body is supposed to move. It involves multi-joint exercises and recruits stabiliser muscles. In essence, it teaches you have to move effectively. This should be the main goal of any type of training, and yet more and more fitness routines lose touch with this simple idea.

Often we are marketed huge muscles and fitness butts, but that’s not what fitness is or should be about. The kind of dumbbell curl strength training of the past is losing popularity, and for good reason. Sure, it can help grow some muscle, but will it teach you how to move? Definitely not.


Written by Vic

Melbourne-based Personal Trainer, Calisthenics Athlete and the Founder of Street Workout St Kilda. Super passionate about bodyweight training and the art of movement.
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