Nautilus / Core Health & Fitness
Nautilus / Core Health & Fitness
Nautilus / Core Health & Fitness
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

Follow Health Club Management on Twitter Like Health Club Management on Facebook Join the discussion with Health Club Management on LinkedIn Follow Health Club Management on Instagram
UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Get the latest news, jobs and features in your inbox
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Calisthenics

Calisthenics: is it just for hardmen, or is it an alternative activity that could appeal to your crossfitters or those in your free weights area? Kath Hudson reports

By Kath Hudson | Published in Health Club Management 2018 issue 9
Calisthenics star Simone Ming
The sport attracts women who want to work on their strength and balance
Calisthenics star Simone Ming The sport attracts women who want to work on their strength and balance
I wanted to learn a skill – as an adult you don’t often get the chance to master something new. We called it a school, because we’re all learning all the time - David Jackson

ith its handstands and human flagpoles, calisthenics is an intriguing discipline, which makes for some stunning and arresting photography. However, while it looks impressive, is it beyond the scope of the average gym goer? Or is it an activity that could help operators engage with a different type of audience or offer something new to existing members?

From the Greek ‘kallos’ for beauty and ‘sthenos’ for strength, the name accurately sums up an activity that is a poetic mix of gymnastics, parkour and bodyweight training.

It’s a pared back exercise, which requires little more than the floor and gravity, according to David Jackson, who co-founded with Tim Stevenson the Nottingham-based School of Calisthenics, one of the few places currently offering tuition in the UK.

Both Jackson and Stevenson are former rugby players turned coaches, who’ve previously specialised at coaching Paralympians. Having been enthused by calisthenics, but unable to find anyone who could teach them, they started to break down the exercises themselves. This led to lots of comments in the gym from people wanting to be taught the moves as well, so they launched the school.

“After retiring from rugby with a head injury, I was looking for a sport that would cause fewer injuries and be more enjoyable and fun than weight lifting,” says Jackson. “I wanted to learn a new skill – as an adult you don’t often get the chance to master something new. We called it a school because the philosophy is that we’re all learning all the time.”

Breaking barriers
Jackson and Stevenson’s background in training Paralympians has come in useful, as they’re adept at breaking down exercises and modifying them to meet different needs. “It was exciting to go back to basics and figure out how to do a movement,” says Jackson. “Our strapline is to ‘redefine your impossible’, as you have to approach calisthenics with an open mindset. So often people see a position, like a flagpole, and think there’s no way they’ll be able to do it, but it’s amazing when you help someone to break through that barrier.”

As well as working out of a Nottingham gym, the School of Calisthenics runs workshops around the UK and is now starting to venture overseas, as well as offering coached video tutorials online. “We have around 100,000 people using our online resources in countries all around the world,” says Jackson, “as well as using makeshift equipment and just doing it in the street. It’s fantastic.”

Six packs
According to Kristoph Thompson, co-founder of Calisthenics UK, interest in the sport is growing all the time: “It has been growing for a number of years and is continuing to grow, but in the UK we’re behind the curve in relation to Europe, the US and Australia,” he says.

“That’s because the modern reinvention of calisthenics happened in inner city parks in New York City, central Europe has a culture of gymnastics and Australia has the outdoors lifestyle.”

A number of factors are driving this interest. “With youngsters doing flagpoles off lamp posts, it’s a sport made for social media,” says Thompson. “On many levels it’s free fitness, which people really like. In addition, it’s massively aspirational, with iconic moves, which are a badge of honour and more rewarding than lifting progressively heavier weights. Added to this, you get into ridiculously good shape – a byproduct is that you get a six pack. It creates skills-based real-world strength, which enables you to do loads of impressive stuff.”

The cali bug
There are a few barriers though. One obvious one is that it’s difficult. Doing a move like a flagpole doesn’t happen overnight. “It requires work and dedication to master the moves, which means some people try it and drop out. However, others get addicted – we call it the cali bug,” says Claudio Narciso, speaking for Barsparta, which runs park-based sessions in London.

“It generally takes three months to do a muscle up and six months to do a handstand. But the upside is that you get very ripped while you’re practising!”

Also, it does currently come across as a masculine and, perhaps slightly intimidating, sport. Both Narciso and Jackson say they tend to attract more men than women to their sessions. However, Johnson thinks it can be just as successfully sold to women: “There are some fantastic female role models and in lots of ways calisthenics has got fewer barriers for some women than going into the free weights area. As women are often shorter, that can help progress.”

For clubs wanting to offer this edgy, on-trend activity to their members, the first thing to do is get an enthusiastic instructor trained up. Calisthenics UK offers training to PTs and fitness professionals either at their venue in London or at the operator’s site.

Thompson says ideally instructors will have a background in gymnastics and be able to do a handstand. “Although they don’t need to do all the moves in order to teach them, there needs to be an element of being able to demonstrate things people can aspire to,” he says.

Gyms are an ideal place to offer calisthenics, because they usually have some type of functional rig for people to learn pull ups, as well as the floor space. Little else is needed beyond the determination and enthusiasm of those people who are learning the moves.

And while many of us might think that we’d never be able to do a human flagpole, the experts agree that practice and an open mindset does pay off.

Jackson says believing you can do it is half the battle, while Thompson says exercises can be broken down and then built back up again while people learn and get stronger. For example, by firstly doing a side plank, and then lifting the top leg for longer each time, until one amazing day the magic happens.

The World Federation of Street Workout & Calisthenics (WSWCF) promotes the sport on an international level and organises the world championships. Its aim is to have calisthenics represented at the Olympic Games and Summer X Games.

STEEL WARRIORS

Steel Warriors (see HCM June 2018) is planning to build open air calisthenics gyms around the UK out of knives confiscated from street crime.

The first site, designed by Barsparta, launched this year in London’s Tower Hamlets.

The aim of the project is to enable young people who carry knives to flex real muscle, rather than feeling the need to carry weapons.

About Simone Ming

World Champion
Ming won the Urban Fitness League World Championship in 2017, making her the top female calisthenics athlete in the world.

Gymnastics
She came to calisthenics in 2014 after having trained and competed in gymnastics for 13 years from the age of three.

Master trainer
Ming trained as a PT with Premier Global International before working for operators Virgin Active and GymBox. She is now a master trainer with Calistenics UK.

Simone Ming
Simone Ming
David Jackson runs the School of Calisthenics with Tim Stevenson
David Jackson runs the School of Calisthenics with Tim Stevenson
The sport can be learned by breaking down moves and then building them back up
The sport can be learned by breaking down moves and then building them back up
Calisthenics suits exercisers who are prepared to commit and train hard to achieve goals
Calisthenics suits exercisers who are prepared to commit and train hard to achieve goals
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/166908_633057.jpg
Trendspotting - the incredible sport of calisthenics profiled in Health Club Management
People
This isn’t a spin around the park: SUF Cycling requires participants to dig deep, which can push some people not used to HIIT out of their comfort zone
People
We watch trends closely at Stylist and we’ve seen a real growth in women strength training as a way of reclaiming a traditionally male space
People
Parents often tell their children to become doctors or lawyers, but now they’ll encourage their children to become fitness pros. At $1,000 an hour, they’ll make more than the best Wall Street lawyers. Trainers are the new superstars
Features
ukactive
Following the ActiveLab Live! finale at the recent Active Uprising conference, we take a look at startups that are using technology to help people become healthier and more active
Features
Member payments
It’s essential for clubs that the payment process is as easy to use as possible. HCM caught up with some of the leading member payment services to find out how they’re helping clubs
Features
HCM Celeb
The boxing entrepreneur aims to help people ‘unleash the fighter within’ to better handle life’s challenges, with the slogan, ‘It’s not yours until you fight for it’
Features
Asia
Over 300 fitness executives gathered in Singapore recently for the World Fit Summit. HCM’s Steph Eaves attended to chat with CEO and founder Ross Campbell and find out more about the industry in Asia
Features
Strength training
You may be able to help your members and customers avoid or reverse osteoporosis by encouraging weight bearing activities, as Liz Terry reports
Features
Retention
Are you optimising HIIT for your members, or are they put off by the pain? Abigail Harris looks at research into ways to better support members towards a positive outcome
Features
HCM Celebs
In the name of work, Australian actor Chris Hemsworth has undergone impressive physical transformations for film roles such as Thor in The Avengers and Marvel films. Inspired by the public’s interest in his workouts, he’s now created a health and fitness app called Centr that utilises the expertise of his team of world-class experts
Features
Statistics
The fitness market in Europe is entering a new phase of growth according to the European Health & Fitness Market Report 2019 by EuropeActive and Deloitte. HCM reports
Features
Retention
There’s no one thing that will fix your member retention, but clarity of mission, a strong culture and an eye for data will drive significant change. Kate Cracknell reports from this year’s Retention Convention
Features
Flooring
With the increase in popularity of functional training, the floor is increasingly becoming a piece of equipment in itself. Kath Hudson investigates
Features
Active ageing
The older people get, the more likely they are to have a long term health condition. But getting ill is not an inevitable consequence of getting older, so targeting the over 50s market could bring about multiple wins. Kath Hudson reports
Features
Promotional Feature
Promotional feature
EMS training is a great opportunity to differentiate your offering in a crowded fitness market. The kit requires very little space and the business model can be extremely lucrative - Phil Horton, miha bodytec
Latest News
Pure Gym has appointed Premier Global NASM as its exclusive UK fitness training provider. The ...
Latest News
Solent University has officially opened its new £28m sports and fitness centre. The centre houses ...
Latest News
David Lloyd Clubs (DLC) has revealed plans to become the first fitness operator to commit ...
Latest News
Fitness subscription platform ClassPass has appointed a UK general manager as it looks to grow ...
Latest News
Bannatyne Group has named Karen Wilkinson to the board of Bannatyne Fitness. The appointment comes ...
Latest News
UK children will be offered a greater opportunity to take part in 60 minutes of ...
Latest News
Regular exercise, a balanced diet, quitting smoking and cutting down on alcohol are the best ...
Latest News
The best class instructors earn the best salaries the market offers, bringing enhanced value to ...
Job search
POST YOUR JOB
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Collaboration, not aggregation, is the message
MoveGB is a collaboration-based platform, but being a platform, one of the common worries we hear from our partners is about loss of customer ownership.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Myzone vs. wrist trackers
According to ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal, wearables trumped the top spot for trends in 2019. However, the question between Myzone or wrist trackers still stands.
Opinion
promotion
Member retention is a growing problem for long-established gym chains, who are battling the growing budget and boutique gym market.
Opinion: Are you trying to beat budget gyms at their own game?
Video Gallery
Harlands Group testimonial
Harlands Group
Harlands Group - Testimonial from 'Simply Gym'. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Rephouse Europa Ltd
Rephouse is a leading manufacturer of high-performance fitness flooring systems. With its state-of-the-art production technology ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Myzone Group Ltd
At Myzone we reward Effort to solve the pervasive problem of ‘diminishing motivation within exercisers’ ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Governing body
EMD UK: Governing body
Fitness equipment
Dyaco International: Fitness equipment
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Locking solutions
Ojmar: Locking solutions
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions Ltd: Flooring
Professional services
Deloitte UK: Professional services
Lockers/interior design
Craftsman Quality Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Member access schemes
Move GB: Member access schemes
Audio visual
Hutchison Technologies: Audio visual
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
23-25 Jul 2019
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Melbourne, Australia
Diary dates
05-06 Sep 2019
TagusPark, Oeiras, Portugal
Diary dates

features

Calisthenics

Calisthenics: is it just for hardmen, or is it an alternative activity that could appeal to your crossfitters or those in your free weights area? Kath Hudson reports

By Kath Hudson | Published in Health Club Management 2018 issue 9
Calisthenics star Simone Ming
The sport attracts women who want to work on their strength and balance
Calisthenics star Simone Ming The sport attracts women who want to work on their strength and balance
I wanted to learn a skill – as an adult you don’t often get the chance to master something new. We called it a school, because we’re all learning all the time - David Jackson

ith its handstands and human flagpoles, calisthenics is an intriguing discipline, which makes for some stunning and arresting photography. However, while it looks impressive, is it beyond the scope of the average gym goer? Or is it an activity that could help operators engage with a different type of audience or offer something new to existing members?

From the Greek ‘kallos’ for beauty and ‘sthenos’ for strength, the name accurately sums up an activity that is a poetic mix of gymnastics, parkour and bodyweight training.

It’s a pared back exercise, which requires little more than the floor and gravity, according to David Jackson, who co-founded with Tim Stevenson the Nottingham-based School of Calisthenics, one of the few places currently offering tuition in the UK.

Both Jackson and Stevenson are former rugby players turned coaches, who’ve previously specialised at coaching Paralympians. Having been enthused by calisthenics, but unable to find anyone who could teach them, they started to break down the exercises themselves. This led to lots of comments in the gym from people wanting to be taught the moves as well, so they launched the school.

“After retiring from rugby with a head injury, I was looking for a sport that would cause fewer injuries and be more enjoyable and fun than weight lifting,” says Jackson. “I wanted to learn a new skill – as an adult you don’t often get the chance to master something new. We called it a school because the philosophy is that we’re all learning all the time.”

Breaking barriers
Jackson and Stevenson’s background in training Paralympians has come in useful, as they’re adept at breaking down exercises and modifying them to meet different needs. “It was exciting to go back to basics and figure out how to do a movement,” says Jackson. “Our strapline is to ‘redefine your impossible’, as you have to approach calisthenics with an open mindset. So often people see a position, like a flagpole, and think there’s no way they’ll be able to do it, but it’s amazing when you help someone to break through that barrier.”

As well as working out of a Nottingham gym, the School of Calisthenics runs workshops around the UK and is now starting to venture overseas, as well as offering coached video tutorials online. “We have around 100,000 people using our online resources in countries all around the world,” says Jackson, “as well as using makeshift equipment and just doing it in the street. It’s fantastic.”

Six packs
According to Kristoph Thompson, co-founder of Calisthenics UK, interest in the sport is growing all the time: “It has been growing for a number of years and is continuing to grow, but in the UK we’re behind the curve in relation to Europe, the US and Australia,” he says.

“That’s because the modern reinvention of calisthenics happened in inner city parks in New York City, central Europe has a culture of gymnastics and Australia has the outdoors lifestyle.”

A number of factors are driving this interest. “With youngsters doing flagpoles off lamp posts, it’s a sport made for social media,” says Thompson. “On many levels it’s free fitness, which people really like. In addition, it’s massively aspirational, with iconic moves, which are a badge of honour and more rewarding than lifting progressively heavier weights. Added to this, you get into ridiculously good shape – a byproduct is that you get a six pack. It creates skills-based real-world strength, which enables you to do loads of impressive stuff.”

The cali bug
There are a few barriers though. One obvious one is that it’s difficult. Doing a move like a flagpole doesn’t happen overnight. “It requires work and dedication to master the moves, which means some people try it and drop out. However, others get addicted – we call it the cali bug,” says Claudio Narciso, speaking for Barsparta, which runs park-based sessions in London.

“It generally takes three months to do a muscle up and six months to do a handstand. But the upside is that you get very ripped while you’re practising!”

Also, it does currently come across as a masculine and, perhaps slightly intimidating, sport. Both Narciso and Jackson say they tend to attract more men than women to their sessions. However, Johnson thinks it can be just as successfully sold to women: “There are some fantastic female role models and in lots of ways calisthenics has got fewer barriers for some women than going into the free weights area. As women are often shorter, that can help progress.”

For clubs wanting to offer this edgy, on-trend activity to their members, the first thing to do is get an enthusiastic instructor trained up. Calisthenics UK offers training to PTs and fitness professionals either at their venue in London or at the operator’s site.

Thompson says ideally instructors will have a background in gymnastics and be able to do a handstand. “Although they don’t need to do all the moves in order to teach them, there needs to be an element of being able to demonstrate things people can aspire to,” he says.

Gyms are an ideal place to offer calisthenics, because they usually have some type of functional rig for people to learn pull ups, as well as the floor space. Little else is needed beyond the determination and enthusiasm of those people who are learning the moves.

And while many of us might think that we’d never be able to do a human flagpole, the experts agree that practice and an open mindset does pay off.

Jackson says believing you can do it is half the battle, while Thompson says exercises can be broken down and then built back up again while people learn and get stronger. For example, by firstly doing a side plank, and then lifting the top leg for longer each time, until one amazing day the magic happens.

The World Federation of Street Workout & Calisthenics (WSWCF) promotes the sport on an international level and organises the world championships. Its aim is to have calisthenics represented at the Olympic Games and Summer X Games.

STEEL WARRIORS

Steel Warriors (see HCM June 2018) is planning to build open air calisthenics gyms around the UK out of knives confiscated from street crime.

The first site, designed by Barsparta, launched this year in London’s Tower Hamlets.

The aim of the project is to enable young people who carry knives to flex real muscle, rather than feeling the need to carry weapons.

About Simone Ming

World Champion
Ming won the Urban Fitness League World Championship in 2017, making her the top female calisthenics athlete in the world.

Gymnastics
She came to calisthenics in 2014 after having trained and competed in gymnastics for 13 years from the age of three.

Master trainer
Ming trained as a PT with Premier Global International before working for operators Virgin Active and GymBox. She is now a master trainer with Calistenics UK.

Simone Ming
Simone Ming
David Jackson runs the School of Calisthenics with Tim Stevenson
David Jackson runs the School of Calisthenics with Tim Stevenson
The sport can be learned by breaking down moves and then building them back up
The sport can be learned by breaking down moves and then building them back up
Calisthenics suits exercisers who are prepared to commit and train hard to achieve goals
Calisthenics suits exercisers who are prepared to commit and train hard to achieve goals
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/166908_633057.jpg
Trendspotting - the incredible sport of calisthenics profiled in Health Club Management
Latest News
Pure Gym has appointed Premier Global NASM as its exclusive UK fitness training provider. The ...
Latest News
Solent University has officially opened its new £28m sports and fitness centre. The centre houses ...
Latest News
David Lloyd Clubs (DLC) has revealed plans to become the first fitness operator to commit ...
Latest News
Fitness subscription platform ClassPass has appointed a UK general manager as it looks to grow ...
Latest News
Bannatyne Group has named Karen Wilkinson to the board of Bannatyne Fitness. The appointment comes ...
Latest News
UK children will be offered a greater opportunity to take part in 60 minutes of ...
Latest News
Regular exercise, a balanced diet, quitting smoking and cutting down on alcohol are the best ...
Latest News
The best class instructors earn the best salaries the market offers, bringing enhanced value to ...
Latest News
Research from property experts at Colliers International suggests people are increasingly willing to pay more ...
Latest News
The Grade II listed, 17th century Grantley Hall hotel and wellness retreat will reopen today ...
Latest News
Boutique health and fitness operator Ten Health and Fitness plans to double the size of ...
Job search
POST YOUR JOB
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Collaboration, not aggregation, is the message
MoveGB is a collaboration-based platform, but being a platform, one of the common worries we hear from our partners is about loss of customer ownership.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Myzone vs. wrist trackers
According to ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal, wearables trumped the top spot for trends in 2019. However, the question between Myzone or wrist trackers still stands.
Opinion
promotion
Member retention is a growing problem for long-established gym chains, who are battling the growing budget and boutique gym market.
Opinion: Are you trying to beat budget gyms at their own game?
Video Gallery
Harlands Group testimonial
Harlands Group
Harlands Group - Testimonial from 'Simply Gym'. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Rephouse Europa Ltd
Rephouse is a leading manufacturer of high-performance fitness flooring systems. With its state-of-the-art production technology ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Myzone Group Ltd
At Myzone we reward Effort to solve the pervasive problem of ‘diminishing motivation within exercisers’ ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Governing body
EMD UK: Governing body
Fitness equipment
Dyaco International: Fitness equipment
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Locking solutions
Ojmar: Locking solutions
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions Ltd: Flooring
Professional services
Deloitte UK: Professional services
Lockers/interior design
Craftsman Quality Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Member access schemes
Move GB: Member access schemes
Audio visual
Hutchison Technologies: Audio visual
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
23-25 Jul 2019
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Melbourne, Australia
Diary dates
05-06 Sep 2019
TagusPark, Oeiras, Portugal
Diary dates
Search news, features & products:
Find a supplier:
Nautilus / Core Health & Fitness
Nautilus / Core Health & Fitness