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Acrobatic interludes on the playground

Calisthenics: Your own body as a gym

Whether it's a stop sign, a stair railing or a park bench - for calisthenics athletes, there's hardly an object that can't be used for training. Instead of dumbbells and weights, all you need here is your own body to really step on the gas. A YouTube phenomenon that has now made it to Germany.

Handstand push-ups, one-arm pull-ups or human flag - if you visit a playground in good weather these days, with a bit of luck you can experience acrobatic feats that are usually only found in the circus. Alongside shrieking children and worried parents, a group of young fitness enthusiasts has discovered the climbing frame, the jumping rope and the like for themselves.

Eine Übung bei Caltisthenitics: The Human Flag

Export hit from New York

Calisthenics is the name of the new trend sport that focuses almost exclusively on exercises using the body's own weight. This special variation of strength training developed in New York shortly after the turn of the millennium.

The so-called outdoor and workout parks, which made it possible to train outside of gyms and sports clubs, were decisive.

A few pull-up or climbing bars, a parallel bar - that's all it took to turn the nearby city park into a playground for fitness enthusiasts.

And since creativity knows no bounds, various other objects such as fences, street signs and garbage cans were gradually converted into training equipment.

The YouTube phenomenon

Especially the spectacular YouTube videos of the US athletes "Hannibal for King" and Frank Medrano attracted the attention of the online community and made the special fitness sport accessible to a larger audience.

With seemingly playful ease, the two demonstrated never-before-seen variations of strength training on pull-up bars and parallel bars, or lifted their bodies at 90-degree angles off poles, fences or street signs to form the so-called "human flag".

It didn't take long for the new trend to find its first followers in this country as well. The calisthenics movement had spilled over into Germany.

Calisthenics - one sport, many benefits

However, the successful overseas import is not a miracle, because the list of benefits of calisthenics is long: The exercises with your own body weight are not only a good strength training, but are also excellent for training coordination and balance.

Unlike training on machines, calisthenics exercises mimic the natural movement of our muscles. Numerous fitness studios now offer what is known as functional training - training that activates our muscles in their original way of functioning. Calisthenics is nothing else.

Another plus point is that even during the basic exercises of any calisthenics aspirant, i.e. squats, pull-ups, push-ups or dips, a basic tension must be maintained permanently. This especially trains the core, the center of the body, which not only quickly leads to a respectable abdominal musculature, but is also a good prophylaxis against back problems from a sports medicine point of view.

Frau macht Übung am Gerät

Objectives are crucial

Another important factor: the goal setting. While only the weight and the number of repetitions can be increased in classic strength training, more and more complex exercises are possible in calisthenics. If you can do a series of pull-ups without any problems, for example, you can dare to do muscle ups or single-arm pull-ups in the next step. In this way, you always have a concrete goal in mind and remain permanently motivated.

The creative scope in the selection of the training objects and the variety of exercises also provide a lot of variety during training. A workout with friends in the open air sounds much more inviting than a monotonous sweat on the treadmill. Not to mention the free "admission".



Build strength and lose weight

If you've now watched a few YouTube videos and are on your way to the next playground, there's one thing you should keep in mind: Before acrobatic feats are on the agenda, you first need to establish the basics. Squats, pull-ups, leg lifts and dips are a good way to get started and build up the necessary basic strength. Add a little discipline and the more complex exercises are within reach.

And for those who want to lose weight: The combination of different exercises with your own body weight is an excellent way to lose excess pounds.

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