The discipline of strength and beauty: calisthenics

Prepare your training bag and take a walk to Alexander park. In the upper part, along Manoli Andronikou street, you will find a good spot and a great team to train with. 

Spot in Alexander Park, Thessaloniki
ph: Umberto Zeverini

The discipline in case is called Calisthenics. The name comes from the words kalòs that means beauty, and sthénos that means strength. The origin of this sport is not clear: some people say that was born in the public parks of USA, while others claim that it was born in Russia and Ukraine. 

The athletes of calisthenics only do free body exercises, which means they only work with their own body weight, and no additional weights. The exercises are very particular. You need an incredible control of muscles and a good coordination to do them correctly. Anyway, if you are a totally beginner do not feel discouraged. The exercises are made step by step, from the easier to the harder to get the different levels of strength. 

In every exercise all the muscles are working together, this is the reason why results come really fast. Obviously it is better to have support an expert personal trainer to do this sport. The movements are complex and if done in the wrong way they can cause several injuries. On the other hand, a correct work can fix common physical problems, like posture problems.

One hand standing
ph: Umberto Zeverini

Most of the figures of calisthenics come from the free body exercises of artistic gymnastics, however, they are often harder. A classic example is the Planche: normally consist in standing only in your hands and keeping your body like a perfect horizontal line. In this position, the upper part of the body supports all the weight. Nevertheless, every single muscle is essential. Anyway in calisthenics there are many variants of planche. Indeed some athletes are able to do it standing only on two fingers or on their wrists. Lately this sports is developing a lot, therefore now exist movements which only belong to this discipline like: hefesto, entrada de angel, impossible etc… 

Two fingers planche 
athlete: Lorenzo Surpoli

Basically when we talk about calisthenics, we are referring to street workout. It’s possible to practice everywhere, from public parks to your bedroom. Thanks to the several videos published on Youtube by athletes, this sport is becoming more and more famous. There are blogs about it and several tutorials for beginners. This is the reason why gyms started including calisthenics in their schedules.

The aim is not to boast about your six-pack, but to reach your goals day by day with effort and sweat. There are also many competitions in this discipline. The most important is the International Burningate Cup where athletes from all around the world participate. Nevertheless, calisthenics is still not recognized as an olympic sport but people are fighting for that and it’s about to become one. This would give a big help to the athletes to create sport societies and obtain proper training locations.

ph: Umberto Zeverini 

In Thessaloniki, this environment is not so developed. Still, there are different athletes and their level is pretty high. They meet in Alexander park to work hard, with passion and devotion. Those who know more teach and give advices, and they all support each other. Like all the sports, it is a way to form a group of friends whom share a common passion. Maybe, in the future, one of them could become a calisthenics champion, if they would get more opportunities. This is valid for Thessaloniki and for all the cities of the world. That said, warm up your muscles and go enjoy calisthenics! 

Post Author: Umberto Zeverini

Umberto Zeverini
My name is Umberto, I'm 24 and I come from Italy (Rome). I'm a really open-minded person with a big sense of duty and that's the reason why I joined the Balkan Hotspot project. I like to investigate the cultural factors of a country and I am very interested in the underground side of any place.

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