Calisthenics, using body weight to train your muscles, has taken the fitness industry by storm over the last few decades. More and more people are stepping up to the challenge, using push-ups and pull-ups to rock their training. While little to no equipment is required, things like monkey bars found at workout parks certainly help if you don’t have a pull-up bar at home.
With the phenomenon of calisthenics came calisthenics parks. Think of it as a playground for adults. These outdoor workout parks are popping up worldwide to help people get their calisthenics workout done in the fresh air. Let’s look at some of the best calisthenics parks that use your own body weight for an intense street workout.
Santa Monica Original Muscle Beach
Santa Monica, California, has been known for its street performers like gymnasts and acrobats since the 1930s when people needed some happiness during The Great Depression. As the years went by, equipment was installed to allow people for gymnastics and acrobatic exhibitions.
People came from all over to watch these performances and started to gain popularity among those who wanted a calisthenics park.
As word spread, people started flocking to the venue to get their street workout in at all times of the day and week. Famous people and professional athletes contributed equipment to the park to make it more versatile. At this calisthenics park, you can find pummel horses, dual rope climbs, monkey bars, uneven bars, flying rings, and more to practice anything from muscle-ups to pull-ups. The excellent southern California weather, beach atmosphere, and excess amount of equipment gave it the best calisthenics park in the world accolade.
Like all popular venues, the Santa Monica Original Muscle Beach is crowded. Many people want to get their street workout done at this fantastic park. They also have a kid’s section separate from the rest of the equipment, but you can find kids and adults on it all year.
This calisthenics park is called the “original” because there is also a Muscle Beach Venice. Santa Monica didn’t want to be called Muscle Beach simply because they feared people would confuse them with the Venice Beach location. Also, they were the original calisthenics park, so they wanted to keep that claim to fame.
Steel Warriors in London
This park is one of the best calisthenics parks in the world and has an interesting backstory. Run by an anti-knife crime charity called Steel Warriors, all of the equipment in the park is steel that has been melted down from knives taken off the streets of London. Their motto, “using steel to build lives, not destroy them,” gives adults, teens, and kids a place to go for a street workout.
There are multiple calisthenics parks in London with equipment. These outdoor parks give people a haven from crime with a free space to practice their handstand push-ups.
These outdoor gyms feature free classes for the calisthenics community hosted by various calisthenics trainers. The classes are open to everyone, and there’s no need to book in advance. Learn how to become a calisthenics athlete from some of the best at Steel Warriors calisthenics parks throughout London.
The Best Calisthenics Trainers
The king of calisthenics is Hannibal Lanham. Known as “Hannibal For King,” he grew up in New York and used exercise to escape the realities of the hardships he endured. He gained popularity in 2008 when he uploaded a video of himself making intricate calisthenics moves on a bar. Since then, he has continued his calisthenics workouts, inspiring others to use bodyweight training in their exercise programs.
Other famous calisthenics athletes include:
- Chris “Tatted Strength” Luera
- Hannibal For King
- Islam Badurgov
- Michael Vazquez
- Osvaldo Lugones
- Pivet Madkilla
- San Gohan
- Pedro Fortes
- 2J Pantoja
- Viktor Kamenov
Creators of Calisthenics
Germans Friedrich Ludwig Jahn and Adolf Spiess are known as the creators of calisthenics from the early 19th century. They are known as the grandfather and fathers of gymnastics as they developed the fundamentals of gymnastics that people know today. They worked with children to engage them in a fitness journey using only their body weight.
Different Types of Calisthenics
Read here for some of the best calisthenics programs in the fitness industry. If you are unfamiliar with calisthenics, you might not realize there are several different types of calisthenics. See below for some ways you can use bodyweight training and gain muscle.
Freestyle or Gymnastics Style Calisthenics
Known as playground calisthenics, freestyle or gymnastic calisthenics is all about the wow factor. It features intense movements like the flagpole, toe touch pull-ups, switchblades, and 360 muscle-ups. All of these workouts require coaching and incremented lead-ups to the final position. For example, Cali Move is an excellent calisthenics program that works through basic movements and leads you through phases until you perfect some of the most challenging calisthenics movements.
Calisthenics for Muscle and Power
This type of calisthenics is less about wowing the crowd and more about attaining muscle mass through intense workout sessions featuring bodyweight training. It’s innovative training that focuses on increasing lean muscle mass without equipment. It features various types of push-ups, muscle-ups, and planks to entice hypertrophy.
Military-style calisthenics is precisely what it sounds like. You train with body weight to build endurance and strength like soldiers. Pull-ups, push-ups, and muscle-ups are performed in an extremely high number of reps to build stamina. This type of workout is exceptional for building strength through the core.
General Health and Fitness Calisthenics
This calisthenics builds fitness and better overall health without the intense muscle mass gains. It helps to increase your fitness level and increase functional fitness. Carrying groceries from the car, a massive flight of stairs, or yard work is easier when you build stamina through general calisthenics. Many personal trainers record videos on YouTube that showcase general calisthenics you can follow to improve health.
Find a Calisthenics Park Today!
We gave you two of the best calisthenics parks worldwide, but plenty of other excellent parks with calisthenics equipment are just waiting for you. A calisthenics parks app is the best way to find workout parks near you. Search the street workout list and grab a friend to get those pull-ups going. Fresh air will do you good, and most are free to use! Winning!