Bodyweight training, otherwise known as calisthenics, or street workout has strong roots with Fitstream and has been part of our culture since the early days. Essentially, it involves training using your own bodyweight for resistance, performing fundamental exercises such as pull-ups, dips, push-ups and bridges.
We were introduced to these methods by the infamous Bar-Barians and it revolutionized our approach to 'working out'.
Fitstream are proud sponsors of the UK series of bodyweight workshops held by the Bar-Barians. The regular 2 day workshops are taking place throughout the UK, and are teaching beginners and experts alike the incredible strength and conditioning skills that the Bar-Barians are famous for.
Checkout the recently held event at the CrossFit Performance 360 facility in South East London.
Images from the event can be seen over at BoxRox -
If you're an experienced bar trainer looking to hike up the intensity of your workout, or a beginner just looking to get started in the bar game, then you might want to check out this nifty little piece of kit - the Niroc Bar Belt.
Developed by longstanding bar athlete Niroc Nirose - the bar belt system is based on the use of one or more resistance bands attatched to a central belt that's worn around the waist.
It can be used by advanced bar athletes to add varying levels of resistance to moves such as pull-ups, dips, or muscle-ups and bar beginners can get that little bit of assistance to make the fundamental bar movements more achievable.
If you're interested in picking up the Bar Belt you can reach Niroc via his YouTube channel.
On August 4th 2012, the second annual Street Workout World Championships were once again held in the city of Riga, Latvia. Maris Slezins, president of World Street Workout Federation, tirelessly worked with his team, day and night to bring the most recognised names in 'Street Workout' from across the globe to participate in the freestyle workout competition and crown the world champion!
Fitstream - Hello Yevgeny! ... We'd like to firstly congratulate you on your win at SWWC.
Can you let everyone know a bit about yourself?
Yevgeny - I am from Ukraine, born and raised in Odessa. I'm 21 years old and now a fifth-year student.
I started getting into different sports at around 12 years old. First I did Karate, but then tried to engage in other sports fields. Around 7 years ago I began to seriously pursue and practice Street Workout.
Fitstream - Last year the competition was big, with 20 participants from 10 different countries, but this year it was on a much bigger scale with 32 participants from 19 different countries and competition coverage on Eurosport 2 (and hopefully attracting the attention of the X Games at some point).
Do you like the growth of the Street Workout movement worldwide and that it's becomming more mainstream or would you rather it stay on a more underground level?
Yevgeny - I think that this workout has to evolve and expand. Our main goal is to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Outdoor training is an alternative to smoking and drinking alcohol with the opportunity to develop physically and with virtually no cost. I would like people to use this opportunity and this will be the wider movement, the faster we do, we will achieve this goal.
Fitstream - This year, as well as the high bar and parallel bars, the SWWC added the monkey bars apparatus for participants to showcase their skills on.
You opted not to use this equipment in either of your two freestyle sets ... Why was that? And how do you feel about the inclusion of the monkey bars into the competition this year?
Yevgeny - Horizontal/monkey bars are a great apparatus where you can do a lot of beautiful and rich moves... the more elements the better - including the horizontal bars.
I chose not to use them because of the elements of what I had planned and it was enough for me to use the high and parallel bars.
Fitstream - The Ukrainian guys really seem to excel at this sport and so far have pretty much dominated at the SWWC in the first two years. Ether was crowned world champion last year and now you have won the championship in 2012 with Ether coming a very close second and there's also Vitali with a top five finish.
Why do you think the Ukrainians are so strong when it comes to Street Workout?
Yevgeny - We just love doing it, for us it is not just a workout ... it's more a way of life, 'our oxygen.'
There is also another factor: engaging in Street Workout, we understand that children are watching us, we understand that we must be an example to them and motivate them to our achievements. All of Ukraine - it's one big happy team, we have always supported each other and maybe that gives us strength.
Other countries have a lot of strong guys also and there will be more, I think they will show themselves more in the future.
Fitstream - There were plenty of new moves on display this year including your own 'Levitating Front Lever' - where you hold front lever and then slide your hands back and forth across the bar whilst maintaining the hold - VERY impressive!
Were there any other new moves this year that impressed you from any of the other competitors?
Yevgeny - There was a lot of strong elements, but this year I was more impressed by the creativity of some participants. The guys used their national flags, footballs and one competitor even dressed in the style of James Bond and performed his routine to the 007 music - It was fun ... creativity and artistry are also an important component of the performances.
Fitstream - Do you like the judging system that is used at the competition where each of the judges give points for their top 5 participants (5 points for their favourite, 4 for their second choice, 3 for their third etc) and each participants giving a single point to the fellow participant that they think deserved to win?
Can you also let us know who you gave your point to?
Yevgeny - I think it's a good evaluation system so that everyone can vote for the worthy.
I gave my point to Nikita Kurtain. This is a strong athlete, a good man who is actively promoting Street Workout in Israel, but this choice was difficult because there were many worthy athletes.
Fitstream - Can you let everyone know what your weekly training programme looks like? Do you always train the power moves or do you do train the basics also?
Yevgeny - There is no system as such ... I'm always trying to change something and do not get hung up on one or the other. I work with both body-weight and with extra weight added. I combine outdoor workout and the gym, train the power components, and basic exercises.
Fitstream - Yevgeny, next year the competition will again be bigger than the last, with World Street Workout Federation president Maris Slezins confirming that the event will again be held in Riga, but this time taking place in the centre of the city, on the square of Riga Central train station!.
Can you confirm that you will be back next year to defend your championship?
Yevgeny - Of course I will attend the next event, it brings me joy to be involved, but if the organizers wish to invite me as a judge next year, rather than a competitor I will be still be happy.
Fitstream - Thanks for your time Yevgeny, we can't wait to see more videos of you in action in the months and years ahead, best of luck champ.
Yevgeny - Thank you.
For those that didn't see it - here's the Eurosport coverage of the SWWC event -
As the bodyweight training revolution continues to gain momentum on the world stage, spearheaded by the likes of the Bar-barians, Calisthenics Kingz and Beastmode, to name but a few, the biggest body-weight event of it's kind recently took place on 27th and 28th August 2011.
The Street Workout World Championship 2011 (SWWC2011) was held in Riga, Latvia and the first world champions were crowned in both the Freestyle and Strength categories. For those in the know, it wasn't a huge shock when Ievgen Ether Kozyr of the Barstylers was crowned 'Freestyle Bar World Champion' - Ether from Ukraine, has been on the circuit for a good few years now and those who've seen some of his YouTube videos know what he is capable of... Here's a clip of Ether performing at the SWWC -
... and here's our exclusive interview with the champ himself, where we talk about the SWWC2011, training and the future of the body-weight movement:
Fitstream - Ok Ether, let's get started. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Ether - Hi everybody! About me.. I'm Ukrainian, I'm 25 now. Working out is my hobby which brings me a lot of pleasure. I started to work out about 2 years ago or a little bit more. My first inspirations were Bar-barians and Hannibal from NY, but I was attracted to pull-ups since my childhood so I always had a good base and was in a good shape.
My first big success was when I won the Ukrainian freestyle bar contest in Dnepropetrovsk last year (big thanks to Denis Minin for the organization). Nowadays I've become an inspiration for thousands of young people and it's a big responsibility. I'm trying to help everyone giving advice or answering questions, holding regular competitions in Kharkov (my native city) and visiting different events in other cities to judge, to compete, to communicate and to discuss further development.
I'd like to present my apologies to you for being so slow with this interview and to all those who didn't receive answers from me. Guys it's physically impossible to answer thousands of questions, so I'm trying to choose the most interesting and non-typical ones. Anyway when I have free time I'll try to help everyone. I hope this interview will clarify some questions and will be useful for all who interested.
Now my hobby started to develop extremely fast and is becoming a new 'sport'.
This year was full of different events and the next one will be much more lively - we have big plans!
Fitstream - Congratulations on your historic victory at the SWWC2011 freestyle category last month! Can you tell us what you had to do in the competition in order to be crowned 'world champion' and how the competition was judged?
Ether - Thanks! When I was going to Riga I didn't think at all about how to win the first place, I was going just to work out, to meet friends who I had seen only on videos, to get acquainted with new people and to get experience.
People always ask me what the prize was. I can say that none of the participants knew, didn't ask about prizes and didn't talk about what he will do to win etc. From the first day there was A LOT of crazy fun and only a friendly atmosphere. Each participant came to Riga because it was a big honor to take part in the first World Championship and altogether we all shared a really good time which we will remember for our lifetime.
So I did what I always do, I can't say that I was the best or most original. I saw many talented people there, many extremely powerful and artistic moves and each one had his own style.
There were several experienced judges who had to determine the first 3 places. Also each participant had one vote which he could give to any sportsman except himself. So I have to thank all of them for this title.
Fitstream - Besides the Freestyle category there was also a 'Strength' category at the competition. Can you tell us a bit about this and were you and the other competitors entered into both competitions? ... If so, how did you get on with it?
Ether - I didn't get prize on basics. The "Strength" part was on the second day of the competition. Almost all competitors took part in this challenge. The organizers made interesting as possible.
The participant had to do max muscle-ups, push-ups and dips. As for me, I took part in this contest to support the organizers and the other participants. I focused on the quality and reps without any stops.
I can say that I never liked pushups and dips, this is my weak point. I can also say that the rules were not excellent and participants were not in the same conditions. The quality and styles were different and it's too hard to judge fair. Next year there will be some changes which will make judging easier and put everybody in the same conditions.
Fitstream -Besides your own incredible sets, were there any others from the other competitors that really stood out and made you think that you might not have won the championship?
Ether - I tried to do my best on the bar, but as I said I didn't think about winning and yes, I was really amazed by all the participants.
Here in CIS countries, workout develops very fast and every day I see many new videos in our social network vk.com so it's very hard to impress me, but in Riga I was REALLY impressed!
Fitstream - The main reason the SWWC2011 was set up was to push the body-weight movement into the mainstream and hopefully attract the attention of the X-Games where Skateboarding, Motorcross, BMX, and Rally car racing are attracting around 37 million viewers worldwide! Do you think this is the right direction for the 'sport' or do you think it can eventually grow on it's own similar to the way CrossFit and the CrossFit Games has done over the last couple of years, or would you rather it be kept on a smaller/more underground level?
Ether - It's a difficult question. The main thing is that no one imposes on anybody. Each person has a choice to workout just to keep the body fit or to achieve something more . And I think that it's really great that somebody is trying to give this choice to everybody. Everything depends on your attitude to this sport and on your aims. Some think that this is the right direction of development and some think that this is nonsense. The question is - are YOU interested in it or are you not interested in it?
I don't know how far our 'sport' can be developed but I'm not opposed to give it a chance to show skills for those who want it because this may be one of the strongest motivations when training and working on your body and your mind ... besides I think that talented people have to show their skills to everybody because by doing so people can see and realize what a strength, what progress they can reach just working out in the street! Somebody watches a barz-vid and says to himself "Shit! I also can do it! I'm no worse than they are! It doesn't need some extra talent or money! That's what I need!" and in the next moment he or she is one of us.
Last Saturday I held a little competition in my city on L-sit pull-ups with additional weight ... There were many people who came from other cities and who I saw for the first time. They told me that they gave up smoking and started to work out because of me, because of my videos. Isn't that great?
Fitstream - Tell us about your weekly workouts? ... How many times a week do you train? ... Do you have a set routine or do you prefer to keep mixing things up and varying things?
Ether - I don't have any program, any diet. I train when my body needs it. For now, when I don't have specific goals, I train twice a week.
At the beginning I do a warm-up then some hard stuff, static holds, some combinations and by the end I do some basics in order to load my muscles for max. During each training session I meet a lot of people and my workout turns in to a good, active and effective pastime.
Fitstream - When did you last workout and what did you do exactly?
Ether - My last workout was last Saturday. As I said earlier, it was a little bar meeting. There were 70 or 80 people and 37 took part in the competition (weighted L-sit pull-ups). We even managed to bring to the contest some people from the audience who didn't know anything about calisthenics before and of course kids (pull-ups without weight). Oh, on my last holiday I visited quite a big event in Dnepropetrovsk and a little 10 year old kid made 200 muscle-ups without getting off the bar!! Yes, they weren't great but still - WTF!!
Fitstream - During one of your sets at the SWWC2011 you performed 11 consecutive one armed pull ups (OAP's.) To do just one of these takes an incredible amount of strength but to do 11 left us totally speechless! ... Can you tell us how you trained for such a truly remarkable feat of strength?
Ether - Actually I love simple pull-ups since my childhood and even before I started working out regularly I already was able to do one-arm pull-ups.
A month before my trip to Riga I started to train only OAPs and made progress from 5-6 to 10-11 reps. I trained it every day. First week I was warming up doing them every evening, 1 OAP each hand with 5 min rest. In total 20-25 reps per day for each hand ... in the next few weeks I started to add OAPs in a set one by one utill I was doing 4-5 reps per set. I didn't have a strict program, I listened to my body. I went from 5 to 55 OAPs each hand per day. That was quite enough.
Fitstream - Well Ether, that's a wrap! ... Congratulations again on your victory at the SWWC2011 and we look forward to seeing you in action again very soon. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us today.
Ether - Thank you so much guys!
Now I have so much to do, we have so many plans ... Thanks to SWWC2011, where we got so much experience. Special thanks to Maris Slezins, who continues to help us. I can say that one of these days the Ukrainian Public Organization "Street Workout Ukraine" will be founded and the big game will start!
Fitstream were kindly invited to attend a bodyweight fitness event at the Wiliam Knibb Centre in Kettering as hosted by 23 year old youth worker Anton Guidera.
Anton, who built the bodyweight training facility himself (known as "The Compound" to locals) wants to help raise the profile of the outdoor gym in his community and create a space where young people can hang out and get in shape.
Fitstream travelled to the event and were joined by elite bodyweight training specialists Jay and Lee from the UK Bar-barian crew who held training workshops. It was inspiring stuff as they helped people nail their first muscle-up and taught moves such as the front and back lever, skin the cat, and ring dips with a dash of freestyle bar work. Check out the video below for highlights.
Other notable elite bar specialists in attendance were Lemar, Chris Sulzdorf, Tim Coates, Jeff Agudelo and we also had the pleasure of meeting Ify, who runs GetFizzyCal - a quirky fitness blog that makes for interesting reading. Make sure you check Fizzycal out...
Here are some stills from the day, and you'll find the full collection in our Facebook Album.
Anton takes centre stage at the Compound
Jay from the UK Bar-Barians demonstrates the back lever on a static bar
Chris Sulzdorf showing the typewriter exercise
Lee of the UK Bar-Barians, straight as an arrow on the parallel bars
We'll be releasing an article soon to help anyone set up their own outdoor bodyweight gym similar to that built by Anton. Hopefully it will inspire some similar setups as it would be great to see more of these facilities in our communities.
Kudos to Anton for creating this worthy cause and putting on a great event. A great day was had by all and we look forward to the next one!
We're slowly building up our exercise directory at Fitstream and have just added seven of our favourite bodyweight based exercises, complete with illustrations, instructions and tips with no fitness equipment in sight!
If you think bodyweight training isn't challenging or is ineffective then give one of these exericses a try! You can add some into your existing training regime to mix things up a little and they're also great for when you're on the road and don't have the luxury of a gym to help stay in shape.
The information provided on this website is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. A qualified health care provider should be consulted before making decisions about therapies and / or health and fitness conditions.
We are 39.2% of the way through 2015. Are you on track to achieving your fitness goals?