Calisthenics explained - welcome to Battle of the Bars


“It’s gymnastics with a B-Boy Attitude in an MMA world” - Chris Luera, AKA Tatted Strength, Middleweight World Champion.

What is Calisthenics?

From martial artists to movie stars, the go-to exercise for lean functional fitness has always been calisthenics. Whilst it may be the word on everyone’s lips when it comes to fitness trends, calisthenics have been the measure of overall conditioning and performance since the ancient Greeks termed them kalos and sthenos, meaning "beautiful strength".

Calisthenics has emerged once more. For those who understand the history and culture of physical fitness, it never went away. In the urban parks of New York City and the boardwalk gyms of southern California, calisthenic athletes have been working away, re-discovering the lost arts of bodyweight training, hand balancing and gymnastics.

“Once you start getting fit, it’s one of the best motivators in the world because you start feeling the results. The weight starts to fall, you get a bit lighter, you start moving around. There’s nothing better than that feeling...I do a lot of gymnastics-type things. The Olympic rings are priceless. Parallel bars are good if you can get a small set of those.” - Jason Statham, Mens Health.

Calisthenics consists of using the body as the source of resistance. Combining simple bodyweight drills, such as push ups, pulls ups and squats along with minimal equipment in the form of pull up and dip bars we are able to create a skillful, sustainable form of training that builds incredible strength, flexibility and fitness. In addition, the skillful nature of calisthenics comes with added benefits such as improving posture, balance, agility and coordination. If you are looking for the fundamental definition of “functional training”, you will find it in the gyms and parks where urban athletes of all descriptions train, using tried and tested drills to improve every aspect of their performance.

Why do Calisthenics

Calisthenics is for everyone young or old, it has elements of practicality and versatility for trainees of all walks of life. It can produce gravity defying strength and dynamics for athletes, all while still being accessible to older populations and children for relative strength and proprioceptive development. With the right understanding of leverage and body orientation, creativity is our only limitation.

Calisthenics is FUN. Accessible to all, everyone can benefit from learning some basic bodyweight drills. For those who want to explore the limits of their ability, calisthenics provides the ultimate challenge, challenging oneself using just the human body.

“I'm used to working long hours and because of that I've got into a routine of getting in my workouts hard and fast. Most of my sessions revolve around a pull-up bar and parallel bars. There's so much you can do with just these two things”. - Charlie Hunnam, Sons of Anarchy, on training calisthenics.

The advantages of developing our physical capacity through play does not fade with age. Calisthenics demands constant neurological input and feedback to refine specific skills. Practicality and accessibility aside, one of the most redeeming aspects of body-weight training is the element of play. Having fun during a workout allows the practitioner to enjoy their time exercising. All the while, it reinforces a positive experience with the enthusiasts consistent activity and physical development, leading to a vital, energetic lifestyle.

For those interested in performance, it benefits most athletes to develop relative strength and a keen sense of body awareness. Athletic performance is highly dependent on relative strength and ability to make the most out of our body through open space. The proprioceptive development necessary for many bodyweight exercises can be an asset to both young and seasoned athletes looking to stay in tune with their body on the field and in the gym. Athletes will find the increased movement variability of a calisthenics program to be an asset to their sport or discipline.

For those interested in aesthetics, a notable myth in the mainstream fitness community is that developing an impressive build with the use of bodyweight training is limited, if not impossible. One look at the lean, propostioned physiques of even casual gymnasts and calisthenics athletes and we quickly discover how faulty this notion can be.


The WCO is known far and wide for it's most anticipated event, Battle of the Bars. Battle of the Bars is the first legitimate calisthenics event of it's kind, with athletes going head to head in a freestyle bodyweight competition. With the 1 on 1 Battle Style competition that includes the 3 minute rounds system, weight categories, 10 point must system and Scoring Criteria, Battle of the Bars is exciting and easy to follow.

Battle of the Bars has been embraced internationally, with WCO competitions being held in the largest cities in the world. As well as Battle of the Bars at BodyPower UK, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Jose, Mexico City, Brazil, Spain, Singapore, Dubai and Kuwait are just some of the places that have hosted Battle of the Bars. With cash prizes, sponsorship opportunities and bragging rights, competitors are highly motivated and ready to put it all on the line.

Battle of the Bars draws impressive crowds, with our MC on hand to explain the action and our guest DJ's providing the soundtrack. Battle of the Bars is a highlight of the convention circuit, providing what is best described as "edge of your seat" action. The event is as engaging as it is entertaining, allowing the audience to participate in contests during intermissions and become part of the show. Registration for Battle of the Bars at BodyPower is now open!

Get your BodyPower Ticket today and make sure you see this fantastic sport and competition.