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What is Street Workout? Where did it originate? What does calisthenics mean? What you don't know about the History of Calisthenics Training!

Updated: Apr 24

Did you know? The name and origin of "Calisthenics" also comes from ancient Greece. It is a combination of Kallos (beauty) and Sthenos (strength).



Going back in history, the first five centuries were the first time that calisthenics fitness was recorded in a historical chronicle by an ancient Greek historian and writer named Herodotus (Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC)), who is also known as the Spartan warrior. At that time, Herodotus did not regard calisthenics as fitness, but rather as a "warrior's dance".




Calisthenics in Greece is one of the first places recorded in history,

but it is believed to have sprouted around the world much earlier. And, it would seem that training is an innate talent of our species.


In the traditional training patterns of Indian wrestlers, it is easy to find many bodyweight-driven movements, such as the Indian Pushup (Dand) and the Indian Squat (baithak). In Persia (nowadays Iran), a systematic weight training tradition (Zurkhaneh, House of Strength) has been practised for thousands of years. In addition, martial arts monks at the Shaolin Monastery in China used freehand techniques to improve strength, mobility and balance, such as the horse stance, the frog jump and the push ups. It is evident that human beings have learnt to explore certain movements and become stronger through repetitive exercises since a long, long time ago.



The late, great martial artist Bruce Lee was one of those trainers who truly incorporated Kallos and Sthenos in his training. Interviews with the late Bruce Lee reveal that he infused his training with many aesthetically pleasing power movements, such as the iconic Dragon Flag, as well as the fingers push up, Manna, sit hold, and many more.

With the advent of the 21st century, calisthenics have been in decline.

The main reason for this was the popularity of free weights in the 80's, when there were more gym chains, and the ability to target weaknesses or strengthen specific areas (e.g. open-chained exercises), coupled with the media marketing and all the other circumstances that made weight training mainstream. The media marketing and all these factors have made weight training gradually become the mainstream.


As a matter of fact, most of the movements in calisthenics are large complex movements, i.e. they require more joint movements to induce neural adaption, and are therefore more difficult to perform. In contrast, fitness studios, with their wide range of assistive equipment and flexible adjustable weights, are indeed more suitable for beginners to progressively train (e.g. it is easier for them to set up a training schedule and know their upper limit of ability).


Through the passage of time, calisthenics has once again returned to the limelight, and in the form of competitive sports.


On the 8th of April 2011, the World Street Workout Championships (WSWCF) was officially launched in Latvia. In the same year, the first World Street Workout Championships were held, opening a new chapter in calisthenics fitness. The rules of the competition were that competitors had to perform a variety of tricks within a two-minute time limit, and the scoring was based on static, dynamic and combination scoring factors. When it comes to the most iconic athletes in Latvia, there is no doubt that Daniel Laizans has been the champion for seven consecutive years in Latvia, as well as being the World Champion in 15, 16 and 17 years.


Later on, there are different organisers to make street fitness more unique, such as WCO (World Street Fitness Organisation) battle of the bar, static strength-based Burningate cup and SWUB also added the element of one-on-one rounds or weight class classification, which promotes healthy and fair competition among athletes so that they have to fight for the best position no matter what! This will make the athletes to put on their best performance no matter what!

Which is your favourite athlete? Which year's race impressed you the most?


DAILYCALI is committed to providing high quality training and products, whether it is personal training or group class training, we can cater for your needs. Our team of professional coaches and extensive experience ensures that you receive the best possible guidance and support. In addition, we have designed unique products that can help you get better results from your training. Keep an eye on our brand for more information. We look forward to working with you to achieve your goals!





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