Street workout

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Street workouts are a physical activity performed in outdoor parks or public facilities. The movement behind street workouts became popular in Russia, Israel, Myanmar, Morocco, Eastern Europe, and the United States, especially in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami, Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and other urban East Coast neighborhoods.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] It is a combination of athletics, calisthenics, and sports.[8] "Street workout" is a modern name for calisthenics (or bodyweight workouts) in outdoor parks. There are also street workout teams and organized competitions for exercises such as pull-ups, chin-ups, push-ups, dips, rows, muscle-ups, sit-ups and squats. A street workout also involves static (isometric) holds such as the human flag, front lever, back lever, L-sit and plank.[9]

Street workouts are divided into two main branches, strength training and dynamics. Strength training includes isometric holds such as the plank, the front lever, and the back lever. This form of exercise also includes single-arm pull-ups, muscle-ups, single-arm push-ups, and more. Dynamic exercises including switchblades can be connected with other moves in order to create routines or sets.

Some of the benefits of street workouts according to those who do it are:

  • It is completely free;[10][11]
  • It can be performed anywhere[10]
  • No training or gym equipment is required;[12]
  • It promotes healthy living, and a desirable physique can be attained with it;[13]
  • It is a social event.[10]


The history of Calisthenics and general physical training and fitness is separate from that of contemporary street workouts. Some attribute the modern popular movement to having its roots in American Prisons.[14] This theory comes from the idea that the removal of weights from American prisons throughout the 1980s and 1990s ultimately led inmates to practice calisthenics as a means of survival, general health, and rehabilitation. The theory continues to explain that once these former inmates were released, they continued practicing calisthenics and brought calisthenics back to their neighborhoods to promote working out and living a healthy lifestyle.[14] It is for this reason that in the United States, especially in urban communities the coinage of the term street workout in place of calisthenics is often considered as a slight and offensive.[14] The history of street workouts can essentially be broken into three periods of history: Pre-YouTube (1980s-2005), Golden Era (2008-2012) and Identity Crisis Era (2013–Present).[15][unreliable source?] New York City Calisthenics or Street Workout Groups are largely accepted and considered to have pioneered and popularized the modern movement.[14] Different groups and crews developed their own style of working out by combining classical calisthenics with exercises from gymnastics, breakdance, hip hop, and freerunning, or developed new movements themselves. These groups presented videos of the novel form of calisthenics on the internet and triggered a regular boom across the World, especially in East Europe.

Pre-Youtube (1980s-2005)[edit]

The first recorded Calisthenics group or crew Ruff Ryders was founded in 2002 and is widely credited for inspiring other calisthenics groups and popularizing calisthenics through their DVD Thug Workout.[15][16][17][18] The best-known members from Ruff Ryders are I-Born and Big G. The second recorded and arguably most influential Pre-YouTube calisthenics group was Bartendaz which was founded in 2003 by G.I.A.N.T. Bartendaz was the first calisthenics crew to be featured on television and give mass exposure to Calisthenics.

Golden Era (2008-2012)[edit]

With the invention of YouTube in 2005, groups and individuals began to upload videos and collectively gain tens of millions of views. Many calisthenics athletes were able to rise to fame and inspire others within their respective communities and throughout the world to workout.[19][15][20][21] Calisthenics Groups such as Bartendaz, Everything Is Beastmode, Bar-Barians, Team-WinGate and others motivated, innovated and paved the way for Calisthenics Other groups spread and popularized Calisthenics through social media such as Ed from BarStarzz and Strictly Bar Talk. Many competitions arose and grew to new heights during this time period because of mass exposure from YouTube.[22][23][20][15]

Identity Crisis Era (2013-Present)[edit]

Similar to the present state of Hip-Hop which also originated in New York City, calisthenics is in the midst of an identity crisis.[14][15] During the formation, early stages and Golden Era of Calisthenics, it was very clear what the movement was. Calisthenics and street workout were by all means interchangeable. Anyone who trained outside for free with bodyweight exercises was part of the community. Training focus and capabilities were not necessarily important aspects of inclusion for the wider community. Presently, this division and rift is the utmost important question moving forward for the community and its overall growth. Interestingly enough, the terms have now flip-flopped or shifted. Those who once or who still consider themselves to be Calisthenics practitioners now would fall into the street workout category despite having issues with the term and those who once or still consider themselves to be street workout practitioners now fall into the Calisthenics category.

  • Street workout
Focuses on straight arm statics, dynamics, power, strength, competition and emphasize no to minimal swinging, acrobatics, gymnastic-like or herky-jerky movements such as CrossFit pull-ups. Notable Youtube Channels such as Thats Good Money and Sean G upload, post, and feature athletes that would now be considered to be street workout practitioners.[24][25][unreliable source?]

Basics of street workout[edit]

A typical street workout routine[26] consists of:

  • Athletics involves a system of exercises with various levels of exertion provided for development of strength and stamina as well as for shaping an athletic constitution. Exercising is used to increase strength level, develop physical shape and for rehabilitation.
  • Isometric exercises – a type of strength training whereby a static position is held.
  • Calisthenics (Kalestenos) – is a complex of many simple exercises which are performed using purely body weight. The aim of these exercises is to train muscular strength and to evolve comprehensive fitness.

Street workouts are usually performed outdoors or in specifically designed street workout parks. A typical street workout park looks like a playground and consists of several bars, poles and other objects used for body weight exercises.[27]

Street workout in Slovenia

In street workout, people often create teams.


Streetlifting is a strength sport that combines calisthenics and powerlifting. Streetlifting consists of three attempts at maximal weight on two lifts pull-up or chin-up and dip.[28][29] Some competitions also include muscle-ups, and back squats.[30] Streetlifting competitions also include a maximum repetition class where competitors only do bodyweight lifts, but for maximum repetitions instead of maximum weight.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "N.Y.C. Is Your Urban Gym | Movers and Shakers". MYPROTEIN™. 2019-07-24. Retrieved 2021-04-29.
  2. ^ Clare Fischer, Mary (2019-04-16). "This Philly Native Was Shot at Age 16. Now He's Bringing a New Kind of Movement to the City". Philly Magazine. Retrieved 2021-04-29.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ "Athlete's Corner: Advanced Calisthenics are pushing athletes to the extreme". Los Angeles Sentinel. 2013-07-14. Retrieved 2021-04-29.
  4. ^ Ogle, Connie (2018-03-05). "These buff athletes show us how to use the new equipment at Muscle Beach". Miami Herald. Retrieved 2021-04-29.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ "Baltimore's Monkey Bar Workout is No Joke". Towson, MD Patch. 2011-08-23. Retrieved 2021-04-29.
  6. ^ "About PUPJ". pullupparkjam. Retrieved 2021-04-29.
  7. ^ "The Ultimate Rock Creek Workout | Washingtonian (DC)". Washingtonian. 2013-02-20. Retrieved 2021-04-29.
  8. ^ "CALISTHENICS - Street Workout Academy". Street Workout Academy. Retrieved 2016-01-15.
  9. ^ "Isometric exercises - Street Workouts". Street Workouts. Retrieved 2016-01-15.
  10. ^ a b c "On Street Workout". PCC Blog. 14 January 2014. Retrieved 2016-01-15.
  11. ^ "Which is better – street workout or gym?". Madbarz. Retrieved 2016-01-15.
  12. ^ "Fitness goes gymless with street workout | The Manila Times Online". 24 May 2014. Retrieved 2016-01-15.
  13. ^ "The Effect of Calisthenics Exercises at Various Intensity on Girl Students' Figure and Cardiorespiratory Functions--《Journal of Guangzhou Physical Education Institute》2003年06期". Retrieved 2016-01-15.
  14. ^ a b c d e Raise Up, retrieved 2021-04-29
  15. ^ a b c d e History of Street Workout, retrieved 2021-04-29
  16. ^ Retrieved 2021-04-29. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ Ruff Ryders Workout (Fitness Motivation 2013), retrieved 2021-04-29
  18. ^ "The origin of Calisthenics and Street Workout". The Calisthenics Club. 2020-10-19. Retrieved 2021-04-29.
  19. ^ Most, Gijs Van Der; Gross, Michael Joseph (2014-12-08). "Watch These Body-Weight Warriors Take Flight". Men's Health. Retrieved 2021-04-29.
  20. ^ a b "BAR HISTORY - YouTube". Retrieved 2021-04-29.
  21. ^ "Raise Up". Red Bull. Retrieved 2021-04-29.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. ^ Hrustic, Alisa (2017-03-21). "How Did This Underground Fitness Movement Become An International Sport?". Men's Health. Retrieved 2021-04-29.
  23. ^ "Pull Up Park Jam (PUPJ)". pullupparkjam. Retrieved 2021-04-29.
  24. ^ "Sean G - YouTube".
  25. ^ "Thats Good Money - YouTube".
  26. ^ "Street Workout Programs". Street Workouts. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
  27. ^ "IMG Arcade - Street Workout Parks". IMG Arcade. Retrieved 2015-01-15.
  28. ^ "Rules". International Streetlifting Federation. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  29. ^ "Streetlifting is a new sport, new opportunities!". Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  30. ^ "ENERAL RULES OF STREETLIFTING". Retrieved 17 August 2021.

External links[edit]