World Calisthenics Competition

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This past weekend I was at the San Jose Fit Expo. Its mostly bodybuilding but there’s plenty of other stuff too. Unfortunately, I missed the grip competition though I did watch a little Mas Wrestling. There was Crossfit doing exhibitions and teaching too and plenty else.

But I spent most of my time there watching the Calisthenics Competition. I had caught a couple videos online of this before but it was my first time seeing it live. This video from the LA Expo earlier this year, the Battle of the Bars 3, showcases a good amount of what they do.

The World Calisthenics Organization is behind this new sport which really only became a competition last year. From their website:

“Founded by Kenneth Gallarzo and Brendan Cosso, the World Calisthenics Organization was created for Calisthenics Athletes by Calisthenics Athletes to elevate Calisthenics or What is commonly known as Street Workout into a professional series of competitions to Solidify Calisthenics as a Sport and bring it to the it to the forefront of Professional Competitions. The WCO was the First ever to hold a legitimate Calisthenics Competition with reach to nearly 37,000 onlookers at the LA Fit Expo January 2013.”

Being someone who loves bodyweight training it was a lot of fun. By having a competition around it the strength and skill involved can only get better.

In the open competition which I saw each athlete had three minutes to do their skills. The athletes were judged for the following:

  1. Strength & Control
  2. Endurance
  3. Balance/Agility
  4. Creativity/Acrobatics/Crowd Interaction
  5. Technique/ Execution

There were tons of muscle ups, one arm chins, handstand pushups, tiger bends, back levers, front levers, human flags, fingertip strength and more. There were also a few back flips and other acrobatics.

Probably the coolest thing for me was observing how they transitioned from one skill to another.

There was some stuff I had never seen before. Like one guy doing a human flag with his arms shoulder width apart.

And after busting out a few easy one arm chins another guy did a back lever on 5” grips. Amazing!

One man went for but didn’t quite pull off a backflip off the top bar, trying to re-grab the bar on the way down.

They streamed the event live and you can watch the recording of it here. This is very long so you’ll definitely want to skip around.

With the rise in popularity of bodyweight training I see this sport becoming much bigger in the future. In five years or so I could see it being on ESPN like the Crossfit competitions and Strongman.

In addition to that, its going to get crazier. I see strong and skilled people from other areas, specifically gymnastics or even some circus performers getting into it and upping the ante. More acrobatics, including potentially dangerous moves. More difficult hand balancing like one arm stuff will soon makes its appearance in there.

And eventually the entire two or three minute rounds will likely be choreographed and planned out ahead of time flowing seamlessly from one move to the next.

There’s a good chance I’ll be at the LA Fit Expo on February 7th and 8th, 2015, watching this competition next year. If you’ll be there too let me know.

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