When I first started doing calisthenics back in 2008, I focused primarily on pull ups, push ups and dips. My focus remained the same for the next 5 or so years. I saw calisthenics as a way to build muscle, gain strength and look good. Occasionally, I would muscle up or handstand but my main objective was to constantly increase the maximum number of pull ups, push ups and dips I could do. I wanted to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger and genuinely thought this would give me his physique. My workouts remained pretty much the same for years and didn’t include supersets or weighted calisthenics until 2015. Eventually, I felt like I was getting bored, my performance started to decline and I was nowhere near looking like a human hulk.
Alongside calisthenics, I also took up break dancing and parkour/tumbling. I absolutely loved achieving new flips and cool dance moves. These two activities gave me intense feelings of excitement, gratitude, satisfaction and love, all of which I found empowering and life-changing. Looking back, if street workout was my conditioning and aesthetic bodybuilding, parkour and breaking were my skills and performance training.
While at university (2011-2014), I was a member of a break dancing society with sessions 3 times a week. The sessions were long and tiring but great fun. When the society closed down in 2015, I had no other choice but to focus solely on my calisthenics. This is when I decided to integrate gymnastics into my workouts and my calisthenics became less about aesthetics and conditioning but more about bodyweight skills acquisition. That’s how I rediscovered my passion for calisthenics and embarked on a new journey to bodyweight mastery. Learning new flips is also on my list despite the unfavourable UK weather. I want to experience more of that powerful sense of accomplishment I spoke about earlier.