I recently emailed Leeds City Council asking if an outdoor calisthenics gym could be built in Woodhouse Moor Park (Hyde Park) and got a reply saying that a “masterplan” is currently being designed to improve the park, including “plans for an outdoor fitness trail amongst other facilities”.
Apparently, there has been a consultation with users and local residents of Woodhouse the majority of whom stated that they use the park for keeping fit. As a result, the council has finally decided to put some exercise equipment. Sounds exciting but would it live up to our expectations?
I replied with a few suggestions and I really hope the project targets active adults. The council might still be accepting recommendations while drafting the plan, so feel free to email Michelle Glover on firstname.lastname@example.org
Make it clear that Hyde Park needs a proper calisthenics playground like the one in Norma Hutchinson Park (Chapeltown). Tell them that calisthenics practitioners need at least one high pull-up bar and long parallel bars, not a stationary bike or rowing machine with one level of intensity. We love muscle ups and handstands, don’t we?
Mention that the great thing about an outdoor calisthenics gym is that it can be used by people of all ages and abilities, including kids and elderly people. Whereas, equipment for children isn’t versatile at all and too many Leeds parks have it already. Plus, calisthenics equipment is so much simpler than exercise stations for kids and elderly people which are no good for active users unfortunately.
I really hope that the council build a calisthenics playground that is on a par with what other countries around the world have done. I would recommend building an outdoor gym rather than a fitness trail. The former will be more cost-effective and will bring active users together. Think of Bondi Beach outdoor gym in Australia, or Muscle Beach in Venice California (the gymnastics section, not the bodybuilding part with free weights). These places well attended and bring like-minded people.
Woodhouse Moor park deserves a proper outdoor gym because it’s a key place in the centre of Leeds, bustling with young people and professionals looking to train outdoors and practice calisthenics, especially at summer. I also have a feeling that if calisthenics equipment is built in Hyde Park, it will be used by the whole of Leeds, not just local residents. Until the plan comes into action, however, you will will have to do your pull ups at the kids playground unfortunately.