Street workout is the new wave in fitness training

If you google the phrase “street workout” you will get more than 117 million hits. Street workout is a type of physical activity that has rapidly become a popular pastime of choice and is gaining new fans around the world.

Despite its urban name, the exercise that uses the body’s own weight as resistance has been known since antiquity, but it reached Finland only a few years ago. Other exercises closely associated with street workout include calisthenics, a word that comes from the ancient Greek kállos, which means beauty, and sthénos, which means strength. The sport combines aesthetic movement, control and strength.

It is difficult to pinpoint the origins of the exercise, but its current form as an urban practice developed with the rise of the social media, mainly in the US and Eastern Europe.

Street workout has become the modern name for bodyweight exercises performed outdoors. It has its own unique elements – it is improvised, creative, community-based and promotes a healthy lifestyle – so undoubtedly it can be classified as an autonomous sport in its own right.

Street workout has become the modern name for bodyweight exercises performed outdoors. It has its own unique elements – it is improvised, creative, community-based and promotes a healthy lifestyle – so undoubtedly it can be classified as an autonomous sport in its own right.

Street workout appeals to people from very different starting points. It makes a great additional form of fitness training to support other sports. Its versatility also helps achieve physical skills that are not specific to any single sport, which is one of the target in school PE classes. The universal nature of the sport also makes it gender and equally accessible to boys and girls alike. Some specialise in the more acrobatic side of sport requiring high motor skills, while other stick to the basic movements and work on their muscle strength.

The sport is inexpensive: all you need is a pair of trainers, a T-shirt and track bottoms. Street workout develops strength, mobility, balance and coordination and overall physical fitness. In principle, any playground serves as a suitable venue for street workout, but equipment that has been designed in collaboration with the street workout enthusiasts makes training more rewarding.

Combining the individual and the social

Typical street workout movements are pull-ups, push-ups, squats and dips. The sport also borrows some of the acrobatic movements in gymnastics, such as handstand, planche and muscle-up.

“Creativity and improvisation are an essential part of street workout and there are hundreds of variations of each movement. At a gym, you increase the resistance simply by adding weights, while is street out you progress through more demanding movements. Pull-ups can be done with elastics to reduce the resistance and to make the pull-up more easy to perform. But if you need more challenge in pull-ups, you can widen your grip or only use one hand,” says Konsta Koivuranta, who chairs the Finnish Street Workout Association.

The social aspect is also part of street workout culture. Photos and videos are shared in the social media and the most popular street workout videos inspire and motivate millions of viewers to train, as shown by the number of Google hits.

It is difficult to estimate the number of active street workout enthusiasts in Finland, but according to Koivuranta, there are probably a few thousand serious street workout athletes in the country and the sport is gaining in popularity by the day.

 

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Irma Kuukasjärvi
Irma Kuukasjärvi
Group Communications Manager
Lappset Group Ltd
www.lappset.com
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