Seen all those super lean people jumping from bar to bar down at Skydive Dubai, you know…the ones that look like they’re doing gymnastics but it looks cooler and most of them are wearing caps? Welcome to the world of calisthenics…one of the biggest fitness trends in the world right now.
Forget Crossfit, leave behind those Zumba classes and put away your dumbbells…we think it might be time to join the street workout generation. Need convincing? You’re in luck, Dubai’s Calisthenics World Cup Stage is just around the corner and some of the world’s best street workout athletes will be on UAE soil to compete for a chance to perform at the World Cup final in Beijing…so, it’s the perfect place to find out more.
UK Champion, and all round legend, Stephen Hughes-Landers is the man organising this year’s event. He performed at and judged last year’s event in Dubai, and liked it so much he decided to move here. Here he is in action at last year’s event…
Stephen took up freestyle calisthenics and street workout in 2013. He went on to take the coveted crown of UK Calisthenics National Champion the following year, and then represented Great Britain at the Street Workout World Championship, Workout Style World Championships and Street Workout World Cup in New York, where he finished second. He now regularly performs, competes, instructs and judges on the worldwide circuit.
Stephen is widely regarded as one of the most exciting and entertaining athletes in his field, gaining one of only 50 sought-after places on the official BarStarzz crew (considered the gurus of street workout). He’s helped to build the freestyle calisthenics community in the UK, and now the UAE – by bringing calisthenics workshops and instructor training to Dubai.
Stephen’s breathtaking moves on the bars combined with his larger than life personality has gained him celebrity status amongst the calisthenics community all over the world, we caught up with him, so he could tell us what all the fuss is about…
How would you describe calisthenics to someone who’s never done it? ‘Street workout’, body weight exercise using little or no equipment.
How did you first hear about it? I saw a video of Ed Checo and Hannibal for King and I was hooked. I gave up my world a few days later to learn what I love.
You very quickly became UK champion…what’s the secret? Hard work. Not just physically. A caged animal can only grow so much. I travelled to as many teams, countries and comps to learn from as many as I could.
What’s the calisthenics/ street workout scene like in Dubai? Dubai and the UAE in general is growing. Fast. One of the worlds best dynamic athletes (Abdulla al Qassimi) regularly trains at Skydive Dubai, along with a forever growing community from all over the world…and of course, me
How does it differ from the UK? The U.K. scene is a lot older so more people are doing it. The weather and lack of equipment mainly keeps the UK scene indoors.
Tell us about the World Cup event in Dubai. What can people expect? The Kenguru street workout World Cup stage of Dubai will see 16 athletes from around the world compete over the weekend for a place in the WSWCF (www.wswcf.org) SUPER FINALS in Beijing. Imagine gymnastic strength, breakdance style and high octane adrenaline, all on basic outdoor workout equipment.
You follow a plant-based/vegan lifestyle…what made you do that? It was an experiment at first. Humans are incredible and I wanted to see how this made me change. After two weeks, I felt more energy than when I was a teen. It soon became about health, then animals. Now it’s about sustainability for the future.
How can people contact you about the event or personal training? Direct message me on any social media platform @SHL145 or email him direct: email@example.com
The WSWCF Dubai World Cup stage is being held as part of the Dubai Muscle Show 2016 at the Dubai International Marine Club on 21-22 October. Book tickets here.