You may have seem them walking through the streets or parks using public structures as equipment for training. You might have been walking through the subway and seen one of their videos at that sketchy shop that sells everything from candy to underwear. Or you probably saw their crazy videos on YouTube and told yourself you would never be able to do what they were doing.
The Barstarzz is an international team of individuals that use creative calisthenics in order to stay in shape mastering their own body weight while building a natural looking but ripped aesthetic. I remember watching my first “ghetto workout” years and years ago when YouTube first started. It might have even been before that when I saw Hannibal for King hanging on monkey bars in the New York City playgrounds with his 8-pack and bulging muscles for minutes at a time. But he wasn’t just hanging there… he was doing pull ups, chin ups, muscle ups, dips, push ups, levers and every other body weight exercise under the sun. It was inspiring.
Eventually when I started going to the school in the Bronx, I found myself at the same parks in the bad parts of town, playing basketball, sprinting around the track and hitting up the monkey bars or any other piece of round metal that I could. It was tough being 6′ tall because many of the bars were much shorter in those playgrounds but I had to get creative and learn to contort my body. When I started at about 155-160 pounds it was easy to hold myself up with the strength I developed from sports but at that point I had never lifted weights enough to make an impact.
About three years later of serious training in the pool and the weight room for D1 swimming, I was the same height but packed on 65-70 pounds, topping out at 225 pounds. Even though my body fat percentage never increased (I entered school at about 9% and when I hit 225 I was actually about 6%, but usually in the 8-12% range during the regular season) it became so hard to manipulate and control all that weight on those bars with my long arms. Nevertheless, I always kept body weight exercises in my workouts. (That mostly included a lot of core work, swimming obviously, pull ups, dips, and push ups.) It was hard to focus on a single type of workout as I trained how I wanted but also how I needed to as well.
Now that’s not an issue and I have been watching more videos of the Barstarzz online. The movement has grown to an international level and guys that weren’t known years ago are know representatives of the group. I am subscribed to the group on YouTube and follow some of them on Instagram. As the movement has grown and more people are participating, their workouts and exercises have become more creative and inspiring.
And THAT is the reason why this article is being written! Not because I want to share my background of controlling my own body weight on a small scale, more so because I want to share the Barstarzz and what they do with anyone who is not familiar with them. I want to share it with you all because they are inspiring. They inspire individuals that can’t afford to pay for memberships to gyms and supplements. They inspire people who walk by them on the street. They can inspire everyone. There are Barstarzz followers out there that are sentenced to a life in a wheelchair, but the idea of creative calisthenics allows most of the population the opportunity to exercise, stay in shape, create a great aesthetic, and do all of that in a way that fits their needs and lifestyle. If you check out their YouTube page, you will see some great stories about who they have helped.
The greatest aspect of the Barstarzz is the support within their community. A lot of bodybuilders love to put other people down to make themselves feel better, powerlifters in different weight classes sometimes look down on the smaller and weaker guy, athletes come in all levels from amateur to professionals, but the Barstarzz truly want to see every first timer with a great attitude learn to muscle up and human flag one day. They travel the globe and United States running clinics to help get everyone started. And they actually stress technique in order to prevent injury and properly perform the movements. Crossfit is a great form of exercise but there are so many “bad coaches” (there are for everything, but Crossfit can be very dangerous) out there that the risk of injury is high. From my experience, I find the Barstarzz to be different, but they are just the face of this movement. People have been working out creatively using nothing but their own bodies and some tree branches or bars for hundreds, thousands and tens of thousands of years.
So look up these masters of creative calisthenics, get some ideas and SAFELY stop by a local park with some good bars in order to see where you hang. Make sure to bring a friend for safety reasons and also because it’s always more fun with someone else! Hungry and Fit approves of the Barstarzz and their workouts as a great way to stay… hungry and fit!
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