All Calisthenics Styles Explained: From Old School to Freestyle!

There are several different calisthenics styles and methods, and knowing different training methods allows you to choose the ones you find most enjoyable and rewarding to do. You may enjoy the structure and discipline of traditional strength-based calisthenics, or prefer the creativity and expression of freestyle or street workout. Finding your own style ensures that you can find a way to engage in calisthenics, making it a worthwhile pursuit. Keep reading to learn about all the different styles, and become a calisthenics nerd!

1. Old school calisthenics

Old school calisthenics refers to a style of bodyweight training that harks back to the early days of calisthenics, It is a minimalist approach, focusing on basic, foundational exercises that target multiple muscle groups simultaneously. This style often includes classic movements such as push-ups, pull-ups, dips, squats, and lunges, performed with strict form and high repetitions. The primary method of progression is adding volume, which is very challenging. Therefore old school calisthenics is perfect for masochists and people who watch too much David Goggins😉. You can read more about old school calisthenics if you are interested in this guide.

2. Weighted calisthenics

Weighted calisthenics is for people who have the basics down and don’t want to spend an hour doing sissy squats every day. By adding external resistance, such as weight plates, vests, or belts, to traditional bodyweight exercises, you can increase the challenge and intensity of the exercises without needing to do endless amounts of reps. Furthermore, weighted calisthenics promotes strength development and can help to learn advanced calisthenics strength skills.

3. Static skills

Static skills in calisthenics represent the ultimate display of strength and control. Achieving a perfect front lever or planche in the park is sure to capture attention and admiration. But static skills aren’t just about looking cool—they’re the product of consistent dedication, progression, and attention to detail. Mastering static skills takes time, often months or even years of focused practice and unwavering commitment. They provide goals to work towards and small wins on the way (read more about how to train for static skills in here).

4. Freestyle calisthenics

Freestyle calisthenics adds an extra dimension of challenge and creativity to bodyweight training. Freestyle calisthenics is not so much about strength, but more about being creative and learning new movements. Utilizing bars as dynamic elements in routines, incorporating spins, flips, and intricate transitions between movements. It’s a form of self-expression where you can express your own unique style and personality and a great discipline in addition to your strength work.

5. Street workout

Street workout is a popular way of training (especially in Europe and Russia) that combines freestyle calisthenics with static skills in combinations and routines. It’s like a sport all on its own, with its own rules and ways of judging performances. There are several big competitions and world cups, and they even have their own federation called World Street Workout and Calisthenics Federation.

6. Street lifting

Streetlifting is a fitness discipline that combines elements of calisthenics and powerlifting. There are two different disciplines in streetlifting:

1. Streetlifting Classic: Athletes perform weighted pull-ups and dips in alternating rounds, aiming for the highest number of repetitions.

2. Streetlifting Multilift: Athletes compete in three attempts at maximal weight for pull-ups and dips.

The International Streetlifting Federation (ISF) organizes streetlifting competitions globally. Streetlifting focuses on two primary movements weighted Pull-Ups and weighted Dips. Some competitions may also include muscle-ups and barbell back squats.

7. Movement training (movement culture)

Movement training, as popularized by Ido Portal, is a comprehensive approach to physical movement and self-expression that emphasizes developing a broad range of movement skills, capabilities, and qualities. Movement training incorporates elements of many different disciplines, such as dance, yoga, gymnastics, martial arts, and more.
The foundation of movement training is the idea that it’s a journey of is a lifelong journey of continuous learning and growth.

8. The Hybrid Athlete: Calisthenics & Weights

The hybrid athlete combines calisthenics and weight training, and enjoys the best of both worlds. The hybrid athlete utilize calisthenics to build brutal upper body strength and weights to build big and strong legs. They might also use weight for isolation exercises to work overlooked muscles and work on injury prone muscle groups. Hybrid calisthenics is all about maximizing the efficiency of your training by not shying away from all the tools in your arsenal. Read more about combining calisthenics and weightlifting in this post!

9. The Yogi: Handbalacing & Flexibility

The yogi sees training as a spiritual practice. Physically, they’re toned and strong, with muscles that show their dedication to their practice. But it’s not just about looking good. They’re deeply focused on being connected to their spiritual side too, incorporating meditation and other spiritual practices into their routine. It’s a balanced lifestyle that’s all about strength, flexibility, and inner peace.

Did I forget any styles? please leave your thoughts in the comments!

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