The Best Places for Bodyweight Training

Hi! I am the author and founder of Old School Calisthenic

July 13, 2016

I have a throwback from the beginning of my outdoor bodyweight training, where I remember that I had no money to pay for a gym membership, so that’s how I ended up doing calisthenics throughout the city.

I didn’t know back then that I was going to fall in love with this sport, nevertheless, to promote its benefits at such a scale that I do today through Old School Calisthenic. Well, I am glad that it happened this way.

Today’s article is about the advantages this beautiful sport can bring in your life. I also want to offer you insights about the best places for outdoor calisthenics.

One of the main advantage calisthenics brings is that you can always train everywhere around you. You can use the environment as your own gym as long as you get creative enough and have the experience to know what you’re doing and for what you are training for. But, working outside as a novice can bring out a certain level of discomfort as I remember when I first started just how uncomfortable I felt working out in front of other people.

I didn’t want to make myself look stupid if I failed to do something cool. I was afraid of making myself a laughing stock. Slowly I realized that people didn’t stare at me because of that. They were just curious about my workouts because calisthenics is not standard in my country, although I didn’t do any flashy feats.

If that is your case too, then you should not concern yourself with other’s opinions though. Focus on what you are doing instead of thinking what others might be thinking about you. As a matter of fact, calisthenics is best performed in unconventional places, where people are present. Just think of them as spectators who are there to cheer you. You will find that you begin to perform better when others are looking at you. Use this as motivation to boost a couple of more repetitions as a stepping stone, and your fears will vanish in thin air before long.

Calisthenics is, by definition, bodyweight training. This means that your own body becomes your gym, hence you don’t have to seek beautiful places where to train, because absolutely everything that surrounds can be used as a tool to train efficiently. Watch my videos below and observe the conditions where I did my workout. It was an abandoned building where nobody passes ever, full of rusty metal and surrounded by darkness and coldness. Did that stop me from finishing my routine? Of course not.

The best tips I could ever give you:

  1. Always seek the full side of the glass. Don’t rush into judging the place as being wrong because of X reasons. Instead, try to focus and see how many opportunities that place might bring. I personally saw the stairs as a great tool to train my legs.
  2. Never mind about the weather conditions. It was icy, but I didn’t care at all, because I had a purpose.

Advantages Calisthenics Brings

  • It requires almost no equipment
  • You don’t need an exclusive playground
  • The only equipment you might need is a pull-up bar and maybe a pair of fixed parallel bars
  • It can be done at the gym
  • It is never closed as doing a workout usually requires a few feets of empty floor. You have that at home
  • It is almost entirely free
  • It makes you mentally tougher.

Negative Aspects of Calisthenics

  • It might be rainy when performed outside
  • You will have to endure climate conditions. During winter it will be freezing, and during summer you will be burned by sun and heat
  • When training in cold weather is harder to get a proper warm-up
  • The body is not that elastic and flexible during winters as it is during summers
  • You will have to be well dressed, in layers, if you catch a rainy or cold day
  • Sometimes you will have to get used to training in darkness.

I personally never cared about the negative aspects that much. I did endure a lot of freezes and even trained in storms. But I somehow enjoyed it because I knew that very few people are mentally strong enough to endure this kind of weather conditions.

It Requires Almost NO Equipment!

In calisthenics, we mostly perform pushups, pull-ups, handstands, dips, squats, sprints, jumps. To perform all these exercises, you don’t need much equipment. Many of them can be done at home.

All you need is just an empty floor space, and if you don’t have some, then my friend, you have some more significant problems to take care of instead of thinking about getting a great body. Pushups, squats, burpees, sprints, jumps can be done anywhere on a firm flat surface. For other exercises, you will need some equipment which is readily available all around us.

You will need an overhead bar to do pullups, leg raises, dips. If you can’t find a bar, then a tree branch, an empty doorway, rafters in the roof, or even a rope stretched around two poles will be a good substitute. And if you look carefully, then you might find hundreds of such places scattered all around your neighborhood where you can do your pull-ups.

For handstand, a plain solid wall will work just fine. You will need some parallel bars for doing dips. If you can’t find parallel bars, then a couple of sturdy chairs, wooden crates, etc. will fit the bill.

Maybe you live in a place where the city provides some lovely parks with a necessary street fitness infrastructure. Then, my friend, I think you got lucky. Go and train there!

For several years I trained in harsh conditions and weirdest places possible. I never complained because I wanted to get results so bad that it didn’t matter how and where I did it. Now I live at a home that has a yard. I built my own calisthenics gym there:

I built my own calisthenics park at home

Calisthenics can also be done at any gym. Find the place that inspires you the most and train there.

Weather Conditions

I was often put in the situation of dealing with the weather. I got a waterproof jacket to defend myself from storms. For winters, I am prepared with gloves and some layers that I gradually remove as I get more warmed-up from working out.

The best advantage that the freezing period brings is that it will toughen you physically and mentally. I became more endurable to ill and cold. But I also became more ignorant regarding temperatures.

During my first year of training outside, it was pretty challenging, because I had a very self-pity attitude. I felt sorry for myself because I was put in a situation where I had to endure extreme temperatures. I thought that I couldn’t boost an excellent workout because of that.

To be honest with you, that comes from maturity as nowadays I train at -10 C and never even think it is terrible. I now really enjoy it a lot! In a single year, you will only get two pleasant seasons for outdoor training. Spring and Autumn. But please, do not stop practice when the weather gets rough. Continue training outside and if that is really impossible, then go and buy a gym membership.

Calisthenics is not just about physical training. It’s also about mental toughness. You need to develop the never say die attitude. Is it cold outside? Then wear some extra layers and kill your workout. Is it too hot outside? Train early in the morning and late in the evening. Excuses will always be there. You need to rise above the obstacles if you need to achieve something great.

If your goal is mastery of calisthenics, then nothing can stop you. The beauty of calisthenics lies in the fact that it’s practically impossible to find a place where you can’t train! Be it your house, your office, your park, your street, your gym, your backyard, be it anywhere, you will always find something to hang from, something to jump upon, something to climb on, the only thing limiting you is your imagination.

Therefore, you can observe that it is nothing fancy about the places I choose to train on. I don’t even wear any expensive clothes. Everything that fits and makes you feel comfortable enough will do, as long they allow you to be flexible.

Calisthenics can be done entirely for free if wanted. Though, if you afford it, then you can buy some very cheap equipment to help you train better, like:

  • A jumping rope. It usually cost 5-10$
  • Elastic rubber bands. One-piece will cost around 10$ and can be used to increase the difficulty of specific exercises to decrease difficulty if you are a beginner. They are also suitable for stretching
  • Suspended training stripes. I both a pair with less than 20$. I use it to work my core, biceps, shoulders, pecs and even for stretching
  • Gymnastic rings. They cost around 20-30$, and it can be a suitable replacement for a pull-up bar as well as parallel bars. Pull-ups and dips can be done quickly on rings
  • Paralletes of 30 cm height. I paid around 20$ for them, and I use them for training my incline pushups. They can also allow you a deeper range of motion when doing pushups
  • Training a sponge mattress. It cost 5$, and I use it to do abs workouts on the ground
  • Weighted Vest. I bought a 10 kilos vest to do weighted calisthenics
  • Ab wheel. Price: 10$
  • Gardening gloves. Price: 3$.

This is almost all the gear I own so far, after several years of training with this sport. The rest represents that home gym I built, which cost roughly 250-300$ and some weights that I got for free from a good friend.

So, let it be sun, cold or rainy, you will find me training outside with a smile on my face. Why? I really like, and I think that one of the reasons why I am successful is because I don’t mind when things go wrong.

I don’t mind when it rains as I don’t mind when outside is a temperature of +30 C.

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