Hanging with Dallasthenics

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Calisthenics is a fitness methodology that focuses on conditioning and strength training through the use of a person’s own body weight with minimal to no exercise equipment. If you have ever done a sit up, lunge, jumping jacks, or push up then you have done calisthenics.

In densely populated urban areas, calisthenics took on the name of street workouts due to groups mainly meeting and practicing in urban parks. These street workouts have grown to such immense popularity that large international competitions are being held around the world with some organizations seeking to get official recognition as a legitimate sport.

So how does it work?: The purpose of a formal group and having a set time and place to meet is to give each member motivation, advice, and forming camaraderie. You become a member by the simple fact of showing up and participating on a regular basis. Oh and having a Dallasthenics t-shirt definitely makes you a member.

Meet ups: During the meet ups, team leader and organizer, Luis Castro, usually sets a circuit where members take turns doing various exercises like pull ups, dips, pushups, etc. However, there may be some members that want to focus on areas they want to progress, so they may not follow along with the workout of the day. it’s all part of the informal nature of the group. Most members have learned different movements and exercises on their own through reading books, videos, or other types of fitness backgrounds. People who are new are asked to follow along and begin with much easier progressions if a certain movement is too difficult for them to perform. The meet ups start between 9am and 10am on Sunday mornings, but it’s come and go as you please. To find out when and where the next workout will take place, follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

Difficulty: It’s open to all fitness levels and can be as difficult as you want it to be. Don’t be intimidated by the experience level of some of the more seasoned members. Calisthenics is something anyone can do and that includes women, men, elderly, and even little children. For example,  this past Sunday, a little girl showed up all the members by being able to do a one armed pull up!! If you search online, you can find videos of people with various disabilities actively participating in calisthenics.

Loved: Calisthenics for the most part is something you can do on your own, but being in this group definitely helps keep you motivated and can help you get past those tricky movements. I personally have been able to progress greatly in different movements because of the help and motivation I have received from the other members of Dallasthenics. Plus, I can’t complain with White Rock Lake as a back drop .

Feedback: This is an outdoor workout so air conditioning and regular bathrooms aren’t immediately accessible. You’ll have to make use of port-a-potties. The hot Texas summers can be brutal even in the shade. Luckily, this park is very well shaded. Since White Rock Lake is a public park, you are sharing the space with other people not participating in the workout. Sadly, the City of Dallas has invested in a large number of parks and trails, but rarely in equipment that can be used for calisthenics. Although calisthenics doesn’t require much equipment, even something as simple as a pull up bar is hard to come by, let alone parallel bars or monkey bars that are tall enough for the average adult.

Although calisthenics is for everyone, it seems most women view it as a guy thing. There are a few female members who enjoy the workout. I can’t stress enough how this is not something that is only for men and if you think about it, yoga and Pilates and the like is a form of calisthenics.

FYI/Costs/Parking: Dallasthenics mostly meets at White Rock Lake, (Google Maps Link) but various members meet with others at different locations across DFW on their own time. Again, it’s free unless you want to buy a t shirt. You’ll want to bring your own water as there isn’t a water fountain close by although members often bring bottles for everyone. Some members choose to wear workout gloves to keep calluses to a minimum, but aren’t necessary. Parking at the lake on Sundays is plentiful.

The Takeaway: It’s a fun community to be a part of that’s challenging and motivating. To learn more about Dallathentics or see photos and videos from the workout, you can follow them on Instagram or Facebook.

Fernando Ortiz is a contributing writer for Deep Fried Fit and is an engineer who loves food and physical fitness. His favorite cuisine is Thai and enjoys craft beers. He also loves going on foodie adventures with his wife and checking out new restaurants. In his spare time, you can find Fernando mountain biking, trail running, barbell strength training, kettlebell training, and bodyweight calisthenics. He is also an avid participant of obstacle course racing such as Tough Mudder and the Spartan Race series.

Fernando Ortiz