How to Design a Landscape for Extreme Workouts : Part 1 Calisthenics

Extreme workouts

Welcome to the first installment in our three-part series on “How to Design a Landscape for Extreme Workouts.” As the title suggests, these articles are going to explore how extreme and challenging workouts that produce extreme results can be accommodated in a landscape design. We start off with the first training: calisthenics. We all know that daily exercise is a vital thing to keep our bodies strong and healthy and boost our moods. However, calisthenics is on a whole other level of exercise! So how exactly can we as landscape architects accommodate this type of user? You had better tie your Nikes and listen up, because this is going to be a tough ride! What is Calisthenics? Calisthenics is a Greek word meaning beauty and strength. The beauty of the workout routines for calisthenics is simplicity. This is because no gym membership or equipment is required — just the body. Those who take part in this exercise usually want to strengthen and build muscle definition and flexibility. The exercises use the body’s natural resistance for toning and strengthening. Sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, squats, jumping jacks, and leg lifts are examples of calisthenics. There are hundreds of variations of the core exercises; if you search “calisthenics” on YouTube, you will see exactly what I mean. Below: An epic video from Bar Brothers   How can we design for Calisthenics? Freestyle It seems as though calisthenics is all about free-styling. The addicts of this form of exercise feel excited by the challenge of being able to use the strength of their bodies to perform any kind of bending, jumping, swinging, twisting, or kicking in normal, everyday surroundings. The best trained can be seen working out on anything that catches their attention – a set of steps, rocks, ropes, metal poles (think street signs), plain pavement, and, would you believe, even horizontally on walls! So it is important to keep in mind that what is incorporated within the landscape must have a vibe of continuity and strength (for resistance). Think of big children wanting to play in a grown-up playground! Structure

Embrace the elements and your body; credit

Embrace the elements and your body; credit

That being said, structure is something that can be highly appealing to such users. You can see these men and women using metal bars for pull-ups and large bricks for push-ups, but most are just stand-alone objects that can seem out of place in a designed landscape. Why not create areas that visually have structure? This could be made up of structures of geometrical shapes, be it metal or wood or any other material of strength that looks interesting and allows for workout interactions. Below: Calisthenics workout in Latvia part one   Playing with landform/ height One of the most inspiring images that had me in awe was of a man standing on an enormously tall and narrow wooden pole doing a handstand with one hand. Besides horizontal elements, height can play a huge role in accommodating many exercise variations. Despite having huge structures, playing around with landform changes can be a simple and creative way to do this. Imagine a landscape with varied heights; this could create interesting opportunities for varied body movements. Mixing hard and soft material pallet A successful landscape design intertwines hard and soft materials, and I know with landscape architects, we are lucky to have many materials to work with. Maybe it is important to consider what qualities of hard materials can be found in soft materials, for example in plants? Maybe it is the case of using plantings among the structures. Even water could come into the picture to create a beautiful and challenging setting. Being able to diversify and cleverly use the material pallet could be an option. Let’s make it worth the show! We have seen many types of artists draw in public, dancers performing day and night, and musicians livening up the streets of a busy city. What about for those doing calisthenics? Seeing these men and women doing their stuff and knowing their stuff in pictures and videos is surreal; the impact could only be heightened if we can see it with our very own eyes! Landscapes can be designed to not only accommodate such users who are doing the hard training, but also people who come to see them show off their talent and the results of that hard training. It can be seen as a great source of inspirational performance, and most definitely an exciting one! Why not? Below: Calisthenics urban style   Encouraging the public to exercise outdoors is one of the great ways to have a positive influence as designers. If we step it up a notch and use our material pallet creatively for purposes such as calisthenics, we may even get creative uses in return. As landscape architects, it never hurts to keep a look out for possible users of our landscapes. Of course, these are just some of the ways to think creatively. Stay tuned for the second part of our series, where we will explore designing for free running. Check out one of the world’s most detailed guides to calisthenics for beginners and get fit and in shape today. Article by Win Phyo Featured image:

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