Ricky – 34 years old – UK

What is

I run the Bodyweight academy for bodyweight skills. I qualify trainers internationally in things like calisthenics and mobility. Also I teach workshops, group classes and pt around the world. 8 Years ago I started with calisthenics and recently I broke the world record in October 2019, for the most L-sit ring muscle ups. Also I did a lot of judging for competitions, mostly in the begining of my calisthenics career. I’ve been training martial arts since I was 7 years old and I also did boxing and yoga. So you could really say I’m kind of an allround athlete.


What makes calisthenics such a great sport

The meaning of calisthenics is ‘Beauty of strength’ in Greek and that’s really what it is. In the beginning I was really obsessed with the human flag, so I tried doing in on a football goal. It was the ugliest flag you had ever seen, but I was actually able to do it. So I posted a picture of in on Facebook, and even the picture was terrible. My own friends didn’t believe it and thought it was photoshopped. Ofcourse that motivated me even more to show them it was real, so I actually made a video of it and showed them. After that I wanted to make my form better and I kept practising a lot. After about 2 years I achieved Olympic level in gymnastic moves.


How accessible is calisthenics


Calisthenics talent in the UK

I think competitively it’s slowing down a bit. Back in the days, you used to have a lot of crews and stuff, but that isn’t really being done anymore. Now they mainly just train for themselves or train with their friends. The don’t really form a group anymore. In the UK there are only a few who are world class talents. I think we do have enough talent, but we need people who want to compete. We’ve tried to regulate the sport, because there’s just no consistency in terms of judging.


Why calisthenics

If you go to the gym and just lift weights and stuff, it becomes a routine. I used to do that aswell, but in that scene you see a lot of body dysmorphia and a lot of people that want to get ripped etc. When you do bodyweight exercises, you focus on what you can actually do with your own body. It’s functional. Being able to achieve something gives you a deep sense of satisfaction. It gives you a stronger connection to your body and you will have more fun with it. Also you can really set goals for yourself and train to achieve that. The hardest thing is sticking to it and have the discipline to achieve those goals. It’s important to take your time and build your foundation.

Calisthenics as an olympic sport

What makes calisthenics special is the fact that there are no limits, so it’s completely freestyle. But if there are no limits and you can do whatever you want, then how can the judge decide who does it better? Because people are constantly pushing their limits and coming up with new moves. How do you measure what’s hard and what isn’t, that’s the big issue here. So I don’t think it can yet be an olympic sport, because it’s way too open and freestyle right now. But it’s definitely hard enough to be considered an Olympic standard.

Guiness World Record of Most Consecutive Muscle UpLondon, United Kingdom2019
Uk National ChampionshipLondon, United Kingdom2014
Uk National Championship London, United Kingdom2015
Battle of the BarzLondon, United Kingdom2015
King of the BarCologne, Germany2016
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