The beauty of calisthenics or bodyweight training is that it can be done from anywhere, even while waiting for the MRT if you so wish. In this two-part series, we explore if it’s worth heading to the gym for your calisthenics sessions based on several factors like costs, equipment, variety of workouts, environment, guidance and community.
Image from: Stacked
Looking at costs alone, the thrifty athlete would find numerous free workout corners in Singapore that would suffice for basic calisthenics like planks, pushups and pull-ups. Popular spots downtown include Tanjong Pagar’s Fitness Corner at 17 Yan Kit Rd and Duxton Fitness Corner in Duxton Plain Park. Westies would love the free fitness area at Bukit Batok Sky Peak Fitness Corner and easties can enjoy the multifunctional outdoor fitness zone in the western part of East Coast Park.
For those who want the comfort and showers of a paid membership, it can be as cheap as 2.50 SGD per entry for ActiveSG gyms to 200 SGD per month for Virgin Active. You could even splurge on Gravity Club (a luxury extension of Fitness First) from 370 SGD a month for a super central CBD location, complete with an infinity pool to boot.
If you like to gym hop before deciding on which gym to sign up for, Classpass is also a great way to explore over 300 gym options in Singapore.
Verdict: No, it’s better to do home-based calisthenics workouts or use free outdoor fitness areas if saving money is a priority
Image source: A2 Parkour Gym on Classpass
To access certain calisthenics movement like skin the cat or your first handstand, it’ll be helpful to have gymnastic rings or pushup stands. You can technically buy them for your room, but not everyone has the space or flexibility to install a home gym, especially if you are renting just a room.
Most big gyms like Fitness First, Pure Fitness and Virgin Active have an area with padding (another aspect that might be complicated to set up at home) that will allow you to practice your muscle-ups, ring flies or front levers in a safe space that might even (and often) have full-length mirrors to check your form. For added convenience, these gyms even provide gym wear, refreshments, showers and beautiful co-working corners where you can remote work from.
For freestyle dynamic movements like the Alley Oop or The Gienger, it might help to head to a free outdoor fitness space or dedicated parkour gyms like A2 Parkour Gym or even gymnastic centers like GymKraft, where you have more space to play with, and setups for complex calisthenics movements or gymnastic routines.
Verdict: Mostly yes, unless you are focusing on freestyle dynamic movements, which then can be done both indoors and outdoors
Variety of Workouts
Image source: Aspria Magazine
More than three-quarters of calisthenics exercises can be performed at home or at outdoor fitness areas. Oftentimes you just need some floor space to do basic squats, push-ups and side planks. Vertical pulls, rows or pull-ups can be done in many fitness areas of parks like Bishan Park, East Coast Park and most housing estates have a pull-up bar within walking distance. Rings and parallel bars are more tricky to get access to, but if you’ve invested in your own, you can simply bring them downstairs and fix them on any pull-up bar if you don’t have anywhere to hang them at home.
Advanced poses like muscle-ups and back levers can also be achieved without the need of a gym membership – as seen by how human flags are done even on lampposts. For beginners to intermediate practitioners, it helps to have a resistance band (you can get one for less than 10 SGD on Decathlon) to take a bit of weight off if you are working towards your first back lever or pull-up.
Many athletes incorporate weights into their calisthenics workouts as well, adding a dip-weight belt for dips or pull-ups, or adding on a plate to increase the difficulty of hip raises. In this scenario, the gym comes in useful as most of us don’t have the space to store an entire weights rack and different kinds of weight.
Verdict: No for pure calisthenics, but if weights training is part of your routine, it’s helpful to have access to a gym
At every stage of your calisthenics journey, it’s helpful to have the guidance of an instructor to correct your postures, teach you how to use assistance bands and provide a customized plan. At The District Training, we provide both online and in-person personal training that is progression-based to help you achieve your fitness and wellness goals. Book your first trial class here.