Jasper Roberts - Blog

Saturday, October 24, 2015

2015-10-24 Why Calisthenics ?

There's constant debate by some over so-called "body-weight" training versus training with barbells and dumbbells, etc. Most agree that when it comes to physical fitness, there is value in both and there is value in a balance of strength and endurance (not the same thing).

My approach has admittedly been more myopic in recent history simply because I am dead set on some goals, and these goals are sought a midst incessant obstacles (children, work, commute, etc.) But aside from that there is a fundamental view of the world I have which is emblematic in this approach.

Moving objects outside oneself is reality- we move chairs and lift couches and the like. However when it comes to improving oneself there is a foundation difference in comparing yourself to others versus comparing yourself now to what you become in the future. Obviously if you bench press a certain amount and then years later bench press a larger amount you can say you've improved upon yourself without comparison to others. That's true, however whats closer to the concept in spirit and in essence is when there is no outside element at all- only gravity and a place to put your hands or feet. There's something raw, internal, and untainted about that.

When you press into a handstand or glide up into a straddle planche, or pull yourself with one arm from a bar you are alone in the world. There is no comparison whatsoever because nobody has your body and mind. Nobody is lifting you with your unique make-up. calisthenics remind us of this with every attempt at a difficult skill of balance and strength. When I look at the picture above I don't see a number or a rep or a slot or a rank...I see a human being who has achieved an elite and intimate level of adaptation and control of their entire body and spirit to achieve a physical movement which looks magical. And that's incredibly alluring, to me at least. There are probably literally millions of people who can deadlift more than me or back squat more than me and they always will forever, but I am the only one who can truly be better than me. The me that results from an intense level of consistency ad attention to progress....to do magical things.

There is always tomorrow until there isn't a tomorrow. And in that case it doesn't mater.

By the way, even though the picture above is NOT me, the picture below IS me:

A solid front lever, I was actually surprised at the good form. I only held this puppy for about two seconds, but its coming along. I've been working this hardly at all- I believe it's a side effect of my other training. That said I couldn't come close to this last year let alone two years ago.