Sunday 3rd February saw the meeting of the finest bar calisthenics talent in the UK, hosted by Anton Guidera at The Compound in Kettering. All the teams from the UK were represented – the Bar-barians were out in full force, Street Strength lived up to their name, the Bartendaz tended, Barzerkaz were just berserk, Block Workout… OK, I’ll stop now – I’m sure you get the idea.
The day started (at least for those of us who were a bit late after a small incident involving a minibus and some dysfunction) with some time for freestyle outside in the courtyard. Anton and his friends had built the bars themselves – a set of high bars and parallel bars, as well as a rig attached to the building and a recently-added climbing rope in the corner. A few sets of gymnastics rings gave enough toys to entertain everyone for a couple of hours. Needless to say the standards were seriously high, with everyone showing off their best moves. I’m still injured so resisted most of the temptation to kill myself, although got a set on the high bar in and what I thought was a sneaky set on the p-bars when no one was looking, but it transpired that two people videoed me – I will have to work on my ninja skills.
The day was also finally my chance to meet Ben Wachenje, whose inspirational video of his journey into calisthenics I posted here last year. I was so struck by his awesome attitude that I added him on Facebook and it was great to finally get the chance to meet, even though there were so many people we barely spoke! He made an really well edited video of the day:
Whilst the freestyle was going on, Anton and his trusty helpers made a BBQ fit for cali kings and queens, with chicken wings and ribs proving to be the quickest way to our hearts. After eating significantly more than was necessary, the competition commenced. At this point I was secretly quite pleased I could use the excuse of tendonitis to not have to do the weighted dips and pull-ups! It was won by Sai who did 21 weighted dips at 40kg, and Miguel and Amir, who both got 16 reps at 20kg weighted pull-ups. Given that my one rep max for pull-ups isn’t much over 20kg, those are some seriously impressive numbers.
Next up was Bar Club, which was the same deal as usual – teams competing to win a selection of challenges like max muscle-ups, max pull-ups and so on. Unsurprisingly, this was won by Sai’s team, who also included Kay from Street Strength, Kawyan and Shiraz.
Throughout all of this I managed to get a chance to catch up with Zoe and Nat, who I’d not seen since the last seminars, and meet Sam, Nat’s boyfriend with whom I’d been conversing on Facebook for a while. He’s a Sports Therapist and is the one who gave me the resistenace band rehab exercises that I’ve been doing for the past few weeks, and has been full of useful advice since.
Apart from it being a bit cold, we really couldn’t have asked for a better day – awesome people, lots of inspiration, food and training. Simple pleasures :)
Thanks to Ify @ GetFizzycal for the photos!