Freestyle calisthenics championship leaps into Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. – There’s a competition in town that not many of us have heard about but, in the past couple of years, it’s gotten trendier, just like CrossFit or Ninja Warrior types of sports.

For the first time, Orlando is hosting this unique workout competition.

“They’re gonna be flying through the air, back flips, 180s, 360s. They’re gonna be holding these really difficult body weight positions — basically, people doing body weight movements in a freestyle way,” Alex Leviton said.

You’ve probably heard of calisthenics. The term comes from a Greek word that Leviton said means “strength and beauty.” But chances are, you’ve probably never seen it like this.

“I think there’s something strong and beautiful about, you know, people using their bodies to do these really great things,” Leviton said. “This is basically the new wave of fitness and we’re just basically going back to play.”

Central Florida is getting an up-close and personal look into this form of workout for the first time.

“Orlando is actually missing these types of parks,” Leviton said. “So, you could go to Gainesville, you could go to Miami you can go to Jacksonville, you can go to a lot of other cities — Tampa included — that aren’t quite as big as Orlando in scope. Some of these cities have parks that are much more encompassing than what we have in Orlando. This is a great place for us to show the city that there is a sport emerging.”

Competitors will meet face-to-face and be judged in strength, creativity and overall performance.

From static holds to forward pulls and front dips, calisthenics works more than just the body.

“It’s a lot more mental than it is physical,” Cory Serrata, a competitor from Gainesville, said. “Statics, they can be a little more physical but if you don’t think you can do it, you’re not going to.”

Serrata is one of 20 competitors. He got into freestyle calisthenics two years ago after seeing videos online.

“The things I can do now — I don’t even know if I could call it difficult because I wasn’t anywhere close — but the things I was doing just pullups, dips — they’re some of the hardest things I’d ever done,” Serrata said about his progress.

Gabriele “Gabo” Saturno, a former judge and competitor, said the sport gives competitors more than just a workout.

“It’s amazing to see how calisthenics can take you so far. Like people get scared to start in the calisthenics journey just because they see a very hard move, but they’re always progressing through that,” Saturno said.

It’s definitely not a typical workout.

“For example, if you do weights and you only do double curls, you’re only using your biceps but if you do chinups, you’re also working your biceps (and) you’re also working your back, your core.” Saturno said.

The championship will have three winners. One of them will get to compete in the Battle of the Bars next year in California.

The competition starts at noon inside the Orange County Convention Center. Click here for more information.


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