Sparta | SPARTA Battle of the Bars 2015
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SPARTA Battle of the Bars 2015

THE STEADILY gaining popularity of calisthenics was recently given a boost with the staging of the biggest event on it in the country.

One of the competitors at the Battle of the Bars doing a bodyweight exercise — SPARTA/Brosi Gonzales

Held last Sunday at one-stop sports, lifestyle and wellness center SPARTA in Mandaluyong City, the “SPARTA Battle of the Bars Calisthenics Competition” gathered some 300 practitioners from different parts of the country who battled it out in the various rounds of competition with bodyweight exercises.

Calisthenics, which is slowly making waves in Asia, uses bodyweight movements and has benefits which include increasing strength, creativity, balance, power, endurance, and of course, aesthetics.

Leading in bringing the activity to the fore in the country is SPARTA, which opened an academy dedicated to it last month. It hopes that by doing so, more people would see its benefits and be enticed to pick it up.

“Calisthenics as opposed to working out in a traditional gym is better because it is very honest. You can’t cheat a pull-up or a single-legged squat. It is how athletes and warriors have trained for centuries,” said SPARTA Calisthenics Academy’s consultant and designer Ton Vergel de Dios.

Practitioners also highlighted the accessibility of the activity as one of its upsides, saying “You can do it anywhere, you don’t need to spend and get gym membership.”

Winners in last Sunday’s competition were Reo Ray Minasalbas for the Solo Freestyle Round, followed by Dennis Deltow (2nd place) and Renier Barnuevo (3rd place).

For the Longest Deadhang it was Vincent Acuna, while for Longest Plank, it was Tom Madrid.

Other winners include Henz Ledesma for Longest Squat Hold, Joel “Ryobi” Cataag for Most Number of Consecutive Pull-ups and Ezeciel Santos for Most Number of Consecutive Muscle-Ups.

Seeing how the event was well received, organizers said they hope to stage more events like it so as to further grow the activity.

“We are looking forward to more events like this one, and we intend to keep growing the calisthenics community here in the Philippines for advanced athletes as well as for those who want to take the first step in starting their fitness journey. After all, it’s all about progressing from wherever you are now to becoming a better version of yourself,” Mr. Vergel de Dios said.

For more information on calisthenics and the first-ever academy for it in the country, you can call Sports and Recreational Training Arena (SPARTA) at 655-3799. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo