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January 09, 2023 3 min read

Famous calisthenics athletes you need to know about

Who are the world’s most notable calisthenics athletes from across the decades?

 Once upon a time, calisthenics was an underground activity that was either lined with street sports or used as an add-on for other training.

 Calisthenics is now a sport of its own, with federations and organisations, competitions, world records and titles. Get to know the most famous calisthenics athletes from around the word with our mini profiles into notable calisthenics athletes. 

Who invented calisthenics?

It’s impossible to pin the invention of calisthenics on one person. This form of training shows up in ancient Greece, India, China (in fact, we’re written an entire blog series about that). 

The 19th Century was a big moment for modern calisthenics. German researchers, Friedrich Ludwig Jahn and Adolf Spiess, popularised gymnastic movements as a form of physical fitness in the 1800s, and Catherine Beecher wrote a book called “Physiology and Calisthenics for Schools and Families” in 1857.

 These days, calisthenics shows up in military fitness, bodybuilding, gymnastics, and CrossFit. All hail the mighty bodyweight exercise!

Who is considered the master of calisthenics?

Roger Jiménez has the unofficial title the Catalan king of calisthenics. He’s a former climber with a load of titles and a trademark clean, flowing style. Jiménez started doing calisthenics in 2014 and won a major competition just a year later. In his first year of calisthenics he also won an international meet in Madrid and qualified for the Super Final in Russia where he came 11th. The following year he came 4th. Jiménez won the Battle of the Bars in 2018 and went on to the World Championships where he came a close 2nd. In 2019 he won the world lightweight title.

Famous calisthenics athletes

Daniel Hristov is a world-class street calisthenics athlete with several world titles, including winning the world championship in Moscow, Russia in 2021 and winning SWUB and FIBO in 2022. Hristov was Bulgarian national champion in 2020 and came 2nd at the world championship in Moscow and the world cup in Hong Kong in 2019.

Hannibal for King is a major name in YouTube calisthenics and is credited with bringing bodyweight training back into the mainstream over the past 25 years. At 44, he’s older than a lot of the current pro athletes in the field but his longevity in the sport (and his compelling rags-to-riches backstory) is part of what makes him so motivating.
 
Vadym Oleynik calls himself the strongest calisthenics athlete in the world, and he’s a sought-after coach and judge as well as holding several world championship titles. His feats of strength include incredible weighted muscle-ups that blend calisthenics with sheer strength sports.

Chris “Tatted Strength” Luera is another story of redemption with calisthenics at its heart. He went from being a prisoner to a 3 x WCO Battle of the Bars title holder. His story is inspiring and his calisthenics skills have earned him the unofficial title of one of the best calisthenics athletes in the world.

If you want static hold inspo, check out calisthenics athlete Osvaldo Lugones. Lugones is widely considered one of the best calisthenics guys around at the moment and is particularly known for his static work including planche holds.

Who’s your favourite calisthenics athlete? Have we missed anyone? Let us know and we can run a part 2 of this article about notable calisthenics athletes.

Check out the Gravity Fitness store for all your calisthenics and functional fitness kit for home or the gym.

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