Lead. Inspire. Change: BarStarzz in focus

A street workout community with some MASSIVE reach and an honourable goal - to make fitness fun.
"Strength without balance, agility, coordination and explosiveness is strength that's athletically unusable" - BarStarzz - Image via YouTube
"Strength without balance, agility, coordination and explosiveness is strength that's athletically unusable" - BarStarzz - Image via YouTube
BarStarzz was founded in 2009 by Ed Checo and his buddies John Hendericks (J-Starzz) and Tony (Tony-2-Strong) in Washington Heights, New York. The group of friends first got into doing creative calisthenics workouts after they grew tired of the traditional style training at the gym. They had seen people in their local parks doing alternative/creative style pushups and other exercises and, after checking out a few videos on Youtube, realised that there were people out there taking calisthenics to an extreme level. Ed and his friends were hooked – they saw a way to get fit and have fun doing it. But with that said, starting out wasn’t easy.

“At the point when we first started we literally couldn’t find any instruction” – Ed Checo (Source: Youtube)

So the first few members of BarStarzz had to learn the hard way, by straight-up emulating the tough moves they saw without any clear progression. At that time, most of their workout routines were a combination of things they had seen on Youtube and input from people they met in street workout parks in their neighbourhood. But by taking these moves and adding some creativity and the desire to constantly push the bar (pun intended!!!) they were able to reach the momentum they are at today. Checo has this advice for anyone starting out with creative/freestyle calisthenics:

“It’s important to listen to instructionals from guys who you feel are at the level that you would like to be at. Because they’ve been through the mistakes and they know how to get there better and faster.” – Ed Checo (Source: Youtube)


Going Viral

As they got better, Checo decided to invest in a camera and a website and soon him and his friends had a steady following of fans on their official Youtube channel which, over the years has grown to over half a million subscribers.
Their channel includes HEAPS of instructional videos like ‘How to start workout out with Calisthenics‘ or ‘How to do a Straight Arm Press to handstand tutorial‘ just to name a few. But they also have loads of really inspirational videos on life/health transformations with calisthenics such as one about James Eric Marksbury, a steeple jack who injured his back in 2011, and now does calisthenics workouts in order to stay strong. Or Joshua Rucker, who was wheelchair bound after a car crash and now competes in wheel chair body building competitions. BarStarzz really has benefit so many people – check out this section on their website to see some AWESOME stories of what the calisthenics lifestyle has given to people.

Local to Global

Over the years the group spread to include members from all over the U.S. and around the world in places like Spain, Sweden, Mexico, Russia and more. Their digital reach is also growing with thousands of Twitter followers and almost 900,000 followers on their Official Facebook group.
Ed Checo and other BarStarzz members have worked tirelessly to promote the sport and lifestyle and Checo has travelled the world to compete in calisthenics events as far away as Latvia and Russia in doing so has strengthened U.S. ties with the WSWCF (World Street Workout & Calisthenics Foundation). This reach has allowed the group to help organise international events and raise money for various charitable causes such as ‘charity:water’. BarStarzz have also given back to their local community as well and also helped to cross promote events and fund raisers – most recently a 5km fun run in San Francisco organised by comedian Kevin Hart called ‘Run with Hart‘. Check out their blog, where you can stay informed with what kinds of events they are making a move on.

Moving Up The Bar

The group continues to be one of the most active in the freestyle calisthenics community, keeping up with events, posting information and releasing high quality street workout videos to their Youtube channel more than once a week. Prolific much!???
We hope BarStarzz continues to grow in members and in reach because their core message is AWESOME. To finish i’ll leave you with the words of Ed Checo – letting us know what him and the BarStarzz are really about:

It’s so important to promote fitness. How often do you see promotion for the next fast food item or medication. It ain’t right. We wanna make fitness cool. You can workout and enjoy it, without the same boring routines. We wanna show you that you don’t need a gym, you don’t need creatine, you don’t need no expensive supplements – you can do it inside a park or at home and get the great body, the great definition and the great strength just from these workouts – without paying nothing – for free. – Ed Checo (Source: Youtube)

Calisthenics Champions
  • Ray de Kleijn

    Good story but now in 2015 is becoming a hype and many people smell money and surf along on barstarzz their succes. And the statement you can do it without supplements and creatine is too easy said it takes much more than just training. It IS a lifestyle not a routine and it takes a lot of dedication, much more than many people will give. Greetz Ray

    • Thanks for your comment Ray and yes you’re right – there is a growing hype behind the sport and also lots of room for greed or people without the best intentions. I guess that is because it is still relatively new and still evolving etc. BarStarzz have a lot to do with bringing it to the mainstream and as for people capitalising off their success – perhaps that is bound to happen for any new ‘thing’ that reaches a certain cultural mass or tipping point. I think BarStarzz will always be ahead of the game and keeping things fresh for the sport – they have pushed it to where it is now. But unlike something like crossfit, which was started by one person, freestyle calisthenics doesn’t have such a definite beginning and there have been a range of people and groups etc that have allowed it to spread (originally from New York??? – that’s what I’ve heard). Ultimately, even Youtube and social media could be what’s contributed the most to it’s mass adoption. There will always be the pioneers – BarStarzz, Calisthenics Kingz, Strength Project, BaristiWorkout, Calisthenic Movement, Brendan Meyers, Frank Medrano, Al Kavaldo etc – who, while maybe not the first, have certainly been the most vocal and prolific – allowing it to reach where it is today. Thanks to them I hear the WSWCF is trying to get it added to the Olympics. I wish them the best of luck! I really hope it is seriously considered.

      Meanwhile, yes I agree, although calisthenics is inherently a very ‘natural’ way of exercise, people can still take whatever supplements they think will help them get the best results. Like all people taking fitness to another level – it’s not just the time spent exercising, but also what you put in your body and especially what you put in your mind that will give the REAL results.

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