Pull-ups: fitness without going to the gym

In a show of strength, agility, unity and charity, Ilonggo calisthenics enthusiasts joined  other athletes around the world in the simultaneous holding of the World Pull-Up Day recently.

The Iloilo leg was held at the Molo Plaza, which has pull-up bars in place. These bars that are used for pull-ups, a common calisthenics exercise, were donated by Barista Street Workout-Iloilo sports team pioneer John Paul Santamaria.

World Pull-Up Day Iloilo participants

Santamaria said that calisthenics is very efficient because one can do it anytime and anywhere such as on the street, that is why it is also called a street workout. He has a good physique akin to a bodybuilder, but Santamaria said that he has not worked out in a gym.  Credit goes to the physical training from his athletic pursuits like calisthenics, mountaineering and basketball, among others. He said that doing pull-ups is ideal for busy people like him because the city’s plazas have bars where one can practice for free.

In a pull-up exercise, the participant lifts his body up until his chin is of the same level as the bar and then goes back to the starting position and then goes up again while grabbing the pull-up bar. It is harder than it looks, because it requires practice and strength.

Jerricho Espanola at the pull-up bars
"We want to help build a fit society through free exercise using one's body weight. It is easy to inspire others because the movements are different and free," he said.

Santamaria’s friend Kenard Montenid,  said that calisthenics has made a big impact on his life. "I lost 15 kilos in just three months. Instead of spending all my time partying and playing on the computer, I do street workout. The more I practice, the stronger I become.  House chores that require lifting have become easy,” he said.

“It was hard at first, but Guts (nickname for Santamaria) kept on motivating me. No pain, no gain," he said.

Improve Iloilo’s youth
Jerricho Espanola, who led the Barista Street Workout-Iloilo team in organizing the Iloilo leg of World Pull-up Day, considers the event special.

"It made me feel that I had a connection with our city's youth. Being able to teach calisthenics will surely improve and inspire the youth of Iloilo and fulfill our team's mission. If it wasn’t for motivation or inspiration, I would have failed street workout," Espanola said.

John Paul Santamaria and ABC Molo president Cirilo Lapascua

"I was a troubled athlete back then. I was a nobody from elementary to high school. Now, I have found a source for my well-being and I need to let the others find theirs too. This is why I will try my best to entertain all of the city's youth when it comes to street workout.  It is not just a workout, it is the art form of life," he added.

Pull-up bars donated by John Paul Santamaria
ABC Molo president Cirilo Lapascua who was present at the World Pull-up Day celebration, said that the local government welcomes the donation of pull-up bars. "This is timely. Kids will have fun and learn to appreciate physical fitness."

True enough, kids as young as nine years old are frequently seen trying their luck at the pull-up bars.

Friends of Kids with Cancer Foundation, Inc. auditor Carol

Meanwhile, Espanola said that the proceeds of the event will be donated to Friends of Kids with Cancer Foundation, Inc (FoCKIFI), a non-profit organization that raises funds for poor children who have cancer. Carol Deduro, foundation auditor, said that they currently have 15 beneficiaries coming from poor families./Kathy Villalon

See more of the World Pull-Up Day Iloilo leg in this video


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