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Team Altai Mountain: Raising The Bar

Introducing our newest recruit, Bristol based Calisthenics killer, Asad Alshamsi.

Calisthenics is one of the fastest growing underground sports with an almost cult-like scene that's rapidly developing into an exciting hotbed of new talent. You may have overheard the term 'calisthenics' or 'cali' in the changing rooms at the gym or from that one mate that's always doing handstands, but as its still such a raw and underground sport, few know the ins and outs, or ups and downs.

The term calisthenics derives from the ancient Greek words, 'kalos', meaning 'beauty', and 'sthenos', meaning 'strength.'

Calisthenics is bodyweight based strength training using minimal equipment using ranges of movements, pushes, pulls, balances and swings which then progresses with additional twists, flip and spins. To perform even basic calisthenics movements, a combination of brute strength, precise coordination, laser focus and cat-like balance is required.

The Cali scene has blown up over the past few years, not only here in the UK, but all over the world. What started as a few bros with massive shoulders fist bumping by the monkey bars has developed into a competitive sport in its own right with domestic and international tournaments with weight classes, battle categories and freestyle rounds scored by a panel of judges with a vocal audience. It's past-paced and incredibly technical with incessant displays of gravity defiant strength, which creates an electric live atmosphere. It's an awesome spectacle for the fans.

So awesome in fact that we decided to get involved at this year's ARNOLD SPORTS FESTIVAL UK, where we are sponsoring the KALOS STHENOS CHAMPIONSHIPS! This is the UK's first calisthenics competitive league and we are hyped to see Team Altai Mountain's newest recruit, Asad Alshamsi compete in the Light Heavyweight category Saturday 24th September at the NEC Arena in Birmingham.

The Arnold Sports Festival is the 'world's largest health, fitness and multi-sport festival'.

The 3 day showcase, exhibition and competitive arena with meet and greets with bodybuilding legends and freaks of nature Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Ronnie Coleman, Strongman Eddie Hall, UFC killers Michael Bisping and Paddy 'the Baddy' Pimblett, and the inspirational David Goggins!

We can't wait!

Asad was born in Afghanistan but fled from a war ravaged city with his family when he was just 3 years and was brought up in a deprived neighbourhood in Bristol, UK where he . Asad is a medical student specialising in musculoskeletal pain whilst training full-time and competing in calisthenics. We caught up with Asad to tell us a little more about the cali scene and what it takes to prepare your mind and body for competition.

Asad, tell us how you got into calisthenics...

I had a park very close to my college and I would go up there for headspace sometimes.

One day I saw a bunch of people training over there and motivating each other, I thought it was amazing! They had such a good energy so I sat and watched them for a while, they asked me to join in, so I did! After that day I went to that park everyday, before and after college.

And how about your studies?

Yes, I'm studying medicine here in Bristol. I've always wanted to help people, especially my Mum with her diabetes. Now I have a growing interest in sports medicine and therapies. I currently run a clinic where I provide a mixture of chiropractic adjustments, deep tissue massage and cupping if needed to work on the musculoskeletal system as a whole with the aim to minimise pain and improve range and quality of movement.

What's your training schedule like and how do you balance work/studies and Cali?

Currently I'm training hard for the Kalos Sthenos Champs at the Arnold Exhibition this month (September 23-25th). My training consists of a muscle up routine with a pull up routine, and a leg routine with a dips routine. I usually train for 2 hours per session. Balancing uni work on the weekends and training for the competition is difficult, but it's all about the time management and priorities during the day, making sure my tasks are done when they need to be done, you know after a long day of placement training can be difficult because your mind is fatigued. But Shilajit has helped so much with that!

How did you hear about Shilajit?

On Instagram!

How do you add Shilajit to your training routine and how has it helped you?

Shilajit has improved my day to day life massively, it keeps me awake, alert and focused. I take the Siberian Shilajit Resin first thing when I get up in the morning. It's helped me with my memory and focus during studying and hospital placement and in terms of training it has improved my overall energy and endurance, reduced my recovery time, muscle soreness and fatigue. It's my favourite supplement by far.

What has been your proudest moment in Cali so far?

Definitely getting into the Kalos Sthenos Championships at the Arnold Sports Festival!

I'm in the Light Heavyweight category and am hyped to be involved, it's a massive event with lots of great people. I can't wait to show off my skills there it's going to be fun!

What advice can you give for anyone looking to get into Calisthenics?

To be honest when I started I just watched YouTube videos! And then just how I got started really, get to the local park, find some pull up bars, dip bars, and of course try to find local people in the community who do calisthenics. That will motive you to train. I've always learned something from anyone who comes into the gym or the park you know, it's always good energy and good vibes. The calisthenics community is very supportive of anyone trying to get up in the scene so it's a great environment for beginners at the bars.

How about the competitive scene in the UK?

This is something I'm excited about this year! The Calisthenics scene has been around quietly for quite a while in the UK but during Covid when a lot of people couldn't go to the gym they started training outdoors in parks. This has made the calisthenics scene discovered by way more people it seems they participated because they couldn't go the gym, then through being around that environment there's been a influx of new cali athletes which is great! So coming out of Covid in the UK we have Body Strong UK who do a one rep max competiton, that was the first competition I entered back in March. Then obviously the Kalos Sthenos Champs at the 'Arnold's' is round the corner with is the biggest Calisthenics event in the country, that's the one I'm really excited about. There's athletes from Europe coming to compete and it's the biggest platform here, I mean there's 60,000 people coming to the event so that's nuts! Kalos Sthenos have been holding these endurance competitions and static and freestyle too, but also mentions to Calisseum and BodyStrongUK who have been doing lots for the scene. But the best in the country are coming to the Arnold Expo so I'm gassed to be involved in that.

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See you at the Arnolds!


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