OZ STYLE

- The lat­est work­out craze has ev­ery­one test­ing their strength on the beach­side chin-up bars, and it’s for all ages. By Ian Lloyd Neubauer

Sunday Mail - Body and Soul - - FRONT PAGE -

From Cottes­loe Beach in Perth to the Min­nippi Park­lands in Bris­bane and Mel­bourne’s St Kilda, coun­cils around Aus­tralia are in­vest­ing in their res­i­dents’ health with free out­door gyms.

The con­cept has its roots in Mus­cle Beach of Santa Mon­ica, Cal­i­for­nia, the world’s most fa­mous out­door gym, though Aus­tralia also has a “Mus­cle Beach” of its own.

For the past 15 years, the out­door gym on the north­ern end of Bondi Beach in Syd­ney has at­tracted a steady stream of lo­cals and tourists who ran­domly drop in to test their met­tle on the chin-up bars, do some stom­ach crunches or crank out a few dips. But in re­cent years the fa­cil­i­ties had be­come in­creas­ingly weath­er­worn, more suit­able to a cor­rec­tional in­sti­tu­tion than the board­walk of Aus­tralia’s most vis­ited beach.

Last sum­mer the lo­cal coun­cil took note and funded, to­gether with the lo­cal Ro­tary Club and the NSW Govern­ment, 12 new pieces of train­ing equip­ment as part of a $ 220,000 facelift. The out­door gym at North Bondi is more pop­u­lar than ever and sparked a new beach­front fit­ness move­ment: a clique of ex­cep­tion­ally well-toned gym­nasts, ac­ro­bats and ath­letes who swing like mon­keys from bar to bar, form hu­man pyra­mids on the ground and pull off seem­ingly im­pos­si­ble feats of strengths, such as the “hu­man flag”.

Then there’s the Bondi Beach Bar Brutes and their en­ergy is con­ta­gious – par­tic­u­larly on the first Sun­day of ev­ery month when they come to­gether for mini cir­cuses that are in­spir­ing passers-by to try their hand at high-in­ten­sity, low-tech body weight ex­er­cises.

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