Stephen Hughes-Landers Holding it at the Top of UK Calisthenics

I found calisthenics after seeing a video everyone knows, Hannibal and Ed in Dyckman I was blown away by the strength and simplicity. I was working in a tattoo studio and something clicked.

stephen landers hughes calisthenics

I gave up my world to learn this beautiful art. I’ve sacrificed more than anyone can imagine ending up broke and homeless last year, but still putting in the work to ensure my progress. I don’t think many can say they have made a career out of calisthenics. My aim is to build platforms, creating training and courses, for others to do what they love.

The beauty of calisthenics is we are our equipment. Imagination is our only limitation. Nothing is needed for a full body workout. A pull up bar or dip bars mean a new level and multiple bars mean another world of options. Pretty much everything we do is calisthenics. Strength, balance and mobility are all needed to be a great human. Calisthenics helps us with this tri factor.

The muscle up is the main exercise to master (a pull up with such velocity, you pass the bar into a dip). This opens a world of new moves. No muscle up, but here’s a short clip of a routine.

Calisthenics has been around forever.  USA made the sport popular that’s for sure. YouTube videos played a huge part in the global growth. Eastern Europe I feel have been doing it longer. They just didn’t show the world.

My background is basketball, bmx and strongman. I only took up calisthenics about 2-3 years ago and I feel these are a lot to do with my rapid progression in the freestyle part of calisthenics.  Basketball helped with skill and agility, the creativity and ‘all in’ attitude of bmx, and the strength and determination from strongman.

The simplicity of the movement attracted me at first along with the excitement of the freestyle element. Traveling to meet all around the world who insured me meant the community bond we all have made me want to live it.

I’m blessed to have judged so many World Cup stages and nationals. To be a contributor to the rules and regulations is an honour too. Statics (holding a difficult position), dynamic strength and combinations are what we score. This means to be great you must work at everything.

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Many stage organizers bring me in to judge, perform, help out. I’m blessed to have met so many amazing people. I’ve been to many cities and countries more than once. The list is still growing too.

An 8 hour bus ride in Ukraine, missing TWO flights to Moscow, performing at half time at Miami Heat, traveling from Taiwan to Hong Kong to Qatar to Dubai to Amsterdam in 36 hours (I was teaching in all). There’s been so many fun experiences. Anything with Dennis is always memorable for multiple reasons…

I switched to vegan pretty much the same time I started this journey. Sustainability is priority. I purposely avoid preaching or forcing info on people though. Instead, do all I can to prove you can live a strong and healthy life plant based in hope someone is inspired to try. Then I give all the help I can. Over 300+ have switched to plant based because of me. Over 200* have stayed with it.

Climate change is real, it’s rapid and it’s kept quiet. The meat and dairy industries have so much money, they buy power. Agricultural farming is destroying our earth, sea and air. Not to mention ending billions of lives. That includes humans from the health issues.

stephen landers hughes calisthenics


I’m motivated daily by people. Messaging, showing me progressions and general connection and communication keeps me wanting to go further. In hope I can continue inspiring and motivating others globally. I answer every message I get daily. Talking to hundreds on snapchat (shughes-landers) all day every day. I love connection and communication. Technology gives us the greatest opportunity to do this yet we scroll aimlessly through nonsense all day.

The U.K. Scene is growing daily. The old school legends are some of the strongest and strictest form guys in the world. The new breed of freestyles are insanely creative. Jay (@SmallSpartan_batsparta on snapchat) is one of the world’s most exciting all round athletes. I’m proud of him. I feel I’m stuck between both styles. I favour the freestyle though.

Workout parks nationally are in our ( plans already. There’s great guys doing big community and school work. We are going to help provide the equipment for more to get involved.

I’d love to see the old and new guys come together. Politics and styles have separated it a little. To me, we all have different goals. We all love the same thing though.

So much is happening right now and more coming up. A lot I can’t talk about just yet. Let’s just say I want to be the guy they make the computer game after…

Download Stephen’s free muscle up ebook at

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