In recent years we have seen that street fitness, i.e. training outdoors is once again gaining popularity in Bulgaria. After the transition to democracy, for some time this type of sport was somehow neglected - either because the playgrounds with levers in them disappeared one after another due to excessive construction in towns and cities or because a new craze was in vogue - fitness centers. But lately, more often in the evenings, after school classes end and the raucous student crowds go home, the school yards are filled with new shift of students – the fans of the levers as they called themselves. Their motto is the phrase popular in social networks "Train! Nobody is going to fall in love with your character at first sight!” Today the workouts from the past, the well-known sit-ups, dips, flips and push-ups are enriched with unusual and complex exercises from gymnastics.
"One reason for the growing popularity of street gymnastics is that the Internet is filled with videos of Americans with very impressive physique involved in this sport", says Nikola Tachev, one of the faces of this sport in Bulgaria. His Facebook page testifes to his own popularity. In less than a year, his fans have reached over 20,100 people, which is a huge number for Bulgaria. They actively discuss, exchange experiences and ideas. The videos that Nikola uploads on video-sharing networks also enjoy great popularity. The boys watch the exercises and tricks that he performs and follow him. Nikola says he always tries his videos to be of high quality as a whole, the exercises shown are ultimately cleared, but are also accompanied by good music. Because of his excellence his audience is constantly growing. Curiously, before taking up street fitness, Nikola was not actively engaged in sports.
"I have been doing street fitness for nearly five years. I watched some videos on the Internet of African Americans who are the most popular in this sport, and so I grew enthusiastic. With friends I started to train in the yard of a Sofia-based school. The exercises we perform require much training. But many people who watch our videos think it is very easy and immediately try to make such exercises. And they really need a good basic training."
Moreover, it takes a good warm-up, technique and strength to prevent falls, sprains, or other injuries. The exercises require good knowledge of the human body because injuries can happen very quickly. The age of the trainees ranges a lot. "Lately, many children come to us – aged 10 and more. The lowest age limit has significantly decreased since the time I started doing this sport and it makes me happy", says Nikola Tachev. More advanced athletes use special vests and leg weights, which make progress more rapid. Among the fans of street gym in Bulgaria, there are also girls, but they are very few because overall this is a male sport, which requires more brutal force.
Asked whether Bulgaria has favorable conditions for street gym, Nickola says the following:
"Generally, there are no good conditions in Bulgaria. In the United States there are specially built playgrounds and parks intended only for people who train. We have to train in schoolyards where kids go constantly."
However, according to Nikola Tachev, Bulgaria has very keen and talented guys who do their best in this sport. The two tournaments organized in Bulgaria by Club EFC (Explosive Force Crew), whose founder is Nickolai Tachev were held to great success. Another successful achievement was last year when two Bulgarian boys, Dénis Plamenov and Lorenzo Parvanov from Radomir, participated in the World Street Workout Cup in Riga, Latvia where Dennis was ranked fourth.
English Version: Rossitsa Petkova
Photos: provided by Nikola Tachev