Photo Credit: @13thdisciple
If you’ve ever watched one of those crazy video clips of people doing incredible moves on a bar, it’s highly likely you’ve seen Simone Ming in action. A calisthenics and street workout specialist, Simone’s bar and bodyweight tricks have earned her numerous competition titles, including Queen of the Bar 2016 and Urban Fitness League 2017 World Champion. Here, the talented personal trainer and former gymnast takes a break from training to answer my twenty quick-fire questions.
#1. You competed in gymnastics for 13 years and represented Great Britain. How did you get into it?
When I was 3 years old I used to walk on my toes. My mum thought I was going to be a ballerina but I didn’t enjoy it, so I started gymnastics and the rest is history.
#2. Which gymnastics discipline did you compete in?
It was women’s artistic gymnastics.
#3. After retiring from gymnastics how did you find calisthenics and bar fitness?
After gymnastics I stopped training for a year. I started doing body building, which I stopped because my back started to hurt, then I found bar work/calisthenics.
Photo Credit: @meeka_mc
#4. Given your gymnastics background did you find calisthenics relatively easy?
With my gymnastics background, yes, I found calisthenics a lot easier [than others might] but I still had to learn how do the basics skills like muscle-ups, which took me 2/3 months to master. The hardest skill I found was front lever. I still struggle with them.
#5. Now you’re a calisthenics coach and bar competitor, what does a typical day look like?
My day-to-day life changes. I train depending on how my body feels, but generally I will start my day by personal training [clients] followed by my own personal training of either reps or skill-based exercises.
#6. What does a typical week of calisthenics and bar training look like for you?
Monday and Thursday I train reps and statics (e.g. planche), Tuesday is new skill and Saturday dynamics (e.g. muscle-up).
Photo Credit: Luizo Mesquita
#7. Do you ever lift weights or is it purely bodyweight training?
I only do bodyweight training – I feel it’s better for my body and it gives me a more natural body shape.
#8. Do you train core strength specifically, or is this a natural by-product of your calisthenics/bar movements?
Core is my favourite body part to train, so I work on it the most.
#9. How do you prevent your hands getting ripped up during all the bar work?
There is no prevention, but I find the more I work on the bar, the less rips I get.
#10. What’s your favourite and least favourite calisthenics/bar movement?
My favourite is back lever. My least favourite is a muscle-up 540, which is a 1-and-a-half twist over the top of a bar. I prefer doing statics over dynamics.
#11. Earlier this year you won the Urban Fitness League (UFL) in the US – can you tell us more?
The UFL is a competition which is based in Brooklyn, New York, [and its goal is] to showcase calisthenics athletes and empower people of all ages to engage in a healthy life. For the female world champion belt (the title Simone won), I did a two-minute freestyle [set] and a rep competition. This included 8 muscle-up hop overs, 10 dips with a 35lb weight, 10 pull-ups with a 35lb weight and 8 muscle-ups.
#12. Is there a move in particular that has taken you longer than the others to perfect?
Out all the moves that I can do, the one that has taken me the longest is a front lever.
#13. You auditioned for Ninja Warrior recently. How was that and what did it involve?
Ninja warrior was amazing. I had to complete the obstacles and get as far as I could across the course. The episode will be aired on ITV in 2018.
#14. Are ninja competitions something you’re interested in doing more of?
It was the first one I’d ever done and I had a great time doing it so yes, I will be doing it again.
#15. Would you ever be interested in parkour or free-running?
I was actually thinking about it. With my love of bodyweight exercises and [because] I find calisthenics is a more upper body base workout, I will definitely be doing parkour/free running.
#16. Have you got a record number of pull-ups and press-ups?
My max pull-ups record is 25 and my max press-ups record is 64.
#17. What are your tips for mastering a muscle-up?
I find for me, negatives helped the most as well as jumping up through the muscle-up technique.
#18. What are your must-have pieces of kit for training and competing?
For me I have to have chalk. I prefer liquid magnesium and use Mega-Grip The Original Liquid Chalk, but wouldn’t say no to powdered.
Photo Credit: Marcel Grabowski
#19. What have you been up to recently and what’s coming up for the rest of 2017 and the beginning of 2018?
I have been in Newcastle for black history month (Simone’s poster was displayed in Newcastle in October). I will also be performing at my old gymnastics club for their 10-year anniversary.
2018… I will have to wait and see, but I know I will be coming up bigger and better.
Photo Credit: @luckyjann
You can keep up with Simone’s training and calisthenics performances via her website, www.mingcalisthenics.com and social media: www.instagram.com/ming_bars_calisthenics, www.instagram.com/ming_fitness, www.twitter.com/lil_ming412, and www.Facebook.com/mingbarsparta