Covid-19 a temporary setback in calisthenics rise and rise


The uniquely Australian version of calisthenics has seen the exercise evolve into performance art with two-thirds of clubs Victorian based. As the worst hit state for Covid lockdowns compounded by a reliance on indoor venues meant 2020 was always going to be a tough test for a sport that over the last five years has excelled at engaging audiences. 

A five-year Shunt analysis (2015-19) of calisthenics clubs has shown that the number of posts published by clubs is up 60%, audience engagement has climbed 166% and the performance of posts (an engagement to productivity ratio) has also improved by 66%.

Productivity technique keeps getting better

The 152 calisthenics clubs analysed nationally have developed a well-proven routine that has seen Facebook posts published climb from 9,650 in 2015 to well over 15,000 last year.

Dancing with the stars

The five-year engagement profile (all Facebook reactions, comments and shares) for calisthenics clubs has been exceptional with growth up 166%. As clubs have steadily upped their post publishing game, so too has the quality of content shared with engagement growth easily outstripping productivity gains.

Choreographed efficiency

The real test of how healthy and robust a sports social media presence is the performance of posts published. This simple ratio that divides total engagement by the number of posts is a key indicator of how efficient and effective they really are.

When engagement growth far exceeds increasing productivity levels the net result is a continual improvement in calisthenics clubs post performance.

Even way back in 2015 the average number of engagements per post was already high by industry standards at 18.98. In 2016, there was another considerable leap to 25.39 before a series of incremental gains were recorded each successive year topping 31.50 in 2019.

This suggests clubs are becoming more and more effective in how they manage their time on social media. A sure sign of a sport that has a handle on its ‘socials’ and the impact it has on audiences.

Then along came Covid…..

Shunt has recently published industry-wide research examining the impact Covid-19 and associated lockdowns have had on the sector.

The pandemic really has proven to be a perfect-storm of situation and circumstance for calisthenics as the majority of clubs are located in Victoria that has endured the longest and most severe lockdowns. Further compounded by a reliance on indoor venues that brings with it the associated Covid-19 social distancing complexities and transmission risks.

This has meant 2020 was always going be one of the toughest for the sport since its origins dating back to the 1930’s.

March flurry then Victorian trial of endurance

The 2020 productivity graph for calisthenics is different from most other sports Shunt has recently researched as part of a concerted effort to better understand the impacts of Covid and associated lockdowns on the sector.

Coming off a strong January (1,580) the number of posts published across the 152 calisthenics clubs dipped to a little over a 1,000 in February before shooting back-up to 1,800 in March with lockdowns coming into effect nationwide at the end of March.

With a flurry of social media communications during this month as clubs processed the reality of the situation and then informed their members we see a slow and steady reduction in productivity.

It’s no surprise that this kept falling all the way to July when the second round of lockdowns were announced as Covid cases numbers started to spiral out of control in Victoria. With close to two-thirds of all clubs in the country effectively locked out of their sport the recovery has been slow with normal volumes still not evident at the end of October as restrictions began to ease.

Productivity for 2020 is down significantly at 10,601 posts published to date (October). With only two-months remaining for the year this suggests end of year totals won’t get close to the 2019 result but the 2017 level remains within reach as part of a reset for the sport.  

Where productivity goes engagement follows

One of the truisms of social media is that if you don’t publish content you won’t get audience engagement. Equally, the more you post, the higher the engagement as is the case here when comparing calisthenics clubs productivity and engagement profiles.

When productivity is up in January so too is engagement, both core metrics then fall together in February before spiking upwards in March. In what is almost a mirror image they track each other through 2020 suggesting that audiences are both receptive and highly responsive to any content clubs post.

The lesson here is perhaps the best way for calisthenics to work their way out of the challenges presented by 2020 and return to their longstanding, aggressive engagement growth profile is simply to post more often? 

After a run of exceptional results calisthenics clubs collectively won’t be climbing the same heady heights as 2019 unfortunately with total reactions, comments and shares as the end of October 2020 standing at 236,401. While 2016 levels will be comfortably surpassed, clubs will likely fall-short of 2017 numbers which considering everything the sport has had to endure this year represents a massive achievement.

Jeaden routine sets it apart

Just one calisthenics club has managed to crack the +2,000 threshold for audiences as at October 2020 and that was Victorian based Jaeden Calisthenics College. Rounding out the top three were two clubs with little between them in terms of Facebook followers with Ceres Calisthenics currently running a little ahead of Robynmore Calisthenics College.

As a sidenote it’s great to see two South Australian clubs breaking the Victorian stronghold on the Shunt Top-10 with Innovation Calisthenics (4th) and Ridgehaven (5th) mixing it with the best.

One-a-day for Chelsea

Two clubs had the distinction of publishing posts at least once a day on Facebook in 2019. At 1.07 a day it was Chelsea Calisthenics with another non-Victorian club shaking things-up in second was Karilee Calisthenics (1.03 per day).

It was good to see some other states figure highly with Western Australian club Mandurah Calisthenics the fourth most productive poster (297).

Looking to 2020, as at the end of October it is Karilee Calisthenics leading the way having already nearly matched last year’s total at 345 posts. In second is Jayde Calisthenics Club (210) followed by Tonique Studio (197).

Avonde Calisthenics a firm fan favourite

Avonde Calisthenics is definitely a favourite with the fans having achieved just short of 20,000 engagements (reactions, comments and shares) last year. Innovation Calisthenics is proving to be one of the most consistent performers in the sport with more than 10,000 engagements recorded way back in 2015 while maintaining similar results every year since.

Chelsea Calisthenics is emerging as a star in the making having started at 2,100 engagements in 2015 then steadily improving its score from 4,000 (2016) to 6,300 (2017) to 11,400 (2018) to just under 17,000 last year.

Shaking up the established order in 2020 is the Hills District Calisthenics Club who as at October was comfortably out in front with 9,248 reactions, comments and shares. Followed by Avonde (8,249) and Ceres Calisthenics Club (8,005).   

Avonde delivers another flawless performance

What club was the most efficient and effective on Facebook last year? The winner was the highly engaging Avonde Calisthenics Club who averaged 77.29 engagements per post. Robynmore also did very well to score a +70 result while Regent Calisthenics Collegians weren’t far behind at 67.99.

Research notes;

152 Calisthenics clubs from around Australia with a Facebook page were analysed as part of this report. Results are for Facebook only. Annual data from January 2015 to December 2019 inclusive. 2020 results from January to October inclusive.

Uncertain as to what 2021 has in store?
You’re not the only one! Throughout this year, Shunt has doubled-down on its work with our state and national sports clients to proactively expand their situational awareness. If you also want your ‘socials’ to deliver actionable insights that ensure you don’t just survive, but thrive then let’s chat. Get in touch at



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