Where To Workout: Barshaw Park, Paisley

The appropriately named, Bar-shaw Park in Paisley was the first location I highlighted as a good prospect following a quick Google search ('outdoor workouts renfrewshire') to try and see what was already available in my local area.

I discovered a Renfrewshire council press release from May 2012 which briefly mentioned how Barshaw had benefitted from a £150,000 rennovation that year, including the installation of "new outdoor gym and fitness equipment".

Intrigued, and knowing that this location was only three miles away from my house, I went for a browse one evening to find a wide range of exercise equipment, very similar to what I had seen was available at other park's throughout Glasgow, as well as a mini assault course; 'XERSCAPE'.

As much as I was impressed to see such a wide range of exercise equipment in a public space like this, I was a little disappointed that a little more thought hadn't been put in to the design and outlay of this facility. Much of the equipment is only really challenging to people who are not yet that active, or aren't as physically able as someone like myself.

As a result, and from my experience of working out within this public space for the past five weeks, this decent selection of expensive looking equipment goes vastly underused. However, plenty of children do like to have a quick play on each item as they enjoy the park on a nice day.

As I alluded to above, there are two circuits, as signposted, one of which being the 'XERSCAPE' assault course. It was within the assault course that I discovered two pieces of equipment which would soon make up my entire workout at Barshaw.

As can just about be seen on the image on the left, the assault course includes what is described by Renfrewshire council as an 'inline parallel bar' and 'chin-up traverse', at stages 2 and 3 respectively.

Looking at these two stations I saw how I could start practicing pull-ups, dips, and more, as I soon discovered.

Unfortunately the 'chin-up traverse' station is not the most ideal piece of equipment to practice pull-ups, especially for someone of my height (5"11), but it was a start, and as my first four pull-ups (as that was all I could manage!) showed, I needed to get practicing if I wanted to some day emulate some of the more intermediate moves I had seen on Instagram and Youtube.

As you can sort of see on the right, the 'chin-up traverse' station consists of two curved parallel bars, with monkey bars inbetween at different angles. The picture doesn't really do the awkward angle of the main parallel bars justice, so to be precise, my right hand will be around two inches higher than my left when doing pull-ups at the far right of the bars.

Looking at the clearly worn out grass on the far right of the image, it looks like people could have been using this station for pull-ups, or similar, quite regularly, but thus far I have only ever met one other person doing pull-ups here - a German student, who has since returned to his home country.

Moving on now to the 'inline parallel bar' station, pictured below, I don't have any complaints. This is a perfectly good piece of equipment to practice dips, and other beginners movements.

As you can see, Barshaw Park is a fairly good starting point to practice beginners calisthenic/bar workout exercises, but as time progresses, a proper pull-up station will obviously be required - as I'd assume I'll build slightly more muscle on my right side, with my right hand being slightly higher all the time?

Much like the rest of the exercise equipment available at Barshaw, these two stations are mainly used by children playing, as opposed to older teenagers, or adults, exercising.

Hopefully my twice weekly workouts will encourage more people to use this equipment in this way, to support my plans to request investment for purpose built calisthenics/bar workout equipment in my local area.

Certainly one or two children have made a beeline for the monkey bars, after seeing me using them, but also some young lads (perhaps aged 10-13) have sta
yed well back and even been avoided this station completely if I am using it - which kind of makes me worry that I could be a quite intimidating figure, at around 15st, 5"11, grimacing my way through a workout! I do try and stand back from the equipment inbetween sets now so that young folks aren't put off from using the station that I'm using.

I suppose this potentially negative effect would only increase if more people were to use the equipment in this way, which would further support my argument for purpose built equipment. But, generally, I am the only person in the park using the equipment, depending on what time of day I go there.

Typically, and for the immediate future I'd suppose, you'll find me training at Barshaw Park on Monday's and Friday's, either at 2pm, or 6pm.

If you read this and are interested in supporting my project, or using calisthenics for your workouts, come down and say Hi and I can show you my beginners workout!


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    1. Hi Joe. Yeah I'll be down there between 2 and 3pm today. I'll be back on Monday if you're not free today.

  3. I'll do my best to get down

  4. I'll do my best to get down

  5. I'll do my best to get down

    1. Cool. You can tweet me @RenfrewBarFit if that's easier and let me know.

  6. Awesome article, it was exceptionally helpful! I simply began in this and I'm becoming more acquainted with it better! Cheers, keep doing awesome! marathon training schedule


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