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A group of Palestinian lads are taking to the streets of Gaza and using their surroundings to bulk up in what they’re calling “urban body building”.

The sport was inspired by a Swedish fitness trend, discovered by Bakr al-Makadmeh through YouTube videos, and for nearly a year he has been training with other young Gazans.

Makadmeh works 12 hours a day at a motorcycle spare parts shop but says “every other day” he gets together with other members of the ‘Bar Palestine’ team for two hours of street workout on the Mediterranean waterfront.

The urban bodybuilding clearly also has its roots in parkour – the French the urban sport combining running, acrobatics and gymnastics – and much like that demanding discipline, the Palestinian practitioners of urban bodybuilding point out the rigours of the sport are not for everyone.

The four friends, three of whom live in the Shati refugee camp, practice their sport with the means available — their rusty bar is wobbly and instead of chalk to dry the sweat from their hands and strengthen their grip, they use sand stuck to their feet.

Their dream is to take part in international competitions so they can finally meet the athletes who inspired them.


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