Outdoor calisthenics court established on campus; free and first of its kind in Texas

Photos By: Vedant Sapra | Photo Editor



A UTD student utilizes the pull-up and suspending pushup stations at the outdoor calisthenics studio. The side of the court provides visual instructions for how to perform easy to high level intensity body weight exercises such as air squats and side lunges, and resistance exercises such as standing rows and reverse hyper extensions.

The UTD Fitness Court Studio is the first Fitness Court Studio to arrive in Texas as a part of an initiative by the National Fitness Campaign to improve health throughout the nation.

Introduced on May 4, the double-sided outdoor calisthenics gym is UREC’s newest amenity, free of charge to Comets looking for a quick body resistance workout. The court is located southwest of the Recreational Center, alongside the volleyball courts and soccer fields in a space that has been conceptualized for outdoor usage for years. The idea for a fitness court came from Rafael Martín, vice president and chief of staff, who first mentioned the initiative in the summer of 2022.

Tricia Losavio, director of UTD UREC, said that she chose the court’s location by the soccer field for its visual prominence and accessibility that wouldn’t clash with other developments around campus.

“It fit naturally in that space, like an outdoor UREC space all in one spot,” Losavio said. “I think students — once everyone returns in the fall semester — will be excited.”

The UTD Fitness Court is a part of the National Fitness Campaign network that began in 1979, starting with wooden and metal courts that reached 10,000 locations across three countries. Today, the courts utilize heat-resistant plastic and concrete studios which are more resistant to the elements. There are currently four Fitness Courts — one-sided outdoor calisthenics gyms — in the DFW Metroplex, with four more courts expected to arrive soon. UTD’s dual-sided court is the only one in Texas so far; the back side is an empty studio space that can be used for yoga or outdoor classes, while the front houses equipment needed for resistance training and exercise stations with easy-to-follow instructions. Mike Cole, director of partnership development for the National Fitness Campaign said it wasn’t a hard decision to begin the growing fitness movement at UTD.

“How we ended up contacting UT Dallas was by sort of casting that broad net, but also by understanding where there are… forward-thinking, health-minded, and activity-minded leadership,” Cole said.

The UT Dallas Fitness Court Studio maintains two courts, one containing seven stations each made to last a minute long, and the other remaining as empty space for UREC’s planned outdoor yoga programs and outdoor fitness classes that will arrive in the fall semester. Instructions for the seven stations can be viewed on the court wall to help students develop the benefits of muscular and aerobic conditioning. Each station comes in the form of three levels with increasing difficulty, and through The Fitness Court app, nearly a thousand variations of exercise developed by national athletes can be explored.

UREC said they understand Comets might be worried about the Texas heat. Currently a shade design is being developed and is expected to be implemented in September. Until then, UREC recommends bringing a towel and cool water when working out.

“If you’ve never worked out before, you can walk out there, scan the QR code, pull up their website, design a workout for that day or week, and then it can keep track of you progress.” Losavio said. “I think [students] should try it.”

For more information on how to utilize each station and an instructional exercise video, please visit The Mercury website.



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