The BAR-tendaz: Are You Hard Enough?

  When physical fitness is at the top of your list, how hard do you go? How much time do you put into your body? Are you happy with the results of your personal labor? What if I told you that there is a whole other level that you could reach if you only put […]


When physical fitness is at the top of your list, how hard

do you go? How much time do you put into your body? Are you happy with the

results of your personal labor? What if I told you that there is a whole other

level that you could reach if you only put your mind to it; would you dedicate

yourself to the challenge?


Say hello to Hassan “Giant” Yasin, CEO and founder of Giant

Thinking, and home of the Bar-tendaz.


Giant is a philanthropist through his teachings in physical

fitness. The talk in the barbershops and on the net is simmering over the

athletic capabilities shown by Giant’s Bar-tendaz brand.


One simple web search will not only impress you, for some, you

will rush to your local gym to slap your personal trainer in the mouth and

demand a refund. And that’s before you even realize that there is so much more

to pulling off amazing maneuvers than sheer strength. Giant suggests that you

“Mind Up.”


Giant spoke with us about the groundbreaking program based

around calisthenics that even the Godfather of Physical Fitness, Jack LaLanne

couldn’t deny as being revolutionary. You’ll also find out about the words that

Giant had for a certain popular cable station when they approached him with an

opportunity to be a star. For those that aren’t familiar, fill them in

on what defines Bar-tendaz.


Hassan “Giant” Yasin: Bar-tendaz is a physical fitness and self-empowerment

program, which was created around Calisthenics for the high schools and public

schools. This is a calisthenics program designed specifically for “at risk”

students. The trainers in this course focus primarily on the pull-up and

chin-up bars in order to inspire students towards improved physical fitness

without the use of potentially dangerous weights. We have trained professionals

that inspire healthy images of self and share lessons about the realities of

“street life” that build moral and rational muscles in the mind. I’ve watched the Bar-tendaz in action and it

was simply amazing to see the level of positivity and unity that is shown

between the trainers and participants. It must take a lot of discipline to do

the things that you do. Discipline that I wish I had. I work hard for two weeks,

then, well, I’m hardly working.


Giant: I’ve learned from being at 60 schools and 13

buildings on Rikers [Island] that we have the ability to mesh with different

personalities. And I feel that one of our biggest struggles is consistency. For

example, we are phenomenal for three days, but after that, we fall short. I

feel that many of us are getting caught up on our image, so that others could

be pleased with it; when we aren’t even pleased with ourselves and the energy

that we are putting into our image.


Once we are able to change the metaphor of how we see

ourselves and we do it as an appreciation, as a form of discipline to build

body and mind, we can take a different approach to how we work out. It’s not

about trying to look good for the opposite sex or to outshine the person that

you work out with. So with Bar-tendaz, one of our concepts is to become a

pragmatic practitioner. Don’t say that you’re phenomenal today, but then you’re

not tomorrow. Because if you’re phenomenal, then show me five people that are

phenomenal like you.


This is what separates the Bar-tendaz from, well, you see so

many other people popping up promoting physical fitness all of a sudden. And

I’m honored to a certain extent, but I’m really going at these brothers because

they are not paying homage. This is why values and morals pay a major effect

and influence on what we do in being disciplined. Who are you teaching, or are

you just building your own body? You will be more disciplined when you are

trying to empower somebody other than yourself. I remember before we began this conversation

that you were elated about something that happened to you recently. Can you

talk about it?


Giant: Yes I can. Jack LaLanne gave me a call. That was incredible

for me. Jack LaLanne!? The guy that created jumping jacks, gave us a call! He

said, “Health is wealth,” to me and I couldn’t believe it. Wow, at 88, this man

was doing 500 Jumping Jacks straight while smiling. He told me that I was onto

something bigger than creation right now – there’s nothing after calisthenics.

And I know that. I have a curriculum with it.

Jack LaLanne doing fingertip pushups


Now I’m challenging rappers with it. I can ask a rapper if

he is a pimp. He can answer yes to that. And then I’ll tell him, yes you are a

pimp, a Poor Image of a Man’s Personality. I have them like, “Wow, this kid can

think; he looks like us, but he is on some real empowerment, values and morals

stuff.” It’s working, and I see it working. You brought up the fact that you’ve taken

your program to Rikers Island. Talk to us that experience.


Giant: We made history there. In the history of Riker’s

Island, there has never been a program that was held in the Yard. It might

happen in the Chapel, it might happen in the visiting room, but it never

happens in the Yard with the inmates. [Giant Thinking] is prophetic, and not

just because it’s mine. But I have never scene pull-ups change a persons’ life

until I placed language on it.


There’s a brother that came home recently that done 28

years. He told me, no disrespect, but he had to challenge me. People told him

about me. I touched the bar, and he told me that I was in a different place, on

another level with what I was doing; so he’ll give me 150 pull-ups straight up,

that he couldn’t mess with me. And he did 150, straight-up.


People believe that this movement was started in jail, so I

want to clear this up. Out of the 250 people that are a part of this program,

only two were actually incarcerated. Nobody beyond those two even has

misdemeanors, and I’m proud of that. People are saying that this is a jail

thing, when they aren’t doing this in jail. So I wanted to make it clear that

these moves that are being simulated weren’t started there. You are extremely forthright about what you

believe in. How do you feel that people perceive you?


Giant: People tell me that I’m a strong Black man. I tell

them that I am a strong human. People at BET told me that I’ll be their next

star. No I’m not! I see what they do

to their stars! They must got me confused. They finally ran into a man that has

values and morals. And with those morals and values, you also

have your own language used by Bar-tendaz participants. Speak on it.


Giant: For example, we created something in the schools

called “HIT Squad” which is an acronym for Heroes In Training. We wanted for the young, more street oriented

youth with all of the say-so and influence to step up and run the program while

we just shadow it. Once we’ve done that, it just took off. So now we had

Bushwick High School that wanted to go up against Bronx Collegiate High School

in push-ups and pull-ups. And you couldn’t be a part of the program if your

grades weren’t exceptional and you don’t have a CAP, which is an acronym for

Character, Attitude and Personality.


Before we knew it, students were getting Physical Education

credits for it. Also, the acronym for GIANT THINKING: Growing Is A Noble Thing

– To Help Introduce Nationwide Knowledge Involving Natural Guidance. Beautiful. Finally, our readers of this

section loves it when our feature leaves them with a workout regimen to

explore. So if you can, leave us with a basic and advanced Bar-tendaz workout.


Giant: The park is a prime

location due to excellent breathing. Gym is secondary!


Basic workout


Preparation before all workouts,

stretching (5-7mins), arm circles (frontwards, 15 and backwards 15 large and

small circles), Bar-tendaz Jumping jacks (during jumping jack go over head and

then across chest 15-20)

11-15 push-ups: 15 sets

5-8 pull-ups: 9-11 sets

6-8 dips: 9-11 sets


Advanced workout


30-50 push-ups – 20-30 sets

15-20 pull-ups – 20 sets minimum

13-15 dips – 15 sets minimum


Sometime stretching is better

after workouts. More important than anything I just gave you breathing, inhale,

exhale. Seven out of 10 people don’t breathe properly when they work out, and

worse, they don’t even think of the muscles their working them just move the

physical and wonder why they don’t get results.


Find out more about the BAR-tendaz movement at and