Calisthenics are exercises that focus on using your own body weight, balance and functional movements to get fit and strong. They are designed to increase strength as well as agility, flexibility and overall primal fitness.
They help support the primal human movements and help develop fitness in a way that is optimized for the human body. Forget uncomfortable movements with dumbbells or training equipment, calisthenics will use the strengths of the human body to improve your overall health and fitness.
Calisthenics are perfect for all types of fitness levels as well as all ages.
Although the focus is on using your own bodyweight for these workouts, there is some calisthenics equipment that can help you get the most out of your workouts. These pieces of equipment and training gear help optimize your movements and ensures you can perform them safely in your own home.
Building a calisthenics gym in your home or garage is a great way to ensure you never miss a workout. Calisthenics equipment is relatively cheap compared to more traditional gym equipment too. This equipment is designed to offer structure for your workouts. Calisthenics can of course be done with no equipment, however, this guide is designed to provide useful tips and equipment that will make your workouts more effective.
Calisthenics Equipment Kit List
To get started with Calisthenics workouts, discover some of the top equipment below that will help you perform all the exercises and workouts you’ll need to do.
Doorway Pull Up Bars
🏆 Our Pick – Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar
Doorway Pull-Up bars are a great (and cheap) way to help provide an easy way to do pull-ups in your home. They simply attach between a doorframe and transform a basic door into a multifunctional piece of calisthenics equipment.
You can do all types of pull-up variations on doorway pull-ups bars.
Most top rated bars are very easy to attach and can be set up with little trouble. You don’t need to drill or use DIY tools to set this up so it is a good starting point for people looking for an opportunity to do pull-ups in the comfort of their own home.
There are more sturdy than they look and on average can support up to 130 kilograms. The limit of doorframe pull-up bars is not being able to do more advanced pull-ups and swinging movements (due to a lack of space), but this will depend more on your own personal home and what type of space you have around your doorframe.
- Easy Set Up
- Not intended for heavy users
- Lack of space
🏆 Our Pick – BalanceFrom Multi-Function Dip Stand Dip
Dips are a fantastic exercise for chest and tricep growth. The dipping movement is an important one to master in any calisthenics workout routine.
Dip stands and bars come in many different forms and it depends on the space available into which option you may prefer.
There are predominately 2 types of equipment you can use for your calisthenics dipping workouts. The first type is a fixed stand which offers good levels of stability however they are less adaptable and adjustable so this may cause limitations as you get more adventurous with your workouts. The other option is going for two separate bars. This means you’ll need to affix this to a wall (sometimes they can come with a stand). The advantage of this means that you have more control of how close or wide the bars are. This means you can target your triceps or chest proportionately depending on your aims. This might also be a preferred option if you are very tall and find the stand dip stands a bit cramped.
For beginners, a fixed stand is probably going to be a better option as you can assemble it easily with little effort and start training straight away, without worrying about affixing bars to a wall.
- Ease of Use
- Solid structures
- We couldn’t find any – we love Dip stands! For the price, this is a great purchase for your home gym.
Wall Mounted Pull Up Bars
🏆 Our Pick – Mirafit Wall Mounted Pull Up Bar
Wall Mounted Pull-Up bars are very similar to doorway bars but offer more stability and offer a frame to attach to a wall. These aren’t very suitable for using in your home, but are a fantastic option for a garage gym or outside workout area.
They take up more space than a doorframe bar but the extra stability you feel when using them really gives you more peace of mind during the workouts. This is a really big benefit of this type of pull up bar as you can concentrate on your pull-ups, rather than worrying if it’ll fall down.
- Increased Pull-Up Variations – e.g. wide grip, man-ups
- Drilling and Installation takes more time
🏆 Our Pick – PACEARTH Wooden Gymnastics Rings
The popularity of gymnastic rings has increased massively in recent years, and it’s about time. Rings offer an amazing all round upper body workout. Unlike many other items in this list, rings emphasise instability and force you to try and stabilize. This forces your body to adjust and helps develop strength alongside balance.
There are quite a few different types of rings available due to the popularity of Crossfit. You have the option of plastic or wooden rings. The reality is, the different materials won’t have a massive impact. Any rings will do the job as long as they are securely fastened.
Crossfit athletes and gymnasts illustrate the benefits of using rings for building strength. They also focus on building functional strength and challenging your muscles in a way that traditional bodybuilding exercises can’t.
Due to the space needed for them to hang, rings are more suitable for garage or outside gyms.
- Helps develop better balance and stabilizing strength
- Takes your workouts to the next level
- Needs a lot of space to hang them from
Push Up Bars
🏆 Our Pick – CAP Barbell Pair of Push Up Bars
Push up bars offer a nice variation to an array of calisthenics push workouts. Instead of having your hands flat on the ground, you can get better grip and leverage from the bars.
They also come into use during an intense workout where your hands may slip on some surfaces due to sweat. Being able to grip a handle means you don’t have to worry about your hands slipping on the floor. They also mean you can generally go deeper and thus stimulate the chest muscles more.
Push ups bars can also be used to perform a calisthenics classic, the L-Seat exercise. This is quite an advanced exercise but demonstrates the versatility of this equipment.
The Perfect Push-Up Elite is an advanced version of a push up bar and offers extra comfort when training.
Look for ones with a good amount of padding on the handles as well as ones that offer a sturdy base so they won’t shake.
- Cheap and Easy to Set Up
- Offers opportunities to vary up push exercises
- The cheaper ones tend to have a short shelf life so invest in higher quality ones.
🏆 Our Pick – K KiNGKANG Power Tower
Power towers offer the stability and safety that can be very important when you’re pushing yourself in a workout.
Power towers provide a more encompassing piece of calisthenics equipment which can be used for a variety of exercises. If you think you’re likely to need a pull-up bar, dip stand and core equipment, then it’s probably better just to get a power tower.
They provide a functional piece of equipment that can help you develop your upper body efficiently.
They don’t take up as much room as you’d expect either, and you can get ones that suit your home and your needs. They’d be more suitable for a garage gym or a room specifically designed for working out, but you could fit it in most normal sized rooms. Some are more versatile than others, but they’ll all be perfect for pull-ups, dips and core exercises.
Stability is the most important thing with this type of calisthenics equipment. Make sure it’s structure is wobble-proof and that you can concentrate on your exercises instead of an unsteady structure.
You may wish to look for a good gym mat too so the structure doesn’t damage the floor.
- All-in-one structure
- Easy to set up and use
- Quite large piece of equipment compared to others on this list.
🏆 Our Pick – 5 Pack Resistance Bands
Resistance Bands are a great option for beginners and people just get started. Many exercises and calisthenics workouts include movements like pull-ups, which can be pretty challenging. Resistance bands can be used to offer support and help when attempting such movements.
By attaching a resistance band to a bar and wrapping it around your knee or foot, the resistance band helps spring you up during a pull-up (or any pulling movement). This means you can learn correct form while getting started with calisthenics workouts.
Resistance Bands usually come in different strengths. The thicker bands will offer maximum support and spring you quite noticeably. Thinner bands will feel as though someone is giving you a slight helping hand. This means you can change bands depending on your progress.
They can also be used to add tension to exercises and make them harder. If you wrap it around your back while doing a push-up, it will add more resistance and consequently make them harder. As a result, they can be used for more advanced workouts as well.
- Very versatile and adaptable.
- Can be used to make exercises easier or harder
- We couldn’t find any – for the price, they are a great investment!
🏆 Our Pick – Fat Gripz
The premise is quite a simple one but the results can be really noticeable. Fat grips attach to bars and make them wider. This impacts how you grip the bar and thus impacts how your body performs any movements. Fat grips can be used in any exercise/sport, but they are particularly useful for things like pull-ups where changing the grip has a massive impact on the exercise.
- Ease of Use
- Helps create more diversity from already existing equipment
- Widening the grip should be seen as a more advanced technique so if you’re a beginner, just focus on mastering the normal exercises.
🏆 Our Pick – Vinsguir Workout Gloves
There are many people who swear against gloves, claiming they don’t develop grip or that they limit progress. The truth is, gloves can be a very great investment for some people. If I wear gloves when doing pull-ups, I can simply do more. There’s no two ways about it. If you find yourself slipping off bars due to a sweaty palm, them gloves are the perfect answer.
A good pair of training gloves should have padding on the palm but feel quite light and flexible. You absolutely don’t want a pair of fitness gloves that limit your hand and finger movements. This will stop you from performing movements effectively.
Another good option to look for are gloves with extra support around the wrists. This can provide support for your wrists, which can be particularly useful for certain exercises and movements (e.g. handstands).
- Helps provide extra padding when gripping bars
- If used a lot, they can need replacing quite often
🏆 Our Pick – Ab Roller
Regardless of whether you’re focusing on calisthenics or another fitness routine, a strong core and abdominal is always a bonus. Training your abs can be easily achieved through no equipment at all, or using other equipment already mentioned, such as a power tower. However, an ab wheel is a pretty cheap piece of equipment which can really optimize your ab workouts.
Ab wheels operate on a simple basis; you push a wheel forward and pull in back (while leaning on your knees). This action really stimulates the ab muscles. It also stimulates them in a way that is very different from a lot of the other exercises. Being able to target muscle groups in different ways and forcing them to react to these challenges is a sure fire recipe for great results. Ab wheelers also target your shoulders, chest and arms so they pack quite the punch for a small piece of exercise equipment.
Ideally, you want to be looking for ab wheels that are smooth and will roll with ease.
- Very easy to use
- Perfect for beginners
- Don’t fall into the trap of just using an ab wheeler and expecting a six pack – diet and nutrition is the key ingredient!
🏆 Our Pick – CAP Adjustable Weighted Vest
Buying a weighted vest is a great option for people wanting to take their calisthenics workouts to the next level. A weighted vest will make any exercise that little bit more difficult and as a result can help you get more out of your workouts.
When looking for weighted vests, it’s good to look for ones with adaptable weights. This means you can decide how much extra weight you want to carry. This is useful for different exercises as a little bit of extra weight would have a bigger impact on certain exercises than others.
Weighted vests are highly recommended for anyone who plays sport, as training with this extra tension will make game day feel easier.
- Creates more tension for your workouts
- Can be used in pretty much any workout
- More expensive than other pieces of equipment on this list
Getting some calisthenics equipment is a sure way to optimize and improve your workouts. From little pieces of equipment that’ll add diversity to a workout, to larger pieces that offer a framework to perform major movements, this list demonstrates the various opportunities you have to progress and develop through useful equipment.
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