Bodyweight training equipment
The human body is the most basic form of resistance for exercises such as bodyweight squats, lunges, push-ups, pull-ups, dips, reverse dips, sit-ups, crunches, leg raises, and hyperextensions.
Bodyweight exercises utilize your own body weight and simple equipment easily found in your home, such as chairs and broomsticks. You can also purchase relatively inexpensive bodyweight training equipment such as pull-ups bar, climbing ropes, and gymnastic rings. Bodyweight training is therefore an excellent modality of training suitable for a home gym with little or no space allocated for resistance training. In addition, bodyweight exercises are also ideal for individuals interested in fitness who do not have access to expensive exercise equipment or facilities.
In one of our previous posts you can find all the details about the bodyweight training, bodyweight exercises, and what are the main benefits and drawback of using one’s body weight as a source of resistance.
Most important bodyweight exercise equipment
You can perform almost all bodyweight exercise without any equipment. All that is needed is your own body and your power of will. However, certain equipment has been designed for use with exercises that primarily rely on one’s body weight. The good news is that there is no need to spend large sums of money to obtain pieces of equipment listed below.
Here are a few bodyweight training equipment options that can be added to any bodyweight training programme.
- Gymnastic rings. The rings demand a high level of upper-body strength and stability, and advanced exercises, such as the muscle-up or iron cross, also require use of the false grip.
- Chin-up/pull-up bar. A chin-up/pull-up bar is simply a horizontal bar that is mounted to its own stand, wall, ceiling, doorway, or other exercise apparatus (such as a power rack or cable crossover). In contrast to the rings, the bars are fixed, and therefore demand less stabilisation.
- Dip bars. Parallel bars set high enough above the floor to allow dips to be performed between them. They can also be used for leg raises for the abdominals and for a variety of other exercises. Some dipping bars are angled inward at one end so that the distance between the two bars is different. This allows you to perform dips with varying grip width.
- Climbing ropes. Classic piece of equipment that has enjoyed a revival as a serious fitness tool. Much of their popularity has arisen from the boom in military fitness programmes, combined with the fact that fitness climbing ropes are highly portable. You can carry them in a rucksack and hooke them around a tree or climbing frame. Furthermore, they are relatively cheap to buy.
- Suspension trainer. The TRX is responsible for making suspension training popular. But long before TRX, chains or ropes with handles were used. Today there are numerous other suspension trainer brands that have followed in the footsteps of TRX. Suspension training involves straps, often made of canvas or nylon that suspend part of the body (usually from the arms or feet) to allow the person’s own body to provide resistance. For example, you can do inverted rows using a suspension trainer to work the lats. In contrast to the rings, at least one leg is anchored to the floor, which provides added stability and reduces the amount of bodyweight pressed or pulled. In addition, exercises are quickly progressed/regressed by changing the position of the body, which affects the angle of pull.
Other bodyweight exercise equipment
- Vertical bench. This device is composed of a long, vertical, padded bench that is attached to a metal platform that has handles and armrests. The lifter suspends the body by supporting the weight with the forearms and pressing the back against the pad. This bench is used for leg raises and is sometimes referred to as a captain’s chair. Some vertical benches have dip bars extended off the front.
- Stability balls. They provide a challenging unstable environment for training. Also, with the stability balls you can use your body as an effective lever on the ball. For example, during a push-up with the feet on the ball, the exercise is easier when the ball is closer to the hands, and become harder when the ball is closer to the feet.
- Back extension bench. A high, short, padded bench that has leg pads set at the same height as the bench. This allows the lifter to lie prone with the pelvis resting on the padded bench and the feet secured under the leg pads while doing back extensions.
- Outdoor environments contain an almost limitless array of equipment options you can incorporate into an outdoor bodyweight training session – and are free of use. These include park benches, picnic tables, playgrounds, trim trails, walls, railings, and trees, to name a few.
Conditioning drills such as rope and wall climbing, obstacle navigation, and calisthenics also use body weight as the main source of the resistance.
One of the best things about bodyweight training is of course the fact that no complex equipment (machines) or heavy weights are needed to perform the exercises. The main aim of the exercises is to utilize the existing strength of the body. However, your bodyweight training is going to be much more effective if you decide to use some type of bodyweight training equipment – chin-up bar, dip bars, vertical bench, back extension bench, and suspension trainer (TRX). So it’s still important to have an appreciation of the scope that additional equipment can provide, as well as the potential for progression (and regression) it can offer to your training.
Finally, exercise can have the potential to be an expensive endeavor. Gym memberships and personal trainers can significantly strain household and personal budgets. Bodyweight exercises have become more popular among people of all fitness levels because of their simplicity and there is no need for expensive equipment (exercise machines).