We all know that you technically don’t need any piece of equipment to get started with calisthenics or bodyweight exercises. However, there are some pieces of calisthenics equipment you would probably like to have in your arsenal, especially if you want to get serious with calisthenics. The best thing is that they are all really cheap and affordable for most people. We would highlight the following items as the most important (the last one – training partner – is really just optional):
- Pull up rar
- Dip bars
- Resistance bands
- Foam roller
- Gymnastics rings
- Suspension trainers
- Ab roller
- Weighted vest
- Chalk and wrist wraps
- Dip belt
- Training partner
Pull Up Bar
Pull-up bars are the ideal tool for performing intense upper-body workouts at home using only the weight of your own body. This small piece of fitness equipment is so useful and inexpensive that just about anyone serious about building a sculpted physique should own one.
There are a few different kinds of home pull-up bars, some more portable than others. But in general, pull-up bars, aka, chin-up bars, are composed of metal, some kind of foam or rubber grip, have a means of being secured to a doorframe, wall, or ceiling, and enable a person to raise themselves off the ground using a variety of upper body muscles including arms, back, shoulders, and chest.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the most common at-home pull-up bar type:
- Doorframe Pull-Up Bar (Leverage-mounted pull-up bar)
- Extending Door Frame Pull Up Bar (Telescoping Doorway Pull Up Bar)
- Wall-Mounted Pull-Up Bar
- Ceiling-mounted pull-up Bar
- Free Standing Pull-Up Bars
- Joist-mounted pull-up bar
People seeking to increase their fitness, strength, and general health are increasingly using calisthenics exercise equipment, such as dip bars. Dip bars are a cheap and versatile piece of exercise equipment that can be used for dips, push-ups, and other bodyweight activities. Dip bars can be used for flexibility, balance, and coordination in addition to strengthening the upper body and midsection.
In addition to their many practical applications, dip bars are a fantastic option for anyone looking for a piece of equipment that is reasonably priced and takes up very little space. Since dip bars are typically lightweight and come in sets of two, they are simple to move around and store away.
Dip bars usually consist of two bars joined at the top by a frame made of steel or aluminum, with adjustable handles and foot plates for added stability.
Dip bars are a great option for people who want to build their upper body, particularly their triceps, chest, and shoulders. Since the user must support their entire body weight while doing dips, all of the primary upper body muscles are worked.
Dip bars can come in a lot of variations, with different bar thicknesses, widths, and heights.
The dip bars that are found in commercial gyms are often attached to a bigger piece of equipment, like pull-up bars and leg-raise stations, so sometimes these are not entirely suitable for a purely calisthenic workout, but can still be used effectively. In play parks the dip bars are often much longer, which means that two to three people can train simultaneously, or you can travel along them; turn around; perform handstands, planches, etc.; and get a really good workout.
Parallettes are similar in some ways to dip bars, in that they consist of two bars that are a set distance apart, and are facing the same way. The difference is that parallettes are normally portable and are much lower to the ground. If you have ever seen push-up bars, then parallettes are simply a larger version. Or, we can rightly say that parallettes are the dip bar’s little cousin.
Parallettes are designed for pushing exercises, such as push-ups, handstands, planche work, and so on. The beauty is that as they are separate units, you can widen or narrow the grip to suit your particular body type. Also, because they are so small and portable, they can be taken almost anywhere. This is perfect if you are either away from home regularly through travel or business, or simply do not have much room in your home to build a training area.
They need to have a bar thickness that is comfortable for you to hold on to. It is no good to use parallettes that have a diameter of a few inches, and although that would do wonders for your grip strength, it will make handstands, planches, and other exercises much more difficult to control. There are a number of places on the Internet where you can buy parallettes, so it is best to have a look around and see what you can find.
We recommend using wooden parallettes as they are more comfortable and less aggressive on your skin. Plastic parallettes will cause more cuts and bruises on your skin in the long run, especially if you’re using them daily.
Resistance bands are another great piece of calisthenics equipment to own. They are flexible pieces of exercise gear that can be used in a variety of ways to enhance cardiovascular endurance, strength, and muscle mass. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced athlete, resistance bands are a fantastic way to mix up your workouts. They are the perfect addition to any home gym because they are portable, lightweight, and versatile. Resistance bands are a fantastic tool for exercising in confined spaces.
They are portable and compact, making them easier to store and transport than other types of exercise equipment. They are therefore a fantastic option for people who have limited space or who frequently travel and want to be able to exercise while doing so.
Resistance bands will allow you to perform challenging exercises that you cannot achieve otherwise. An example of such exercises is the famous muscle up which requires tremendous upper body strength and balance. Many beginner and intermediate calisthenics athletes initially learned the muscle up using resistance bands wrapped around the bar and their feet.
Resistance bands can also make regular exercises more challenging, such as push-ups or squats. If you wrap the band around your back or shoulders while performing these exercises, you’ll make both the concentric and eccentric motion much more difficult, which will in turn increase your strength gains.
Last but not least, resistance bands are a cheap way to spice up your workouts. They are typically much less expensive than other types of calisthenics equipment and are available in a variety of sizes and resistance levels. They are therefore a fantastic option for those on a tight budget.
Although a foam roller is not vital, it can come in handy for mobility drills and maintenance of muscle and tissue. A foam roller is used for self-myofascial release, or more simply, foam rolling.
Foam rolling is the act of putting pressure on a muscle or muscle group, and rolling over it using the body’s own weight as the force. This can help to align muscle fibers, release the fascia from the muscle, and generally get rid of any sore parts, scar tissue, and knots in the muscle fiber.
Foam rollers can be bought from a number of sources, and most good commercial gyms should have some available. They normally come in various densities, with the softer rollers more suitable for beginners, and the harder ones more suitable for those who have already been foam rolling for some time. If you do not want to buy a foam roller solely for your training, then you can use many household objects to achieve much the same result; for example, tennis balls, cardboard tubes, or plumbing pipes.
Gymnastics rings are another very useful piece of calisthenics equipment to have in your arsenal. Have you ever wondered why gymnasts in the Olympics are so muscular and strong? Wooden gymnastics rings is your answer. They make every single exercise more challenging! Try push-ups, pull-ups, and dips with rings and you’ll probably be able to do only 30 to 50% of your usual reps and sets.
Rings create instability and will make you feel shaky while doing any exercise. Once again, we recommend you go for wooden rings instead of plastic rings. Your skin will thank you! Plastic causes unnecessary friction on your skin and will cause more cuts and bruises over time.
Strength, conditioning, and rehabilitation exercises frequently make use of suspension trainers as their exercise apparatus. They feature handles and straps for anchoring to a wall, door, tree, pole, or roof, among other structures. The user performs a range of exercises while standing between the straps and holding onto the handles. Suspension trainers can be used to improve coordination, balance, mobility, balance, strength, and force.
Suspension trainers are becoming more widely used because they enable a range of exercises to be carried out on a single piece of equipment. They are also reasonably priced, which enables many people to obtain them. Both novice and expert exercisers can use suspension trainers because they are flexible and simple to modify to a person’s skill level and fitness objectives.
The ab wheel is a device that has a wheel with handles protruding from either side of it, allowing you to place your hands on either side of the wheel. While most ab wheels have a single wheel, you can also find some with two wheels, which offer better balance. The design is simple but the results can be fantastic.
Ab rollers are so popular that they can be purchased at major drugstores, sporting goods stores, and even discount stores for under $10. One advantage is that they’re portable—they can be disassembled to fit in a small box or briefcase.
The ab wheel is a great way to work your core muscles. The core consists of the abdominal muscles in the front (rectus abdominis, external and internal oblique, transverse abdominis), the muscles of the back that run up and down the spine (erector spinae group of muscles), and sometimes the gluteal region.
If you hit a plateau with regular calisthenics exercises, adding weight is one way to break through that plateau and skyrocket your results. This is why this piece of calisthenics equipment can also come in very handy. Instead of delegating the weight to your hands or ankles, the weight is strapped to your torso.
No matter the weight, there is a right way and a wrong way to train with extra weight. First, you need a high-quality weight vest or a good backpack. A weighted vest designed for this type of training is much better overall. A backpack is good for “humping” (or fast walking/hiking) and maybe doing some short sprints, but it’s not designed to be worn while doing exercise movements since it shifts around too much.
The best vests are those that allow you to adjust the weight. We’ve used many brands, but the V-Max is by far the best we’ve used or seen used. They’re made to be worn during just about any movement without worrying about the weight shifting around. They’re high quality and well worth their cost; they’ll hold up under hard use and will last many years if you take care of them.
Liquid or traditional powdered chalk and wrist wraps
Many exercises, especially those involving heavy use of the hands and upper body, require a very strong and secure grip. It is very important to make sure your grip will not slip because of either sweat from the hands or a slippery surface on the piece of equipment. That is where chalk is important: it basically dries out the hands and creates a more abrasive and stickier surface for the grip.
There are two main types of chalk. The first is the traditional powdered chalk that you may have seen being used by gymnasts, weightlifters, and climbers. This normally comes in large square blocks, which are then broken down and placed in a container of some kind.
The second type is liquid chalk, which normally comes in a small bottle. Liquid chalk is the same compound as normal powdered chalk, except that a liquid has been added that evaporates off the skin once it is applied. This leaves a thin layer of chalk over the surface of the palm of the hand, which makes the grip on pull-up bars and parallettes much stronger.
Wrist wraps, as the name implies, wrap around the wrist. Bands of elastic material that are tightly wrapped around the wrist to support them during heavy lifting or while performing exercises that place a high amount of stress on the wrists.
Dip belts function similarly to weighted vests in that they weigh down your body. But, instead of wearing it like a vest, the dip belt is worn around your waist (your natural waist) and has weights suspended from it, usually by a chain.
The last piece of optional equipment is a training partner. Depending on your social circle and the type of people who are your friends, you will either have people lining up to train alongside you or those who make every excuse under the sun not to exercise.
If you can find someone who can take the part of a regular training partner, then you will be in luck. A training partner can really make a difference, especially in terms of pushing you to break through plateaus and hit new highs.
Often, you will find that training alongside someone else will help to promote a healthy dose of rivalry and competition, which is only ever good for progress and improvement. A partner will also be able to watch you exercise and tell you where you are going wrong and when you are doing things right.
Closing thoughts about calisthenics equipment
No matter what your fitness goals are, calisthenics workouts can be a great way to get the body you want. It’s easy to do at home and calisthenics equipment can help you get more out of your workout. In this post, we talked about the essential calisthenics equipment you need for a perfect home (or travel) gym and how it can help you get the perfect workout to build strength, build muscle, and burn fat, anytime.