What equipment do I need for calisthenics?
With calisthenics, your body is the gym. Instead of paying for an expensive gym membership, you can get an effective and challenging workout from your home or a park. You can go further by buying your own calisthenics equipment. With a handful equipment you can keep making progress on your progressions. You will also be able to perform all the exercises in workouts like the Recommended Routine.
We've recommended some of our favourite pieces of calisthenics equipment for you to build your home gym with. They're all beginner friendly. We've only listed equipment that we've used ourselves, and are happy to recommend. We've provided links for each one.
Pull Up Bar
The pull up bar is essential for all home gyms. For anyone who wants to improve their pulling strength, the pull up bar is a must-have. There are many different types of pull up bars, we find the ones that work best for us are those that fit in a door frame. You can also purchase a wall-mounted pull up bar, but they tend to be more expensive and require time to set up.
- Pull Up
- Back Lever
- Front Lever
- Toes to Bar
- Hanging L-Sits
The only other piece of equipment we regard as essential. The gymnastic rings are extremely versatile, and their uses almost limitless. It's possible to gain a lot of strength and size using nothing more than the gymnastic rings. We recommend the wooden rings as they're easier to grip. Gymanastic rings easy to set up, can have their heights adjusted, and are super lightweight.
Even floor exercise like the Plank benefit from being performed using the rings.
Parallettes have many uses. They're great pieces of equipment for those with wrist issues, who experience discomfort when performing handstands or push ups. Parallettes are also raised off the ground, meaning you can increase the range of motion of exercises like the Push Up, or Handstand Push Up. Parallettes also enable you to practice more challenging core movements, like the L-Sit.
Like the gymnastic rings, resistance bands are lightweight and versatile. You can use them to bridge the gaps between difficult progressions, as they can reduce the resistance needed to perform an exercise. For instance, you can use them to support your bodyweight during a Pull Up, which is great for those working toward their first Pull Up. On the flip-side, you can use resistance bands to make exercises more challenging. You can make your squats and push ups more challenging. Here's a handy article to help you learn more about resistance bands.
The dip bars are excellent pieces of equipment for those with enough space for them. Having dip bars ensures you can practice your Parallel Dips and Straight Bar Dips any time. They double up as an alternative for the parallettes, meaning any exercise you can do on the parallettes, you can do with the dip bars. Aside from the rings, the dip bars are the only pieces of equipment on this list needed to perform a Row. The Row is a required exercise in the Recommended Routine.
A little messy, but a bag of chalk can do wonders for your grip strength. You can use chalk when training for more challenging, grip-intensive exercises, like the Ring Muscle Up, or anything involving a pull up bar. Chalk is super lightweight, which means you can carry it around anywhere. It's also very popular in sports like bouldering.
The ab wheel is very small, and very lightweight. While the Ab Wheel isn't as versatile as some of the other equipment on this list, you can use it to perform some very difficult core exercises, like the Straight-Legged Rollout. You can also adjust other exercises like the Plank to for an added challenge. Al Kavadlorecommends his top 5 ab wheel exercises in this article.
- Ab Wheel Rollout