Best Calisthenics Equipment – Introduction
What is the best calisthenic equipment for better home workouts?
In a world of complicated workouts and impossible exercises, calisthenics is arguably the best training method for many home fitness enthusiasts.
Calisthenics, from the Greek words for beauty and strength, means bodyweight training and is one of the simplest, most accessible workouts around.
With calisthenics, your body is your gym, so you can work out anywhere and anytime.
Push-ups, squats, lunges, pull-ups, and dips are all common calisthenics exercises.
Believe it or not, you can burn fat, build muscle, and develop impressive levels of strength with calisthenics.
While you don’t need any equipment to train with calisthenics, there are a few items that could enhance your workouts.
In some cases, these tools will allow you to train your muscles with different movements.
In others, they make basic calisthenic exercises more effective or comfortable.
So, while none of these items are compulsory, they will add an extra dimension to your bodyweight workouts.
The Best Calisthenic Equipment for Better Home Workouts
Not sure how to start building your calisthenics home gym?
Here are a few ideas to get you started!
#1. Push-up bars
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your calisthenic workouts more effective and comfortable.
A simple set of push-up bars could be all you need to begin.
Push-up bars let you do push ups with a larger range of motion, increasing exercise difficulty and effectiveness.
Plus, they allow you to keep your wrists straight and use a parallel grip, which is often more comfortable than placing your hands flat on the floor.
Using push-up bars also gives you something to grip, which increases forearm, arm, shoulder, and chest muscle engagement.
So, if you only buy one calisthenics “toy,” push-up bars would be a great choice.
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Our favorite push-up bars also include:
- Perfect Fitness Push-Up Stands
- Pull-up and Dip Wooden Push-Up Bars
- Warrior Push-up Bars
- BodyTech Push-Up Bars
Parallettes are mini parallel bars.
You can use parallettes to increase your range of motion for push-ups and raise you off the floor for L-sits and handstands.
They’re helpful for people with wrist problems, as they allow you to keep your joints in a more neutral position compared to placing your hands flat on the floor.
Parallettes are sold in pairs and are small and compact enough to slide under your bed or in a cupboard between workouts.
A set of parallettes will make your upper body workouts more comfortable and effective.
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Other good options include:
- Body Power Parallettes
- Pull-up and Dip Wooden Parallettes
- Valor Fitness Parallettes
- Withgear Folding Parallettes
#3. Dip bars
While parallettes are great for push-ups and other low-to-the-ground calisthenic exercises, they don’t provide enough clearance for dips and other more dynamic movements.
Dip bars are taller, so they provide you with more room to move, making them ideal for dips (obviously!) and other exercises where you want to be higher off the floor, such as leg raises.
However, unlike fixed parallel bars, you can use your own dip station for a variety of exercises, including inverted rows, Bulgarian split squats, straight bar dips, and many others.
You can move them closer or further apart and also use them singularly.
Some can also be used on their sides, like angled parallettes.
Dip bars are not as portable as parallettes.
However, they’re still pretty light and compact, especially compared to a power tower.
Some have foldable legs so they can be stored flat.
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Additional dip stations that are an excellent choice include:
- Steady Japan Dip Stand Station
- Dripex Heavy Duty Dip Stand
- Prosource Dip Stand
- Westifal Adjustable Dip Station
#4. Gymnastics rings
Not so long ago, a suspension trainer was all the rage – thanks, TRX!
However, while suspension trainers DO add an extra twist to bodyweight training, they’re often very expensive and not really built to last.
Gymnastic rings can be used like suspension trainers, but they’re more versatile, hardwearing, and usually much less expensive.
A good set of rings can be used for upper, lower, and core training, and most can be used singularly or in pairs, too.
Great gymnastic ring exercises include push-ups, dips, inverted rows, roll-outs, and split squats.
They feel good in your hands, and the instability as the rings move makes every exercise more effective.
You WILL need a suitable overhead anchor for your rings, but if you’ve got one, using gymnastic rings will make your bodyweight workout much more challenging and varied.
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More good choices for gymnastic rings include:
- Double Circle Wooden Gymnastic Rings
- PACEARTH Non-Slip Gymnastic Rings
- Garage Fit Heavy Duty Gymnastic Rings
- GoorangeSY Stainless Steel Gymnastic Rings
#5. Isometric straps
Isometrics is a form of training where you push or pull against an immovable object, such as a wall or a very heavy weight.
However, arguably the most convenient way to apply overload to your muscles is with an isometric strap.
Using a strap, you can target every muscle in your body and train it at almost any angle.
Particularly effective isometric exercises include biceps curls, overhead presses, squats, and chest presses.
With isometric training, you push or pull as hard as possible, creating massive tension in the target muscles.
This means you can fatigue your muscles in a matter of seconds, making this type of workout very time efficient, not to mention joint-friendly.
While isometric training isn’t strictly calisthenics, nor does it involve lifting weights, hence its inclusion in this article.
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Some of our favorite isometric devices also include:
#6. Doorway pull-up bar
If you want to train your back with calisthenics, you’re going to need somewhere to do pull ups and rows.
Your options include wall or ceiling-mounted bars, freestanding bars, and power towers.
Unfortunately, all these options involve at least some construction, space, and, in the case of freestanding and power towers, quite a lot of money.
Doorway pull-up bars are compact, easy to install and remove, and usually pretty budget-friendly.
Most offer a range of grip positions and can also be used as anchor points for gymnastic rings.
Because you install them in a doorway, you won’t need much space for this type of pull-up bar.
They can be put away between workouts, so they won’t be a permanent fixture.
Some doorway pull-up bars can also be placed on the floor and used as push-up handles.
While a tall freestanding pull-up bar would make a great addition to any calisthenics gym, space, and budgetary constraints mean that they’re often impractical.
A doorway pull-up bar is the next best option.
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Additional doorway pull-up bar options include:
- Duonamic Doorway Travel Pull-up Handles
- Komsurf Foldable Doorway Pull-Up Bar
- Kakiclay Multi-Grip Doorway Pull-up Bar
- Iron Gym Doorway Pull-up Bar
#7. Weight vest
The biggest advantage of calisthenics training is also its biggest drawback – your own body weight.
As you get stronger, you’ll have no choice but to do more reps per set to fatigue and develop your muscles.
This probably won’t be much of an issue for upper body exercises like pull-ups, dips, and push-ups, but it is a significant disadvantage for leg training.
After all, sets of 50 or more squats and lunges are not very time-efficient and can be boring, too.
And while high-rep bodyweight exercises are great for building muscle and endurance, they’re not so suitable for building strength.
If you want to get REALLY strong, you need to go heavy or go home!
The solution to these issues is to temporarily increase your body weight.
You can use a backpack filled with household objects like books or water bottles, but that’s not always the most comfortable solution.
A better option is a weighted vest.
Weighted vests are close fitting, so they don’t move during your workout.
Most are adjustable, so you can add or subtract weight according to your workout needs – more weight for leg exercises and less for push and pull-ups.
A weighted vest can be a pretty hefty (pun intended) investment.
Still, they’re hardwearing and should provide many years of intense workouts.
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More excellent weight vest options include:
- MiR Short Weighted Vest
- Hyperwear Hyper PRO Weighted Vest
- Wolf Tactical Weighted Vest
- Kensui Pro Weighted Vest
Calisthenics Home Equipment – Wrapping Up
While you don’t technically need any equipment to do calisthenics, a few well-chosen items can make your workouts more effective, enjoyable, and comfortable.
For example, pull-up bars mean you’ll be able to train your back, while parallettes and dip bars will add a new dimension to your chest and core workouts.
Not sure where to start?
You can do almost everything, including push-ups, pull-ups, rows, and dips, with gymnastic rings.
All you need is somewhere to hang them, like a ceiling joist or tree branch.
Calisthenic equipment will add some much-needed variety to your bodyweight workouts and help prevent boredom and stagnation.
Even just one or two items will be enough to keep your training fresh and interesting.
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