Calisthenics Equipment

7 Most Useful Calisthenics Equipment Pieces

Calisthenics is great for building muscle without going to the gym. You can do a lot of calisthenics exercises without any equipment at all.

But there are some important calisthenics skills and exercises that can’t be done without equipment. For those exercises equipment is necessary.

For other exercises equipment can be used to give you more options in your workouts.

Calisthenics Equipment: Resistance Bands
Resistance Bands
Calisthenics Equipment: Exercise Mats
Exercise Mats
Calisthenics Equipment: Pull Up Bars
Pull Up Bars
Calisthenics Equipment: Dip Bars
Dip Bars
Calisthenics Equipment: Low Bars
Low Bars
Calisthenics Equipment: Weight Vests
Weight Vests
Calisthenics Equipment: Ab Rollers
Ab Rollers

What equipment do you need to do calisthenics?

There are several pieces of equipment you will want to have if you want to workout at home. Some calisthenics equipment is absolutely essential. Another is nice to have.

Must have calisthenics equipment

Calisthenics Equipment: Resistance Bands
Resistance Bands
Calisthenics Equipment: Exercise Mats
Exercise Mats
Calisthenics Equipment: Pull Up Bars
Pull Up Bars
Calisthenics Equipment: Dip Bars
Dip Bars

For me must have calisthenics equipment is:

For exercises like pull ups and chin ups pull up bar is an unavoidable piece of equipment. If you want to do dips you will also need dip bars. Bands are really essential for face pulls.

Bands will give you the ability to perform the widest variety of exercises.

For exercises you perform on the floor you would want an exercise mat. It’s especially important for stretching. Warm up and stretching are essential parts of every workout you do.

Nice to have calisthenics equipment

Calisthenics Equipment: Low Bars
Low Bars
Calisthenics Equipment: Weight Vests
Weight Vests
Calisthenics Equipment: Ab Rollers
Ab Rollers

Calisthenics equipment that you would also want to have:

  • Low bar
  • Weight vest
  • Ab roller

Although one of the pieces of equipment I bought in the very beginning was a low bar, I don’t think it’s absolutely essential.

If you have dip bars, those can be use as a great alternative to a low bar. Dip bars will give you more options than a low bar because you can use it for variety of exercises. On dip bars you can do dips as well as inverted rows and variants of those exercises.

Weight vest is another great addition to your home equipment. However, it’s not essential when you just start. It does have it’s place especially when you progress with your workouts. When you run out of options and can’t find progressions to make your exercises more challenging weight vest is a life saver.

Recently I got an ab roller. It gives me another option for core workout. Now I can’t imagine working on abs without it.

Resistance bands

In four years of training I found resistance bands to be the most important piece of equipment at my home gym.

It gives me the opportunity to work on the widest variety of exercise and target different muscle groups. Some exercises and muscle groups I can target when using bands are:

  • Face pulls
  • Pull ups
  • Band deadlifts
  • Neck
  • Biceps
  • Triceps

Resistance bands can help you both increase the difficulty of some exercises and decrease difficulty of others.

For example you can decrease the difficulty of your pull ups. You will use a band to make you feel lighter which will help you do more pull ups.

On the other hand, you can increase the difficulty of your dumbbell bicep curls. For example, you can do dumbbell bicep curls with a band.

Resistance bands will help you replace a need for some expensive equipment. It will enable you to do exercises that would otherwise be possible to do only with access to a gym.

For example, face pulls are excellent exercise for developing your rear delts. This is one of the most neglected muscle groups.

I found a band to be an indispensable piece of equipment for this exercise.

Resistance Bands

Calisthenics Equipment: Resistance Bands

Lixada Resistance Band Set

4 piece band set with door anchor

Unbranded Resistance Band Set

4 piece band set

Fabric Resistance Band Set

3 piece fabric band set

Exercise mat

Exercise mat is one of the most important pieces of equipment in my home gym setup.

If you want to prevent injury every workout must start with a warm up and end with a cool down. For this purpose having an exercise mat is a must. This is the first piece of equipment I bought for myself.

Exercise Mats

HemingWeight Exercise Mat

Extra thick 1″ Exercise Mat

Unbranded Exercise Mat

1/2″ Exercise Mat

ProsourceFit Exercise Mat

1/2″ Exercise Mat

Pull up bar

Once I was able to hang from a pull up bar, the pull up bar became my best friend. I can’t imagine calisthenics without a pull up bar.

When you think about calisthenics, probably the first thought that comes to my mind are exercises done on a pull up bar.

Pull up bar is not only great for pull ups. You can do some of the best core exercises on a pull up bar like knee raises, leg raises, knee twists, toes to a bar and so on.

It will also help you as an anchor for your band when you do face pulls, triceps pull downs, neck exercises and more.

Pull Up Bars

Yes4All Pull Up Bar

Wall mounted 50″x32″x31″

Rage Fitness Pull Up Bar

Wall mounted 52″x36″x24″

Frperce Pull Up Bar

Wall mounted 41.8″x23.5″x13.8″

Dip bars

Dip bars are excellent for dips. However, dip bars can also be used as an alternative for a low bar. If you have enough space in your home you should definitely get dip bars.

Unfortunately dip bars are still on my want list. The only reason I haven’t bought dip bars is the lack of space in my flat.

Because of that, whenever I want to do dips I’m forced to go to a park nearby that has dip bars. This makes it inconvenient when the weather is not nice.

Dip Bars

Sportsroyals Dip Bars

Hight adjustable up to 45.28″

Axinspoxt Dip Bars

Hight adjustable up to 40″

ISports Dip Bars

Hight adjustable up to 39.4″

Low bar

Low bar helped me progress to my first pull up. Without it I would have never been able to progress. I’m still using it in my regressions.

I’m still doing inverted rows, because it puts emphasis on different muscles than pull ups. This helps me build a stronger upper body.

Door Mounted Low Bars

Innstar Low Bar

Door mounted width 29.5″ – 37.4″

Hogimcty Low Bar

Door mounted width 28″ – 42.7″

Aoyar Low Bar

Door mounted width 29″ – 39.5″

Weight vest

Weight vest became one of the really important parts of my home equipment. When I was able to progress some of the exercises became too easy.

So, I needed to make them harder somehow. If I wasn’t I would be stuck and couldn’t progress.

Weight vest enabled me to go beyond body weight only. It helped me add difficulty where I couldn’t find another progression.

That was important so I could continue my progress and keep on adding muscle mass. Even where I thought no more progress could be made.

Weight Vests

miR Weight Vest

20 – 60 lbs options

RunMax Weight Vest

12 – 140 lbs options

Cross101 Weight Vest

20 – 140 lbs options

Ab roller

Ab roller is a nice addition to my home equipment. I don’t consider ab roller to be absolutely necessary.

I could definitely live without it. However it gives me another option when I want to work on my core.

Ab roller is not suited for beginners though. So be careful if you are just starting out. This might not be the best option for you.

Ab Rollers

Vinsguir Dual Wheel Ab Roller

3.2″ dual wheel up to 440 lbs load

Vinsguir Single Wheel Ab Roller

2″ single wheel up to 440 lbs load

Readaeer Dual Wheel Ab Roller

3.15″ dual wheel up to 800 lbs load

Do calisthenics build muscle?

Calisthenics sounds like fun. But is it worth it? Can you build muscle with calisthenics?

The shortest possible answer is yes it does. Calisthenics is basically a more loose kind of gymnastics. We have all seen gymnasts and how muscular they are.

So if you can build muscle with gymnastics, you can also build muscles with calisthenics.

Are calisthenics good for beginners?

Nobody ever started anything as an expert. We all start as beginners. And calisthenics is excellent for beginners.

If you start with basic calisthenics moves you are on your way. Basic moves are exercises like push ups, dips and pull ups.

Even if your current strength or flexibility doesn’t allow you to do some of those exercises there are always easier variants you can do. Those variants are called regressions.

How do beginners start calisthenics?

For example, when I started, I was far from my first pull up. I had arthroscopic shoulder stabilization surgery on both of my shoulders.

Even hanging from a pull up bar was something I couldn’t do. I lacked strength and flexibility. It even hurt me a lot when I first tried it.

I started in an inverted row position just by hanging from a low bar with my feet on the ground. This is what I could do because I didn’t have to have my hands facing straight up in the air.

That was something I couldn’t do at the beginning. I lacked flexibility.

I progressed with inverted rows otherwise called Australian pull ups. After that I was able to hang from a bar and perform pull up negatives.

It took me around three months when I was able to do my first pull up. I was both happy and impressed at that moment.

So, as a beginner, you will have to see what you can and what you can’t do. Then you start with calisthenics progressions appropriate for your current ability.

How do you train calisthenics at home?

I started training at home. At first I didn’t have any equipment at all. This didn’t stop me from starting.

It was a summer 2018. I started training by visiting a nearby park with low bars, dip bars and high pull up bars.

When it was raining I was training at home. I did what I could without equipment. But it was limiting.

That’s when I started acquiring necessary training equipment.

How do you set up a calisthenics gym at home?

I had a light resistance band at home already when I started working out. So I didn’t have to buy one when I started.

It helped me do several exercises like band deadlifts, face pulls, triceps pulldowns and biceps band curls. It’s one of the unavoidable pieces of equipment for home workout.

When I started buying equipment to train at home, first on my list was an exercise mat. Training on the floor was hurting my knees and elbows.

Laying on the floor without a mat was no fun at all. This is why the first item on my list was an exercise mat.

Second on my list was a low bar. The one I could install in a door frame. This helped me do inverted rows at home.

After a while when I was able to do my first few pull ups, I bought a pull up bar.

Then I bought a strong resistance band. This added more resistance to some of the exercises that got way too easy to do with light bands.

Light band was still great if I wanted to do pull up regressions to increase time under tension.

When I progressed even further my wife bought me a weight vest so I can progress even faster.

My son got an ab roller as a present from his friends. This is how an ab roller became a part of my home gym.

Another essential piece of equipment that is still on my wish list is dip bars.

To sum up, if I would build my home gym again I would definitely include the following equipment in it:

  • Resistance bands (light and strong)
  • Exercise mat
  • Low bar
  • Pull up bar
  • Dip bars
  • Weight vest
  • Ab roller

How much does calisthenics equipment cost?

According to Mike Beatty the average gym monthly membership costs around 50 USD.

If you want to buy bare essentials it will cost you from $180 – $285. If you want to buy all equipment listed here, it will cost you from $280 – $465.

This is excellent news for home workout enthusiasts.

For less money than you will spend on one yearly gym membership, you will be able to buy everything you need to train at home.

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