Tyler has had over 20 years of experience in sports and physical exercise. He utilizes scientific methods such as progressive overload and macro calculations, as well as mental techniques like mind muscle connection in his training. He shares his teachings as senior coach at Total Shape. Read more more about us here.
A guide about picking calisthenics equipment? Really? Isn’t it all about using your own body weight without any equipment?
Yes, if you’re just starting.
Some specialized items from this list may come in handy for those who want to perfect advanced movements and fully benefit from this type of workout.
What Equipment Do I Need for Calisthenics?
Here’s the equipment you may need for calisthenics workout, although it depends on numerous factors. Of course, we’ve discussed them, too. So, keep reading.
Calisthenics Dip Bars
Dip bars may be a fantastic partner in strengthening your upper body.
You can choose between separate and fixed dip stands. Fixed ones are bigger and safer but not adjustable, whereas separate ones are easily portable and adjustable but sometimes unstable.
Although dip bars might be pricey and big, they allow you to perform various core exercises like dips, L-sits, V-sits, pull-ups, handstands, etc. And if you’re creative enough, you can make them using things you have at home, or you can get parallettes instead.
Calisthenics Power Tower
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced athlete, a power tower can help you bring your workout to the next level.
With a set of dip, pull-up bars, and some other useful grips, it’s one of the most practical pieces of calisthenics equipment. As a functional all-in-one piece, a power tower allows you to perform multiple simple and complex movements.
Even though a power tower takes up a bit more space, I’d highly recommend it because it’s great value for the money, safe, stable, and comfortable.
Calisthenics Pull-Up Bars
You already know what front and back lever, muscle-ups, pull-ups, and other such exercises mean for your biceps, pecs, and lats. And you can do them all with just a pull-up bar.
Depending on your workout type, available space, and other factors, you may choose one of these pull-up bars:
Whichever type of pull-up bar you pick, make sure it’s stable, adaptable, and allows you a comfortable non-slip grip.
Gymnastic rings allow you to perform a variety of advanced bodyweight exercises for boosting strength, upper body muscles, and achieving proper balance. But get ready for a serious challenge as they’ll be waaaaay more difficult!
I highly recommend gym rings to intermediate or advanced athletes, but not to beginners because they require outstanding strength and balance.
They’re affordable, light, and easy to set up. You can hang them anywhere, even on a tree.
Just make sure that they are good quality for safety reasons, and with adjustable straps to put less strain on your joints.
Resistance bands are versatile, light, and cheap, available in various materials and sizes - ideal for home workout.
Plus, both beginners and seasoned athletes can equally benefit from them.
Bands either add resistance to make your movements harder and help you progress through particular exercises, or they take resistance away to make exercises easier if you lack strength.
I’d recommend getting a set of bands with different resistance levels for different exercises.
Another piece of equipment fantastic for warm-up, stretching, coordination, burning calories, and intensive cardio training is a jump rope.
Whether you choose a light rope or one with weights in the handles, you may achieve fantastic results. Just ensure the rope length is adjustable and it has non-slip handles that provide your sweaty palms a secure grip.
Weighted vests can enable serious athletes to step up their game by adding extra weight and resistance while reaching advanced stages of various progressions.
I don’t think those just starting out should rush to buy a weighted vest until they become strong enough and know how to perform all the movements correctly to avoid injuries.
A weight vest might be pricey but it’s worth the money if you want to increase your training intensity, muscle mass, and strength faster.
If you’d like to engage all your abs, lower back muscles, arms, shoulders, and chest, adding an ab wheel to your arsenal would be sensible.
You can use it to add resistance when doing various bodyweight exercises and progressions, on your knees, toes, on a sloped surface, with one hand, etc. as long as it’s non-slip with comfortable handles.
Also, it’s easy to disassemble so you can take it with you wherever you want.
Wrist and hand issues like blisters and calluses are usually unavoidable when you exercise hard. The right pair of workout gloves can help protect your hands, improve your grip, and evenly distribute the weight you’re lifting.
With or without fingers, gloves are helpful as long as they’re flexible, made from excellent materials, and provide good wrist support and hand protection.
What to Consider When Buying Calisthenics Equipment
To help you make an informed decision and create the most efficient and practical workout environment for yourself, let’s point out several important factors that may affect your choice for a calisthenics equipment.
Your Training Goals and Level
Newbies and pro athletes don’t need the same gear because their fitness levels and training goals greatly differ.
When it comes to building a home gym, the most important thing you need to do is be honest with yourself. Do a 'needs analysis' for yourself. Be realistic about your goals and what's necessary. This will help get you started on what steps need to be taken first.
- Thomas Boatswain, Personal Trainer
So, what are YOU trying to achieve?
The calisthenics equipment and items you choose should align with your goals and enable you to make progress in your focus areas.
Available Space and Equipment Size
It would be wise to think about the equipment size and whether you have enough space to move around it, exercise, and store it when you’re not using it.
Someone who can dedicate only a small part of a room to a workout corner won’t be able to do the same type of training and buy the same gear as someone who can use a spare room, garage, or backyard as a calisthenics gym.
Another key factor that’s likely to determine the pieces you’ll buy is their price.
If you’re on a tight budget, you’d probably consider cheaper or secondhand options. But make sure they meet your specific goals, skills, and needs. Otherwise, it’s a waste of money.
You don’t have to buy it all at once. Think carefully and start slowly. Plan how to get more bang for your bucks without compromising quality.
How Difficult It Is to Put Together and Install
I believe the pieces that may be best for your home workout are the portable ones that are quick and easy to put together and install.
Especially when you’re short of space and time, getting something simple to assemble and disassemble is critical. Also, make sure all the gear’s sturdy and safe.
Can You Do Calisthenics Without Equipment?
Yes, you CAN do calisthenics without equipment. That’s the beauty and simplicity of it! You can do it anywhere, anytime.
If you seriously decide to move from the foundational to the advanced level of calisthenics, it would be helpful to get at least essential gear to maximize your home setup.
It’s usually inexpensive and doesn’t take up too much space, whereas it can help you get the most out of your workouts.
Benefits of Setting Up Your Calisthenics Home Gym
Building your workout zone at home makes perfect sense if you’re focusing on doing calisthenics exercises.
You probably don’t want to waste money on gym fees to get access to the gear designed for other types of training. A treadmill won’t help you improve your diamond push-ups, right?
Although going to a gym helps some people stay motivated, working out at the comfort of your home has various benefits.
It’s tailor-made for crushing your goals.
A customized home gym based on your workout needs and preferences can boost your performance and progression faster and easier than any other because you’ll have exactly what you need to strategically meet your goals.
It saves you lots of time.
If your lifestyle is hectic, a home gym is a perfect choice because you don’t have to worry about commuting. You can work out when it suits you best without waiting for a machine to free up or glancing at a watch, worrying how to pick up your kids from school or make it to work on time.
It’s more affordable in the long run.
The average gym membership cost in the USA is $58 per month.  But, the real costs greatly vary and range from $49 to $135. Plus, common additional costs aren’t included in these estimated prices, e.g. initiation, freeze, suspension fees, travel costs, gym wear, and other surplus charges (personal trainers, locker rental, sauna).
Maybe your at-home gym costs will seem higher at first, but it’s worth considering as it may save you a lot in the long haul.
Full freedom in the privacy of your home.
Your personal gym is your private nook with your own rules. No more dull tunes, distractions by other people’s workouts or crowd unless you invite some friends to join you.
It’s safer and better maintained.
You’ll maintain your home gym better than any other employees would do in professional gyms. There’ll be no more neglected bars and handles covered in other people’s sweat or using public gym showers. Logically, your gear will be more durable and safer for your health.
Are Squats Calisthenics?
Yes, squats are calisthenics like many other types of widely known bodyweight exercises - crunches, lunges, dips, handstands, burpees, jumping jacks, etc.
Can Calisthenics Build Muscle Mass?
Yes, you can build muscle mass solely with calisthenics, especially with weighted calisthenics workout, and by increasing the difficulty level of your exercises, although it’s trickier.
For instance, instead of doing standard push-ups, you could get your feet elevated to build mechanical tension or do handstand push-ups to increase metabolic stress and muscular hypertrophy. Add the muscle-building foods, and you can make it.
How Many Times a Week Should You Do Calisthenics?
You should do calisthenics at least two times a week.  However, the frequency of your training sessions depends on your age, strength, exercise intensity, difficulty, your fitness level, and goals.
Can I Do Calisthenics at Home?
Yes, you CAN do calisthenics at home. For better effects, you may pick essential pieces of equipment that suit your budget and workout plans, and build your own home gym.
What Is the Best Calisthenics Equipment?
The best calisthenics equipment is the one you regularly use. Seriously!
To level up your game, you may want to get the essentials such as calisthenics bars, resistance bands, jump rope, or gymnastic rings, weighted vests, an ab wheel for more serious engagement.
Any piece of equipment that suits your fitness level and preferences is great.
Ready to start building your home gym? Already have any gear? Is it useful?
Share your thoughts with us.