Heading to the gym every day can be a drag on both your finances and your time.
Instead of heading to a common area facility, invest in some great calisthenics equipment and you can do your workout anywhere, anytime!
Essentials for Calisthenics
If you’re ready to get out of the gym and get into calisthenics, there’s some essential equipment you need to make sure you’re getting the most from your workout.
The list may seem long, but most items can be found for a reasonable price so you won’t break the bank when you decide to make the switch from the gym!
First up on our list is the classic pull-up bar. These come in two more common designs: free-standing and in-doorway pull-up bars.
The free-standing pull-up bar stations will typically allow you to also be able to do dips or other exercises. These stations do take up a lot of room so if you’re in a smaller house or apartment you might want to look at the other options.
In-doorway pull-up bars attach to your doorframe and allow you to install them anywhere in your home or office.
You can also get similar designs that hang on your wall but unlike the doorway models, they can’t be easily removed if you need to travel or you want to move your home gym set up around.
Often, you’ll find them included in a power tower set up. These power tower setups often have both a dip station and a pull-up station. The power tower design is bulky and takes up more room so be sure you have space before purchasing one of them.
These are small, very portable parallel bars that work well when you want to build up your upper body and enhance your core strength.
You’ll want to be sure when purchasing this particular piece of equipment that you’ve got the right height, correct setup, and that you understand the form you’ll be using when on the bars themselves.
There are dozens of different exercises you can do on this piece of equipment including push ups and ab workouts!
Training with these in your home gym is an excellent way to help acclimate yourself to the idea of bodyweight programs. By using these bars, you can reduce the amount of leverage that might otherwise give you pain when supporting your body weight in different ways.
Having helped to do push-ups gives you an option to reduce the pressure on your shoulders and other muscles as well.
Resistance bands are an extremely versatile piece of calisthenics equipment!
Whether you’re young and in great shape or you’ve gotten up there in years and need to rebuild your muscles, these simple little bands will get you where you want to go.
There are lots of different lengths, exercises, and resistance styles available so you can tailor them to your exact needs. You can also use resistance bands to replicate lots of different machine workouts without the need for big pieces of equipment.
Since these are easy to transport, you can take your workout with you on your next vacation, company trip, or do your fitness routine at home.
You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to go through an Olympic style workout!
With gymnastics rings, you’re able to boost and manipulate your body weight to work different areas and muscle groups. Gymnastic rings are usually hung from the ceiling or beams in your basement or garage.
The biggest thing with gymnastic rings is that they need to be securely attached to the building or structure you’ll be exercising in. This makes them steady but not portable for on-the-road workouts.
The balance that it takes to successfully use gymnastic rings gives you the same kind of training that the parallelette bars would with more room for varied exercises.
Without the resistance from gym machines, you may feel like you’ve hit a plateau or could when it comes to calisthenics or bodyweight workouts.
Adding a weight vest is a cheap way to equip your home gym for callisthenic workouts without having to buy machines or dozens of dumbbells.
Using a weighted vest is one way to build up resistance to get stronger but it also gives you the chance to build explosive power. They also allow you to customize your approach.
If you want to use a weight vest for specific exercises and leave it off for others, you’ll see progress in the targeted muscle groups.
An ab roller or exercise wheel is a great way to mix up your ab routine.
Instead of doing crunches and sit-ups one more time, this helps you work your abs and core without stress on your neck and back during your routine.
You can do plenty of different exercises with this machine and keep your routine spicy!
To level up with crunches or sit-ups, you often have to go with quantity instead of a move and form. With the ab roller, you can switch things up easily so your routine won’t get stale and you’ll continue to progress.
Ab rollers work your core while also working the areas of your arms normally enhanced by push ups.
Foam rollers have made their way onto the scene in the past few years as a cure for everything from back pain to cramps in your legs.
Make sure that you have one in your callisthenic arsenal if you’re serious about using bodyweight exercises to reach your fitness goals.
This equipment puts pressure on your muscles and problem areas to help loosen tight spots and help your body recover.
Foam rollers help you recover faster and better than just doing without them. There are lots of different moves you can use that will help you use the foam roller effectively.
In addition to recovery, the foam roller helps you become more flexible and better able to tolerate the stress you’ll put on your body while working out.
Not everyone can afford a professional massage at the end of their training time!
But, that being said, a massage and targeted muscle relaxation is one way to help your body recover more quickly and be ready to go through your routine the next day.
A massage gun is an easy way to massage your muscles yourself. No need to rely on someone else or attempt to communicate with someone else to find your trouble spots or areas.
The massage gun has a variety of different settings and heads so you can hit the right area every time whether you’re tired from push-ups or going through a routine on the power tower.
With your muscles relaxed and ready, you’ll be able to go through your routine with ease!
Equipping your Home Calisthenics Gym
There are dozens of different brands and designs for each essential piece of calisthenics equipment.
We’ve brought together some of the best brands and specific pieces of equipment that you can use in your home gym!
1. Whatafit Resistance Bands Set
Resistance bands are extremely flexible when it comes to the type of exercises you can perform with them.
You can do everything from leg lifts to arm workouts and this brand is one of the best!
The set comes with 11 pieces and includes a waterproof bag.
The bands range from 20-50 pounds and the set includes ankle straps to give better resistance for the lower body.
- Includes 11 different bands
- Door anchor included
- The carry bag is waterproof
- Wide range of resistance
- Shorter length can be hard to work with
Exercise Bands with Door Anchor, Handles, Waterproof Carry Bag, Legs Ankle Straps for Resistance Training, Physical Therapy, Home Workouts
- Strong wear resistance and great elasticity, non-slip handle, comfortable and absorbent
- Resistance band is made of natural latex is kind to the environment
2. ONETWOFIT Multifunctional Wall-Mounted Pull-Up Bar
A solid pull-up bar is another great investment for your home calisthenics gym.
You can do plenty of different exercises with the pull-up bar and pull-ups themselves work several different areas of the body.
The ONETWOFIT pull-up bar gives you a solid platform that you can use for dips, chin-ups, and pull-ups and the entire system can be catered to fit the needs of the user.
The entire system uses metal and remains very durable even after multiple uses.
- Offers a complete workout station for your home
- Works for chin-ups and pull-ups with handles to use for dips
- Supports up to 440 pounds
- Bigger size takes up a lot of room
Dip Station for Indoor Home Gym Workout,Power Tower Set Training Equipment Fitness Dip Stand Supports to 440 Lbs OT126
- Tear resistant,Well-padded,high density
- Padded back and arm cushions provide comfort as you work out
Work Out in the Great Outdoors: Outdoor Calisthenics Equipment
Half of the fun of calisthenics is that you can work out anywhere you want!
No need to always find the nearest gym or limit yourself because you can’t use the machines.
Working out outside gives you plenty of fresh air, sunshine, and lots of open space to do your routine in peace. But to get a solid workout, you need some unique equipment!
1. KT Toes Don’t Touch Ground Foldable Free Standing Pull-Up Bar
For the most part, you don’t want to leave your workout equipment out in the elements.
This product makes it easy to go from indoors to out with a foldable design. The tower gives you plenty of options when it comes to workouts and the height is easy to adjust for anyone taller or shorter than expected.
You can easily adjust this without the need for extra tools too!
- Easy to fold up and store
- Lightweight for easy carrying from place to place
- Adjustable height makes it easy for anyone to use
- Won’t support the same amount of weight as others as its made of a thinner framework
Very few portable self-standing pull up bars for home/office in the market are higher than 92.5 inches. Because some adverse problems will arise if products are made too high: products’ll be unstable, too bulky, or expensive delivery costs. But, our innovative design can solve these problems to meet well the users’s needs. The max height of this Model KT1.1520 is 100.4'' so your feet will not touch the ground. I myself put a KT Pullup Stand right next to my desk - and after an hour of sitting, I stand up to swing body and do pull-up. SO REFRESHING ! All the muscles and system of tendons and bones are completely stretched after tired working hours.
- High Quality Pull Up and Chin Up
- Safe For All Your Family Member
2. RELIFE REBUILD YOUR LIFE Dip Station
If you want a durable, easily customized station, this takes the cake!
Personalize your training experience with this setup and choose between using the system for dips or as parallettes.
The bars can be distanced and adjusted to suit your needs with four holes on each side.
The dip station is made with steel and you can choose between two different color finishes.
- High-quality, heavy-duty design
- A stabilizer system is built-in
- Switch between dips and parallettes
- Lower weight support; only goes up to 300-pound weight limit
Dip stands made of heavy duty steel and supports to 300LBS, durable steel construction provides safety assurance during exercise. 4 holes each sides for adjustable with pull knob, just pull the knob a little bit, you can move the rod, then adjust the holes you want.
- Perfect for bar exercises, dips, pull ups, push ups, leg raise, bench press and more, works arms, chest, back and muscles
- Rubber feet, safety connector makes your exercise more comfortable and easier
Portable Calisthenics Equipment
Just like you may want to take your equipment out on the lawn for a change of pace, it’s inevitable that you’ll need to head out of town for one reason or another, and being able to take your calisthenics machinery with you is essential.
To do that, you want to be sure that your equipment is still sturdy but easy to move and store.
1. INTEY Pull Up Assist Band
Rather than haul around a lot of different bands, this set is condensed down to just four with different colors so you can easily tell which one you need to use depending on your fitness level and designated activity.
Beginners start with a red band that comes in at 35 pounds then you can run up to 125 pounds for the green option and purple which also offer extended length.
Each band is made up of latex and remains a safe alternative for any type of calisthenics workout.
- Four bands of varying resistance levels
- Made of durable latex material
- Able to be used on all different types of moves
- May cause allergic reaction if sensitive to latex
Exercise Resistance Bands for Workout Body Stretch Powerlifting Set of 4.
- Four bands of varying resistance levels
- Made of durable latex material
Prosource Fit Trainer
This option for a pull-up and chin-up bar is easy to set up and take down if it happens to be in your way.
The bar itself attaches to hooks you set up within the arch of your doorway and will fit doors from 24-36 inches.
The handgrips are covered in foam so you’ll always have a comfortable and secure grip.
The entire thing is made of high-grade steel and can hold up to 300 pounds. It’s also backed by a limited lifetime warranty!
- Made up of heavy-duty steel
- Fits in nearly any doorway
- Optional folding design
- Grip covers make for a comfortable and secure hold
- Won’t support as much weight as other brands
Shake up your standard workout with the Core Balance Disc from ProsourceFit, designed to activate your core muscles and improve overall strength and balance. The unstable surface requires your body to engage all of your core muscles for stability, resulting in better strength and toning, coordination, and posture. The 14" diameter makes for a compact and versatile exercise tool that will help increase your fitness level and abilities.
- Comes with a free hand pump to easily inflate and deflate to your preferred level of firmness
- Dimensions: 14” diameter, 3” height; Weight: 2.2 lbs; Made of PVC
Weighted Calisthenics Equipment
Maybe you feel like you’ve hit a wall when it comes to callisthenic workouts. If that’s the case, add in some equipment that will give you greater resistance and added weight so your workouts continue to show progress.
This equipment lets you move freely and continue working out and progressing on your fitness goals without undue burden on your joints or muscles.
1. Aduro Sport Adjustable Weight Vest
This vest allows you to add adjustable weight options to your routine. The entire contraption has adjustable straps so you’ll be sure to get a perfect fit each time you put it on.
There are four different levels to this vest including a 4-10 pound, 11-20 pound, 20-32 pound, and 26-46 pound option. Within the vest itself, weighted bags add resistance to your workout so you can customize it to suit your routine.
- Adjustable weight
- Add up to 46 pounds to your vest
- Built-in pockets for weighted bags
- Reaches a threshold for added weight
Add strength training to your cardio workout with the Aduro Sport Weighted Vest. It helps you gain strength, burn additional calories, and increase your endurance and agility regardless of your activity.
- Aduro weighted vest adds extra resistance evenly to body weights, it will not slip and slide during any activities
- Mesh pocket on the back of this workout equipment saves room for you to add extra weight pockets if needed
2. Hawk Fitness Dip Belt
A dip belt adds more resistance to the move and any exercises in the same realm.
Mesh along the interior of the belt makes it more durable and chains keep the belt in place as well as adds more resistance to the move.
The belt can handle a weight of up to 300 pounds while the padding included makes it comfortable to wear for longer periods.
- Chain means a more secure fit
- Used for different exercises
- Lined with mesh fabric which makes it durable
- Limited fit and possibly only works for smaller people
This dipping belt comes from a team of power lifters and strong men who have considered all the requisite and complications of mens weightlifting belts for dips while designing this chain belts for women. A workout belt provides a wall for your abs to push against the added force with limited space means increased anterior pressure that helps to stabilize the spine during weight lifting. FEATURES: 36’’ long chain belt for lifting with two sided hooks for chain adjustment. 6mm thick dip and pullup bar belt / gym belt for men makes the ideal chin up belt for dipping and pull up belt . Rounded edges are comfortable to grasp and are skin friendly weight belt for dips . Genuine mesh lining chin ups belt for lifetime durability and comfort-ability. Heavy duty stitching increases the life and looks of the weighted belt womens weightlifting belt for women . Embraces the core to reduce stress on the spine during heavy workouts weight lifting dip belt . Top level rivets that would hold the weight belt with chain together for years to come.
- The Dipping Belt has been fully tested by a wide range or athletes and is also proving extremely popular in commercial gym
- The Dipping Belt can stand up to the stress caused by holding extremely heavy weights
Frequently Asked Questions
Switching from the gym machines to calisthenics is a serious undertaking!
Rather than diving in headfirst and find yourself floundering, it’s best to ask all of your questions up front and get the answers you need.
Once you’re set, you can start incorporating calisthenics into your daily workout regimen!
Before you start on any new training regimen, be sure that you talk with your doctor or healthcare provider to be sure that you can safely go about the program.
Do You Need Equipment for Calisthenics?
For most people, the idea of calisthenics brings to mind images of armed forces workouts and endless jumping jacks. But the routines that make up the program allow you to use equipment or not according to your overall plan and preferences.
You can go through an entire routine without using any equipment and utilize only your bodyweight as resistance.
If you want to up your game and push yourself to the limit, you can start working on new types of equipment that will help you with resistance and form.
Are 20 Minutes of Calisthenics Enough?
A little exercise goes a long way! Just like any workout plan, the results and goals of each person are unique and require you to evaluate what exactly you want before you start.
If you’re ready and willing to do more intense training sessions 20 minutes may be very effective. To lose weight, you’ll need longer sessions with calisthenics to see results.
For just beginners, 20 minutes is a great starting point and you can always adjust the time once you begin.
Is it Possible to Build Muscle with Calisthenics?
It’s hard to get our minds off the idea that we might not have to hit the weight machines at the local gym to get shredded!
Bodyweight exercises like calisthenics have been shown to improve and increase lean muscle mass over time when done consistently.
It’s also been shown to increase muscle thickness which makes it a good choice if you want to work on your overall body composition.
Keep your goals in mind as you set about creating a workout strategy and focus the unique exercises on those parts of the body.
Can anyone do Calisthenics?
These exercises can be as high or low-intensity as you choose!
Start slow and build your way up to a more in-depth workout as your body changes and strengthens.
Once you get up to a more intense level of the routine, you’ll see more dramatic differences in your body.
Take care of yourself as you go along and utilize both the foam roller and the massage gun in our list.
These will help you work knots out of your muscles and be ready for the next session. Taking care of problems when they’re small and manageable is the best way to care for your body when starting a new routine.
Move away from the image of dozens of people doing jumping jacks in synchronization when you think of calisthenics!
There are so many different ways to customize and get a quality workout when using bodyweight workouts like calisthenics.
Up your game more with some simple equipment! Rather than heading to the gym each day to achieve results.
Calisthenics and calisthenics equipment can be taken almost anywhere so you can pack up your workout gear and head outside or down the road.
By switching to a bodyweight workout, you’ll start to see your lean muscle growth in no time, and being stuck in the gym will just be a distant memory!
Dr. Ahmed Zayed holds a bachelor’s degree in medicine from Alexandria university and is a practicing plastic surgeon. He’s our expert on all things nutrition, medicine, rehabilitation, and flexibility. Dr.Ahmed has been a medical content writer for more than 11 years and his work reached top publications such as the HuffingtonPost