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The Only Calisthenics Equipment Guide You Need

One of calisthenics’ main selling points is that you need only your body weight to have an effective workout and nothing else. While putting “calisthenics” and “equipment” in one sentence might seem like a contradiction, it isn’t.

These equipment actually enhance your routine, and still preserves the principles of calisthenics, with the equipment being small and light, yet durable and mostly inexpensive. They help you get the most of your workouts, especially if you want to intensify your training and learn more advanced movements.

Here we’ve compiled all the information you need: what you’ll want to get when starting out, how to use them, and additional equipment as you progress in your calisthenics journey. We’ve also included different accessories that will improve your experience.


Table of Contents


For Beginners

Jumping Rope


This is one of the best calisthenics equipment you can get starting out, and you may have already used one before.

It’s a fun and efficient way to warm up the whole body. Skipping slowly elevates your body’s temperature and heart rate. It also prepares the sensitive upper-body joints in your body (like the ones in your shoulders) way better than your usual jog.

It doesn’t weigh that much so you can take it anywhere. Aside from a change of scenery, it also helps you keep things interesting and challenging by adding new tricks to your routine. In turn, it improves your coordination and agility.

While using a jump rope may seem quite obvious, it doesn’t hurt to keep these few things in mind to avoid potential injury: make sure you wear proper footwear (non-slip and will help you move around with ease), and use them in an area that’s spacious enough where you can move around freely.

You can start with the regular single unders, then progress to doubles and triple unders. A few cool tricks to do would be side swings and crossovers.

Price range: starts at $7.99, can go up to $20 for an electronic version

Product recommendations:

 
DEGOL Skipping Rope with Ball Bearings Rapid Speed Jump Rope Cable and 6” Memory Foam Handles ($7.99)

multifun Jump Rope ($14.95)

 

Resistance Bands (or Pull Up Bands)

Another very basic piece, but a highly recommended tool when first starting out with calisthenics. You can use it in a lot of ways, but it’s mostly used for building up strength through exercises that may be simple but actually pushes the body to new limits.
You can buy a set which contains different bands of varying resistance, all of which you can use as you progress. Here are some exercise ideas that are simple, fun, and cause less strain on your joints and wrists that you can try out: the front squat, push ups, a lat pull-down, or a forward raise.

Do make sure when using these bands that you’ve stabilized your stance by having a proper grip and footing.

Aside from strength building (which adds resistance), you can also use them to take resistance away from an exercise. They can also be used for muscular recovery and injury rehabilitation.

Price range: usually starts at $25.99

Product recommendation: 

WODFitters Stretch Resistance Pull Up Assist Band ($14.99)

 

Workout Mat

It’s the quintessential fitness staple and it’s for a good reason. A workout mat is very useful for performing exercises where you have to lie down or sit. It comes in different variations of thickness, but when it comes to practicing calisthenics where you mostly try to lift your body, it’s safer to get a thicker mat just in case you fall down. And for that added layer of safety, it’s pretty easy to store away.

Price range: starts at $20

Product recommendation: 

BalanceFrom GoYoga All-Purpose 1/4-Inch High Density Anti-Tear Exercise Yoga Mat with Carrying Strap ($18.74)

 

Gloves (or Grip Pads)

Calisthenics often puts an emphasis on having a proper grip, so it can be rough on your hands and wrists. It’s beneficial to wear grip pads or gloves as it can lessen your risk of injury by improving your overall hand grip. Do keep note that while useful, they don’t exactly stop your palms from sweating, but the next item on the list will tackle exactly that.

Price range: starts at $11

Product recommendation: 

PULLUP & DIP Neoprene Grip Pads ($11.90)

New Ventilated Weight Lifting Gloves with Built-In Wrist Wraps ($19.95)

 

Liquid Chalk

This is another tool used to improve your grip. Using chalk reduces sweat on your palms, which makes your hands less likely to be slippery and thus avoid injury. This also improves your ability to perform an exercise like pull-ups, where the chalk would ensure a steady grip on the bar and allow you to lift yourself up. Liquid chalk in particular is very convenient as it’s in a bottle, and it dries fast upon application.

Price range: starts at $8

Product recommendation: 

SPORTMEDIQ Pro Grade Liquid Chalk ($17.99/250mL)

 

Push Up Bars


It’s beneficial to train with push-up bars as it reduces joint strain and makes it a lot easier on your wrists. These increase your range of motion when doing exercises. They allow you to go deeper in your push-ups which then trains the chest muscles more. Aside from push-ups, you can also use them to practice your handstands.

We have included a version (the Perfect Pushup Elite by Perfect Fitness) that’s smaller but has rotating handles, which allows your arms to move the way it does when you throw a punch. This helps engage more upper body muscles like the shoulders, arms, chest, back, and your core muscles too.

Price range: $12-$30

Product recommendations: 

Redipo Push Up Bars ($12.99)

Perfect Fitness “Perfect Pushup Elite” ($29.99)

 

Parallettes


Parallettes are great for developing your upper body power, strength, and mass. It’s pretty easy to use that beginners will ease into it in no time. But newbie or not, hand grip once again is key. You need to always make sure that your wrists are straight—and not bent—when doing exercises on these.

While you can definitely do your push-ups on them, they’re often used to perform movements with a fuller range of motion like dips, L-sits, and V-sits. You can also practice your handstands, do core exercises, or something a little more advanced like planche training.

Price range: $30-$190

Product recommendations: 

Juperbsky Push-Up Stands Bars Parallettes Set for Workout Exercise ($29.99)

XL Parallette Bars ($79)

 

Dips Station


A set of parallel bars (like parallettes but bigger) which allows you to comfortably perform exercises that will give you upper body strength and mass. It can be used especially for dips and other exercises.

Dip stations, however, can get really big, but there are some varieties that are less bulky, like the Black Mountain one below.

Price range: $40-$120

Product recommendation: 

Black Mountain ($60.17)

ProsourceFit Dip Stand Station ($54.99)

 

Pull Up Bar


Acquiring a pull-up bar is essential to do pull-ups, which is great exercise to do to build strength in multiple muscles. As you’ll have to lift your entire weight with this, it’s extremely important that you buy a pull-up bar with great stability. Make sure it can hold you in position without breaking or falling midway of a pull-up.

A basic doorway pull up bar offers a wide variety of grips like a wide grip, close grip, or a hammer grip. You can do a supinated close grip if you want to focus on your biceps, or a pronated wide grip to focus on your back.

You can also choose to invest in a more advanced version than the rod in the door type. This enables you to do a variety of movements as you progress, like sit-ups, push-ups, and dips.

Price range: cheap ($25-$60)

Product recommendations: 

I IBIFIC Pull Up Bar ($48.99)

Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar ($29.90)


Weighted Vest


Weighted accessories can make an exercise harder and increase the intensity of your training. Beginners need not worry as you can always choose how much weight you start out with. Among the weighted accessories available, a weighted vest is a good choice as it doesn’t constraint your movement as much as other weights do.

Price range: starts at $30

Product recommendations: 

RUNFast/Max 20lbs No Shoulder Pads Adjustable Weighted Vest ($51.79)

Aduro Sport Weighted Vest 4lbs ($29.99)

 

Gymnastic Rings


Gymnastic rings are commonly used when doing calisthenics, especially when doing bodyweight row exercises. It greatly increases your strength and bodily control as extra stability is required in order to perform a movement. This boosts your muscle and connective tissue development. It’s versatile too: you can hang them high if you want to do pull ups, hang them chest-level to do dips or bicep curls, or hang them low to do push ups.

When you purchase your own set, you need to make sure that it’s of high quality material as you need to ensure your safety.

Price range: can be cheap ($25-$50), but good quality ones can go for more than $50

Product recommendations: 

PACEARTH Wooden Gymnastics Rings ($42.99)

RingTraining EXF Rings ($71.95)

 

Ab Wheel


This can really take your strength to the next level. It adds resistance and makes your own body weight work against your core. It helps you build a stable core and decreases your likelihood for injury. Not only does it target your abdominal muscles but also your lower back. But be sure to perform the exercises with the correct form: with a posterior pelvic tilt and straight arms. Beginners can make the movement easier by doing it on your knees, or harder by placing yourself on your toes.

Price range: $17-$40

Product recommendation: 

Ab Roller for Abs Workout ($24.97)

 

For Intermediate to Advanced

Fat Gripz


This equipment is a must-have and allows you to improve your grip. Aside from increasing your grip strength, it’s also a great way to add variety to your exercise routine when you feel things are getting a little stale.

Product recommendation: 

Fat Gripz ($29.95)

 

TRX Suspension Training Straps


This allows you to do a variety of exercises that you can perform anywhere, as long as you can find decent anchor points to hook them to. It’s portable, easy to set up, and helps you build impressive strength and size.

Price range: starts at $130 but there are other brands available for under $100

Product recommendation: 

TRX GO Suspension Trainer System: Lightweight & Portable ($129.95)

 

Battle Ropes


Battle ropes come in different lengths that will suit different kinds of users. They will help you build power, coordination, and endurance. When paired with exercises like burpees, it makes for an efficient cardio session that will definitely help you lose fat.

Price range: $50-$150

Product recommendations: 

AmazonBasics Battle Exercise Training Rope ($53.49)

POWER GUIDANCE Battle Rope ($109.99)

 

Power Tower


A power tower is aptly named as it allows you to do all the essential calisthenics exercises: dips, pull ups, leg raises, and more. But a downside is definitely the need for space. Before purchasing, make sure to take exact measurements to accommodate one and use it comfortably. You also need to take into account how far apart the dip bars are from one another to make sure that it’s the comfortable width for you. Of course, choose one with a stable build that won’t wobble when you use it.

Price range: $150-$200

Product recommendations: 

 

Sportsroyals Power Tower Dip Station ($179.99)

RELIFE REBUILD YOUR LIFE Power Tower ($179.99)

Weider Power Tower ($163.31)

 

For Recovery


Keep in mind that you need to put the same effort into recovery as you do for your workouts. This is important so that you don’t get injured. You can incorporate the following into your routine: warming up by stretching before and after your workouts, and foam rolling.


Foam Roller


Foam rolling increases and optimizes your motion by reducing tension and increasing muscle length. This can be included in your post-workout cooldown.

Price range: starts at $15

Product recommendation: 

The Original Body Roller - High Density Foam Roller Massager for Deep Tissue Massage ($18.99)