Top 8 Must-Have Calisthenics Equipment for Insane Gain
One of the biggest beauty of calisthenics is that you don’t need equipment to work out. That doesn’t mean calisthenics gears are useless. They are great to make you progress faster and prevent injuries.
In weight training, external equipment such as dumbbell is a must. There you no way to train without the external weight. As opposed to that, calisthenics equipment is more of an assistance tool rather than a necessity. You can live without them for sure, but with the correct gear, you are likely to progress your bodyweight exercises much faster, and safer.
Here is our top picks of calisthenics equipment for home workout, whether you're beginner or experienced athletes:
- Weight Vests
- Gymnastic Rings
- Wrist Wraps
- Resistance Bands
- Dip Belt
- Pull-up Bar
- Ab Wheel
This is the ultimate test of your calisthenics capability. Can do 15 pull-ups without breaking a sweat? Try to do with a weight vest. Your number will drop dramatically on the first try. But keep doing it you will gain significant strength in no time.
Calisthenics exercises is all about lifting own bodyweight. We adjust the training difficulty by changing the leveraging because we can’t change our bodyweight freely. With a weight vest, bodyweight workout has become even easier to customize.
Comparing to all other option, a weighted vest is best calisthenics equipment to make everything weighted. Thus everything becomes a resistance workout. Muscle building and fat reducing at a better rate.
Grav Weight Vest is compatible with all training styles. It is compact (only covers upper torso) and does not limit your range of motion. It also attaches to your body with a snug fit with comfort. So you can perform your favourite bodyweight workout, at a harder difficulty. Running, jumping, handstand, push-up or whatever.
It is important to pick a weight vest with adjustable weights. This way, you can easily scale any calisthenics exercise's difficulty. Best of both worth of bodyweight workout and weightlifting.
Nothing beats a pair of gymnastic rings in calisthenics training. It is a portable gym that you can bring around and build crazy strength anywhere. It is so famous solely because of one of its characteristics: instability.
Do you ever feel you can do push-up and pull-up so effortlessly to the point they became boring exercise? Try them at the gymnastic rings. The instability will make you trembling and shaking like never before.
To combat it, your body will start to recruit all the muscle fibres it could and building nerves adaption rapidly. This stimulates your body coordination and muscles at a much deeper level. And this is how you getting closer to superhuman strength.
Grav Gymnastic Rings are not your usual rings, it was made to optimize your workflow and last a lifetime.
- You can adjust both rings to the exact same level within seconds with carabiners with numbered loop straps
- No more wasting time guessing and adjusting straps, focus more on the workout.
- Super comfortable grip with treated wooden rings that age well like fine leather.
- Withstand up to 400kg.
If you are looking to invest in your first calisthenics equipment and level up your workout, a pair of gymnastic rings are probably going to be your best investment.
Our wrist is often the limiting factors to many cool calisthenics skills like planche, muscle-up and handstand. To execute those exercises with proper form you need strong yet flexible wrists.
Wrist wraps do only one thing and do it well: compress and stabilize the wrist joints. The first you will notice after putting on a pair of wrist wraps with proper tightness is that your grip strength is doubled. You are able to hold the bar longer, do more reps, trying a more challenging progression.
Wrist wraps can effectively prevent hyperextension, which is the usual cause of injury. This happens a lot when you are placing the wrists in an awkward position. Planche progression is a good example. Your wrists are the main joint to control the leaning forward center of gravity.
Grav Wrist Wraps introduce the support your wrists need in the simplest form. It has no thumb loops, no velcro fasteners. It uses a long piece of cotton and lace at the end.
Do not baffle by the simple design, it can generate more compression than you needed and support your wrists. Just grab and twist for quick tightness adjustment on the go without redo the wrapping.
Parallettes does basically two things:
1. Elevate your hand position from the floor
They also introduce variation to calisthenics exercises. Variation is good for muscle growth. The elevated hand position means you can do push-ups with lower depth than on the floor. Deeper stimulation to the chest and shoulder and bigger gain.
Parallettes also make certain workouts easier. L-sit is a great example. Doing l-sit on the floor is a lot harder than on a pair of parallettes, because that movement requires strong abs and hip flexors. The elevated body position allows you to hold a not-so-strict L-sit as your legs are dropping.
2. Giving you a neutral wrist position
Why does this matter? In calisthenics, you spend all your time on the floor (besides on the bars and rings) doing all kinds of pushing exercises like push-ups and handstands. Parallettes put your wrist in a straight posture so you don’t have to press them hard on the floor. Think push-up and handstand.
One biggest stereotype of resistance band: it is for the beginners. Big no. A resistance band is one of the most versatile tools that you can use for:
- Making your calisthenics exercise harder for bigger gain, or easier for faster progression.
- Dumbbell replacement, use it as external weight.
- Conditioning work
Resistance band is a godsend for calisthenics. Sometimes the gap between two progression can be too far apart, and a resistance band is a great tool to fill the gap.
For example, you might be learning for your first pull-up. You can do a negative pull-up perfectly but you still don’t get the ‘feel’ of how to properly retract the shoulder blades at the bottom and bring your body up. Connect your feet to the bar with a resistance band, your body weight is lightened. Now, you are able to complete the pull-up with a full range of motion, learn the proper technique, gain the necessary strength. Eventually, get rid of the assistance.
Resistance bands are cheap
A set of good quality rubber resistance band doesn’t cost more than 30 bucks. If you get more than one, they often comes in bundles for greater value.
They are generally very long-lasting as well, making this even a must-have tool for any calisthenics lovers.
Resistance bands are super lightweight
They don't weigh more than a couple of pounds, so you can bring them with yourself wherever you go. You won't find any other lighter equipment on this article.
They are also very easy to store
They are easy to carry with you everywhere, you can store them in your gym bag and take up almost no space at all.
Dip belt is another great calisthenics equipment to add weight on top of your bodyweight. Unlike weighted vest usually comes with a weight limit, you can load way higher weight on the dip belt.
You can tie weight such as kettle bells, plates, or even dumbbell to your waist. You can go as heavy as you want. They usually can hold up to 1000kg.
They are great for exercise in the upright position, like the pull-ups and dip. That's the reason you will see most of the calisthenics competition are using dip belt for weighted pull-ups or dip.
If you think you have solid core strength, put them into test with an ab wheel.
It's basically two wheels connected by a steel bar, you are supposed to hold the ends of the bar and perform various abdominal movements (roll forward or backward, come up onto your feet).
One big upside about ab wheel is they are not made for super hard ab roll-out only. There are dozen of ways to perform easier variation with them.
If you are a total beginner, make the roll-out by:
- Performing the rolling to the wall. So the wall (or any obstacles) can stop you before losing control and slam your face to the ground.
- Using your knees instead of feet. When you get stronger and more confident, try to straighten up the legs at the bottom position. You can do them seated as well.
- Keeping a shorter distance between the knee and wall. So you can keep better control of your body weight.
Pull Up Bar
A pull up bar is a must have for many essential bodyweight workout such as pull up and muscle up. Pull up bars are available in multiple forms:
Wall mounted pull up bar
Wall mounted is the most sturdy and safe way to install pull up bar at home. The only thing you need to do is finding a place with a strong and stable structure on the wall and install it by using screws and anchors.
Make sure you get a bar that is wide and deep enough so you can perform other movement such as front lever, you will need that extra depth else you head or legs will be restricted by the wall.
Some wall mounted bar can be install on the ceiling as well. The upside is that it doesn't cost the horizontal space in your living space as the wall mounted option does. But the downside is that you will need to use a ladder or stool in order to get on top of it, if you have a high ceiling.
Freestanding pull up bar
The biggest advantage is they don't need installation at all. They are portable and fordable in most designs. Just prepare a space and you are good to go.
The downside is that they tend to be less sturdy than the wall mounted option, so if you are heavier or more heavy-handed then we don't recommend this bar for you. There's nothing wrong with freestanding pull up bars but just know there limitations too.
Doorway pull up bar
This is the most common bar you will find in most households. They are basically a straight bar with expandable mechanism to be fixed on the doorway.
They may seem solid but in reality they are not made for heavy use and if you do pull up on regular basis (more than once a week) we suggest investing in something more robust. Also make sure to check the bar before buying it, because some aren't well-built and can break easily when weight is applied onto them.
Build your calisthenics home gym today
If you’ve been wanting to build your calisthenics home gym, but don’t know where or how to start – these equipment will help you on the journey of building muscle and unlocking new skills.
You don't need to pick all our recommendations up, even one or two equipment from above will take you far enough before you need another.