Are you a beginner looking to get into calisthenics and wondering where to start? If so, this guide might be helpful.
Calisthenics is a form of exercise that uses your body weight as resistance. So it is an affordable and accessible way to get fit. And it is perfect to do at home.
Since it is a body weight exercise, you might think the only equipment you need is your own body.
While that’s technically true. As a personal trainer, I believe using calisthenics equipment in your routine can help you progress faster and make your workouts safer.
In this blog, we’ll explore the best calisthenics equipment for your home gym, so you can start your fitness journey with confidence and ease.
For effective calisthenics training, I recommend adding these three types of equipment to your list.
- Exercise equipment
- Support equipment
- Recovery equipment
In a nutshell, exercise equipment are tools you need to help you perform the exercises. The support equipment are items that help prevent injury and increase the efficiency of your workouts.
And recovery equipment are tools that help you recover faster from your workouts.
So what do you need to start with calisthenics?
Let’s break it down.
Table of Contents
- 12 Calisthenics Equipment For Beginners
- FAQs About Calisthenics Equipment For Beginners
- What to do next?
12 Calisthenics Equipment For Beginners
Exercise equipment for calisthenics
In this section, I’ll discuss the different types of exercise equipment you need for calisthenics.
While you don’t need any equipment to begin calisthenics training. Eventually, you will want to invest in some tools that will make your workouts more efficient.
As a beginner in calisthenics training, I advise you develop strong upper body and functional muscles. And one equipment that can greatly assist you in this endeavor is a pull-up bar.
When you have this equipment, you can not only do pull-ups, but also hang other calisthenics gear from it, like resistance bands and gymnastic rings.
In addition, when performing pull-up exercises, you’re engaging multiple muscle groups simultaneously. It’s a compound exercise that targets your back, biceps, and core.
Using a pull-up bar also works wonders for your grip strength, which is essential for various calisthenics exercises like hanging leg raises and muscle-ups.
Types of pull-up bars
- Free-standing pull-up bars
- Wall-mounted pull-up bars
- Door-mounted pull-up bars
- Power towers
Some exercises you can perform on a pull-up bar are the following:
- Inverted hangs
- Leg Raises
- Ice cream makers
Here is a video tutorial from Chris Heria on how to perform pull-ups as a newbie:
Resistance bands offer a low-impact way to intensify exercises and target specific muscles. Picture them as your trusty elastic sidekicks, providing variable resistance as you stretch them.
If certain exercises, like pull-ups or dips, feel daunting, resistance bands can come to your rescue. Loop a band around the pull-up bar and secure it around your feet.
You’ve just made those challenging moves more beginner-friendly. You can change to a lighter resistance band as you progress, until you can do the exercises unaided.
Resistance bands can also add resistance to exercises that might feel too easy for you, like push-ups or squats. These bands provide constant tension, leading to improved muscle activation and joint stability.
Types of resistance bands
- Therapy bands
- Resistance tube bands
- Mini bands
- Figure 8 bands
- Lateral tube bands
- Super bands (for pull-ups)
Some exercises you can perform with resistance bands are the following:
Here is a video tutorial from Gornation on how to perform resistance band exercises:
Another calisthenics equipment that I recommend for beginners is parallels. Parallels are two bars that you place parallel and stand in between. These bars help you improve balance, which is a key component of calisthenics.
Using parallels in calisthenics training can help in several ways.
Firstly, it can allow greater motion in exercises such as dips and push-ups. By placing your hands in a neutral grip position, there is less pressure on your wrists, and you can dive deeper into those movements.
Secondly, the use of parallel bars can provide greater stability during exercises such as L-sits and handstands, allowing longer holds and better form.
Finally, parallel bars can increase the difficulty of certain exercises, such as push-ups and dips, as it requires greater stabilization and core engagement.
Types of parallels
- Mini parallettes / push-up grips
- Low parallettes / low, long parallettes
- Medium parallel / medium-high parallel
- High parallettes / dip bars
Some exercises you can perform on parallel bars are the following:
- Leg raises
- Bicycle dips
- Frog stands
- Support holds
Here is a video tutorial from Minus the gym on how to perform parallel bar exercises:
Gymnastic rings are one of the most challenging and rewarding calisthenics equipment you can use.
Basically, this equipment is a ring-shaped handle that hangs from straps. Gymnastic rings allow you to perform exercises that involve pushing, pulling, holding, or swinging.
Gymnastic rings are all about stability. When you use these rings, you’ll quickly realize that your muscles and core are put to the test.
Their unique design allows greater rotation in the shoulders, leading to increased range of motion. This means you can engage your muscles more effectively and target those hard-to-reach areas.
When using gymnastic rings, you’ll find the exercises are similar to the ones you perform on pull-up bars—but harder.
Types of gymnastic rings
- Steel rings
- Plastic rings
- Wooden rings
Some exercises you can perform on gymnastic rings are the following:
- Ring push-ups
- Bicep curls
- Support holds
- Bulgarian split squat
- Ring pull-up
If you’re struggling with gymnastics rings, don’t worry. Suspension trainers can help you build up your strength and improve your performance.
Suspension trainers allow your feet to remain on the ground, making exercises easier to perform than on gymnastics rings.
This calisthenics equipment also comes with accessories like foot slings and extension arms that can add more variety to your workout.
Suspension trainers are highly versatile, and you can set it up on any overhead support.
Some exercises you can perform on suspension trainers are the following:
- Chest flys
- Bicep curls
Ab rollers are a powerful tool for strengthening your core muscles, which are essential for many body weight movements. The most obvious benefit of using an ab roller is that it works your abs hard.
A stronger core means improved athletic performance across the board. Using an ab roller makes it easier to perform calisthenics exercises, such as push-ups, pull-ups, and squats.
Plus, with a better exercise form and posture, you’ll be less prone to injury .
Some exercises you can perform on ab rollers are the following:
- Ab wheel planks
- Ab wheel knee tucks
- Ab wheel pikes
- Bear crawls
- Bridge holds
Incorporating cardio into calisthenics training can lead to improved cardiovascular health and endurance. This can help you perform calisthenics exercises for longer periods without experiencing fatigue.
Some cardio equipment that you can add to your home gym are the following:
Or you can perform body weight exercises, such as:
- Jumping jacks
- Mountain climbers
- High knees
- Jump squats
Support equipment for calisthenics
When you’re a beginner, it can be hard to perform the calisthenics routine because you lack the strength for it. However, there is some support equipment that can help make the exercise less strenuous on your body—and prevent injury.
Maintaining a good grip on the bar or floor during calisthenics training is crucial to avoid slipping and potential injury. However, sweaty hands can make it challenging to maintain a strong grip.
The solution? Chalk!
Chalk helps absorb moisture and provide a better grip by creating friction. Since chalk improves your grip, it can also help improve your calisthenics performance.
By allowing you to maintain a better grip on equipment, such as bars and rings, you can take your calisthenics workouts to the next level.
Moreover, using chalk can lead to better hygiene during your workouts. Chalk helps reduce the amount of sweat that accumulates on equipment.
Types of chalk
- Powdered chalk
- Liquid chalk
Calisthenics gloves can protect your hands from injury and calluses. Calluses appear when you repeatedly swing on the bar or perform highly dynamic movements. And gloves can prevent them from forming and roughening your hands.
Additionally, gloves can provide extra support for your wrists, which is especially important during exercises such as push-ups and planks.
However, there are also potential drawbacks to using calisthenics gloves. For instance, gloves can inhibit grip strength development. They usually reduce your grip, which can make high-level dynamic skills challenging to perform.
Additionally, gloves are generally not compatible with chalk. The gloves may absorb the chalk and potentially make your hands even more slippery.
Furthermore, gloves can make the hands sweat more, which can cause slipping and reduce grip.
Ultimately, the decision to use gloves during calisthenics training depends on your preferences and needs.
Types of calisthenics gloves
- Full fingers gloves
- Fingerless gloves
Do you often experience elbow pain during or after calisthenics training? Many people struggle with elbow pain due to the high load and impact of calisthenics training.
Luckily, elbow sleeves can be a great solution to this problem.
Elbow sleeves can protect your elbow joint from injury and inflammation. And it can also improve blood circulation and stability, which can enhance your performance during exercises .
Furthermore, elbow sleeves can provide compression, which can alleviate pain and improve recovery .
They can also prevent calluses and roughening of your elbows, which can be common with calisthenics training.
Recovery equipment for calisthenics
Recovery is an essential part of any training program, and calisthenics is no exception. It’s important to give your body some time to rest, recover and repair, to make progress faster.
Here are some tools that can help you recover more quickly.
After a long calisthenics training session, it’s likely your muscles are sore and need some recovery. Foam rollers can provide relief to your muscles and enhance recovery .
Types of foam rollers
- Firm foam rollers
- Short foam rollers
- Medium-density foam rollers
- Low-density foam rollers
- Grid foam rollers
- Deep tissue foam rollers
- Vibrating foam rollers
Staying hydrated is key to a speedy recovery after a workout. And using a water bottle can make it easier. Water is essential for regulating body temperature, lubricating joifnts, and transporting nutrients to cells .
Electrolytes like potassium and magnesium are also crucial for optimal physical performance, and can be replenished by drinking sports drinks or electrolyte-infused water .
But that’s not all! Drinking during exercise can also help prevent dehydration-related muscle cramps and fatigue.
Plus, a water bottle makes it convenient to carry and consume post-workout recovery drinks or protein shakes, which can aid in muscle repair and growth.
FAQs About Calisthenics Equipment For Beginners
What equipment do I need to start calisthenics?
Calisthenics requires little to no equipment. You can perform calisthenics exercises using only your own body weight. However, there are basic equipment that can be helpful for beginners, such as:
• Pull-up bars
• Resistance bands
• Gymnastic rings
• Suspension trainers
• Ab rollers
• Cardio equipment
Do you need any equipment for calisthenics?
Calisthenics does not require any equipment, as it solely relies on using your own body weight. However, beginners can incorporate some basic equipment like pull-up bars, resistance bands, or gymnastics rings to progress towards more advanced exercises.
How should a beginner start calisthenics?
You can start with basic movements like:
• Jumping jacks
Calisthenics vs CrossFit: What is the difference?
Calisthenics includes exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, and planks, with progressions to more challenging variations. Conversely, CrossFit includes weightlifting, cardio exercises, and gymnastics to enhance overall fitness. CrossFit workouts are often timed, scored, and designed to be challenging and competitive.
What to do next?
The choice of whether to invest in any of these pieces of equipment is ultimately up to you. You can already get an incredible workout from just bodyweight exercises alone.
However, using calisthenics equipment in your routine definitely won’t hurt your progress, and it might even help it. You can use these tools to make your workouts more challenging, break through plateaus, and help you progress faster.