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Top 10 Essential Calisthenics Equipment Guide

Author Remy Mock / Category: Fitness and Health / Published: Dedc-7-2020

We all know that calisthenics can be done without any equipment if you are just getting started.

However to progress faster, calisthenics equipment will definitely help. Once you are a medium level, calisthenics equipment will help you break plateaus. You will have more variation of exercises that you can rotate to keep your workouts interesting and exciting, while constantly getting your body to adapt to the hard exercises.

Finally, to get to the advanced level, calisthenics equipment is practically required.

In this blog posts we have complied a list of the 10 most important calisthenics equipment to aid in reaching you strength goals, muscle development and fat loss.

If you’re tired of having to go to the gym every day or just want to have the option to train at home, here are the calisthenics equipment that will most benefit you.

Calisthenics Equipment Essentials

1. Pull-up Bar

The Pull-up is most likely thought of to be the king of calisthenic exercises. If you are unable to do them you are missing out big time.

In addition, pull-up bars can be used to perform hanging leg raises and even dips if you hand gymnastic rings from them.

Furthermore, you can strap your resistance bands to them for exercises like the tricep push down.

Therefore, the No. 1 calisthenics equipment we recommend to start calisthenics is a pull-up bar.  

We recommend a door-way pull-up bar as they as extremely affordable and very portable.

Furthermore, a door-way pull-up bar as shown in the right where the bar at the top of the door frame, is ideal as it is higher. This extra height will allow for your legs to be straight when doing pull-ups.


 2. Weighted Vest

Push-ups can easily become too easy. Once you can do more than 15 repetitions, you are usually leaving the hypertrophy rep range of 6-12 and are training endurance instead.

The quick fix to continue challenging the body to grow is to add more weight to your body to increase the intensity of the exercises.

Another reason the weight vest is such an essential calisthenics equipment is that it can be used for many other exercises other than just push-ups. Pull-ups, squats, dips, flags, planche, rows, rucks, hill sprint, ab roll outs and many more.

There are 3 types of weight vests; Sand bag vest, iron blocks vest and plate loading vests.

Plate-loading vests are recommended since they can generally hold much more weight and furthermore the weights can be used for barbells and dumbbells.

plate loading weight vest

Maximum Capacity: 225lbs

3. Gymnastic Rings

If the pull-up bar is like a barbell, then the Gymnastics rings or a suspension trainer are like dumbbells.

They add the instability factor to any movement. In addition, their versatility will allow you to use them for 100s of more exercises such as ring flyes and bulgarian dips that you can't perform on a bar.

Gymnastic rings come in 28mm and 32mm thicknesses, and can be made of either plastic, wood or metal.

Most people prefer wood, as it feels most natural and has the best grip. It is also the one used at the olympics. Thickness preference can vary depending on whether you are performing a pulling or pushing movement. For this reason we recommend a ring shown on the right like the NEO-rings that have two thicknesses.

wooden gymnastic rings

Gymnastic rings with two thicknesses

4. Parralletes

Parrallettes are a hybrid between push-up bars and parrallel bars.

They are a great alternative to training on the floor for L-sits, push-ups , planche, since training just on the floor can lead to wrist pain. With the parralletes your wrist is in a neutral position.

They are also great to add extra depth to push-ups, pike push-ups and handstand push-ups.

The heights of the bars can range from 10cm to around 25cm. It is ideal to get both a low bar and a high bar, since they both have their benefits.

Some bars like the Nanobars XL have an adjustable 2-in-1 height.



Gymnastic rings with two thicknesses

5. Chalk

When performing calisthenics, your grip is going be very important for pulling movements and your stabilization is going to be very important for pushing movements.

As your hand get sweaty and greasy as you work out, it is very important to find a method keep the bar and your hands dry to enhance your grip.

The best calisthenics equipment to prevent slipping is chalk. There are two types: powdered chalk and liquid chalk.

Liquid chalk is more expensive but is much easier to use as it doesn't get messy, like powder than can cover the entire insides of you training bag.


Liquid Chalk (200ml)

6. Ab Wheel

Core Strength is vital for calisthenics. The best equipment, to strengthen your core for calisthenics would be the ab wheel.

For beginners, you can start on on your knees when performing the rollouts and as you improve you can perform a straddle roll out before progressing to the full standing roll out.

You can also use the resistance bands (calisthenics equipment #6) to ease the difficult of the ab roll outs.


7. Resistance Bands

Another important calisthenics equipment in your arsenal would be resistance bands.

Resistance Bands are great for warming up and also great to add a non-constant resistance or assistance to your calisthenics exercises.

The thicker the band, the stronger the resistance. For calisthenics equipment, we recommend the longer and thinner resistance bands.

resistance bands elastic

Resistance Bands

8. Wrist Wraps

Performing many push-ups, dips, handstands puts a lot of stress on your wrists. This can lead to wrist pain down the road. One calisthenics equipment that can prevent and aleviate wrist pain are wrist wraps.

They stabilize your wrists and helps keep them in a neutral position. Another product that can alleviate wrist pain is are paralletes (as mentioned in Calisthenics equipment #4).

Theres are several types of wrist wraps. One version uses a thumb loop and velcro as shown in the image on the right. Another version is a lighter weight version that has a string instead of velcro and has no thumb loop.


9. Weight Plates

It can sound strange to recommend weight plates for calisthenics equipment, but there are many benefits to have a few weight plates for accessory exercises like side lateral raises. This muscle can be challenging to train strictly with calisthenics.

Seated anterior raises are another exercise that can be performed to strength the muscles and joints required for planche, back lever and iron cross.

The weight plates only need to be 2.5-10kg. Furthermore, they can be added to a plate-loading vest or a dip belt to perform weighted calisthenics to make your squats, pull-ups and pushups more challenging.


10. Arm Sleeves

Training straight arm strength requires a lot of tention on your tendons and joints. To prevent this, it is recommended to get armsleeves to protect your joints by compression.

Arm sleeves can also be used to as UV protection. Also this equipment can be use for temperature regulationA to keep your joints war and to enhance blood flow.

Furthermore, compression is shown to aid in muscle recovery.

Lastly, Arm sleeves are very nice to use when doing ring flyes, push-ups or muscleup on the gymnastic rings to prevent chafing.


Optional Bonus. Lifting Gloves

If you perform a lot of pull-ups, eventually you will get a lot of calluses. One calisthenics equipment to prevent this is to use gloves.

However this calisthenics equipment is optional and many choose to not use them. Calluses can also provide a layer of protection as well, but may not look aesthetically pleasing.

There are many types of gloves. Many gloves cover the entire hand and some just cover the palms. There are also neoprene grip pads. The glove that works best is different for everyone.


About the Author

Remy started calisthenics in 2014 and has mastered advanced movements such as the one arm pull-up, front-lever, one arm muscle-up and more.

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